Unfortunately, there is no need to look for an online program if you are interested in earning a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine. Due to the excessive amount of practical work required in this field, 100% online programs are not conducive to veterinary medical training. There are several reputable schools, however, that offer exceptional Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) programs on-campus and are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in your area or hopefully close by.

Ask any little girl or boy what they want to be when they grow up. They’ll most likely reply, “a veterinarian!” Children form special bonds with animals early in life and usually maintain a love for them throughout their adult life as well. Pets often bring families together and become beloved family members themselves.  However, not everyone goes on to fulfill their childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian… but, you can!

What does a Veterinarian do?

As a veterinarian, you will be responsible for the care of dogs, cats, birds, fish, and rabbits; all common pets found in the home. Veterinarians also perform surgery, as needed. Small animal vets typically spay and neuter animals, treat wounds, take x-rays and set broken bones or care for geriatric pets. Veterinarians are also permitted to dispense medications, administer vaccines and euthanasia when needed.

Some veterinarians also examine and treat horses, cows, reptiles, pigs, and goats, in addition to other exotic animals. Often, entire herds must be treated for diseases. They advise farm owners on the proper care and nutrition for their herds to ensure healthy animal production.

Depending on your interest, you may also choose to conduct important research or teach at the postsecondary level.

How do I earn my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree?

Students must complete a four-year program focused on veterinary medicine to receive their D.V.M. degree, which is required to be a veterinarian.

Do you have your bachelor’s degree? You may or may not need one, depending on your school’s requirements, however, you will need to have the extensive prerequisite coursework under your belt to enter a D.V.M. program. Undergraduate study requirements include strong foundations in math and sciences, such as in biology, chemistry, genetics, calculus or statistics and physics. Some schools also offer pre-veterinary coursework that is included in a D.V.M. program, which is very helpful.

To enroll, you will need to complete your application, pay your application fee, as well as, submit your official transcripts, your GRE or Veterinary College Admission Test scores, letters of recommendation, essays and a list of school and community extracurricular activities, along with, your previous experience related to the medical field. Acceptance into a D.V.M. program can be very competitive, due to the limited amount of colleges who offer accredited programs.

D.V.M. coursework includes foundational classes such as anatomy, histology, medical pathology, bacteriology and infectious diseases, immunology and parasitology, pharmacology, physiology, and surgical techniques for the first two years. Years three and four include required clinical work and laboratory sessions and you may be asked to choose a specialization. Internship experience may last up to a year.

What is the difference between a D.V.M. degree and a Ph.D. in Veterinary Science?

After you receive your D.V.M. degree, you may want to pursue your Ph.D. degree in veterinary medicine, however, some schools offer a combination of Ph.D. and D.V.M. degree programs. As you complete your D.V.M. requirements, you can then conduct your own research project in a specialization that interests you, earning your Ph.D. as well.

If you wish to concentrate on “research only” after earning your bachelor’s degree (and forego the D.V.M. degree), you may opt to enter a doctoral program that will allow you to earn a Ph.D. (usually takes about five years), focusing entirely on the field of research in veterinary science.

What kind of salary can I expect as a Veterinarian?

As of May 2017, the BLS reported that the median wage for a veterinarian was $90,420 annually, however, the highest 10 percent earned more than $159,320 per year. Careers in veterinarian medicine are projected to increase by 9 percent between 2014 and 2024. You can expect to work in clinics, small and large farms, animal hospitals or sanctuaries, zoos or you may choose to open your own private practice.

Research laboratories and universities also hire veterinarians. Veterinarians also can choose to work for pharmaceutical companies who develop, test and distribute drugs for animal consumption.

Do I need a license to be a Veterinarian?

Yes, all states require veterinarians to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination to gain licensure. If your state requires it, you may also be asked to pass a jurisprudence examination. Board Certifications are also available. Continuing education is a requirement to maintain licensure. Be sure to check your state’s regulations for testing and licensing requirements.

Are there other options in the field of veterinary medicine in which I can utilize 100% online learning opportunities?

Most undergraduate work can be completed through a 100% online distance learning format before entering a D.V.M. program. In addition, if you are interested in becoming a veterinarian’s assistance or technician, often online programs are readily available. Technician responsibilities include restraining animals, preparing lab samples, as well as, maintaining files and finances, answering phone calls and scheduling appointments. In this capacity, an associate degree is all that may be required.

What schools offer a D.V.M. degree program?

Colorado State University is located in Fort Collins, CO. They offer students the opportunity to earn a doctorate degree on-campus through their Professional Veterinary Medical Program. Other on-campus programs include Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI which offers a program in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, as well as, Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. In addition, University of California – Davis, located in Davis, CA, offers students a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, as well. In Raleigh, NC, you can attend North Carolina Veterinary Medical School to earn a D.V.M. degree through their Professional Program.

If you would like to pursue your childhood dream, start earning your D.V.M. degree today.  If you decide to become a veterinarian later in life, that’s okay, too.  It’s never too late to begin a new career!