Students interested in a career in veterinary medicine should begin their preparation by doing well in general science and biology in junior high school. They need to take a strong science, math, and biology program in high school. Admission into veterinary medical school is competitive.
To be considered for admission to a college of veterinary medicine, a student must first complete undergraduate pre-veterinary medical coursework, which usually includes three to four years of college study, with specific course requirements established by the college. Typical requirements include basic language and communication skills, social sciences, humanities, mathematics, chemistry, and the biological and physical sciences.
A typical veterinary medical student spends about 4,000 hours in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical study. Before graduate veterinarians can engage in private clinical practice in any state, they must acquire a license issued by that state. A license is granted only to veterinarians who pass state-required examinations.
Continuing education is important, even after veterinarians have completed their college studies and acquired the appropriate licenses. New scientific knowledge and techniques are constantly being developed, and veterinarians must keep up to date by reading scientific journals and attending professional meetings and seminars.