What Degree Do You Major In To Become A Veterinarian?

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Veterinarians are responsible for the well-being of animals, both in diverse settings and of various sizes. To enter this profession, one must pursue an advanced degree and invest several years in education. Given the ongoing expansion of the field of veterinary medicine, it offers a stable career path for individuals passionate about aiding animals.

In this article, we will discuss the educational requirements for becoming a veterinarian and also, provide answers to questions ordering around how to become a veterinarian; carefully read through.

What Does a Veterinarian Do?

Veterinarians, often referred to as vets, are healthcare professionals dedicated to the well-being of animals. They offer care for both healthy and ailing animals, operating in clinical settings and carrying out responsibilities such as:

  • Conduct physical examinations of animal patients
  • Consult pet owners and animal caretakers on patients’ symptoms
  • Diagnose and treat animal diseases
  • Treat injuries
  • Conduct tests, including blood tests and X-rays
  • Perform medical procedures, including surgeries, on animals
  • Prescribe medication to prevent or treat medical issues
  • Educate pet owners and animal caretakers on proper care, training, and wellness recommendations

Vets commonly work in environments such as:

  • Animal hospitals
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Animal shelters
  • Private practice offices

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How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Veterinarian?

Much like medical doctors who care for human patients, veterinarians undergo a substantial amount of career preparation. Following the common question of “how to become a veterinarian,” aspiring vets often inquire about the duration of their educational journey.

The minimum time required to become a veterinarian equates to the number of years it takes to be a vet: eight years. To practice veterinary medicine, you must complete a bachelor’s degree and obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Typically, both degrees necessitate a minimum of eight years of study.

However, if you aspire to specialize in your veterinary career or attain additional professional certifications, the timeline to become a board-certified veterinarian extends by at least another three to five years. In essence, you can embark on your career as a practicing veterinarian after eight years of post-high school education, but attaining Board Certification requires an additional 11 to 13 years following high school graduation.

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What Degree Do You Major In To Become A Veterinarian?

What degree do you need to be a veterinarian? To begin practicing veterinary medicine, you need a doctorate-level veterinary medical education. Generally, this means the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.

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Getting Into Veterinary Medical Colleges

The application process for veterinary schools poses a considerable challenge. In the United States, there is a limited number of veterinary colleges.

As of 2023, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education has accredited a total of 32 schools across 27 states. Despite the endeavors of veterinary schools to expand their capacity for eligible candidates, the annual number of veterinary school graduates in the United States remains relatively low, with approximately 3,200 students completing their veterinary education each year.

To apply to a veterinary school, you need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • A strong GPA (often, above 3.0)
  • A competitive score on a standardized test – most commonly, the Graduate Record Exam
  • Compelling letters of recommendation
  • A powerful personal statement
  • Any additional testing your target school requires, such as the Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer) test

Prospective students who possess prior experience in animal-related work or have volunteered alongside a licensed veterinarian stand a better chance of gaining acceptance to veterinary school. Engaging in extracurricular activities such as participation in your school’s pre-veterinary club can also enhance your application. Any endeavors that showcase your dedication to pursuing a career in veterinary medicine can be highly advantageous when you’re in the process of applying to veterinary school.

FAQs On What Degree Do You Major In To Become A Veterinarian

What degree do you need to become a veterinarian?

To become a veterinarian, you typically need a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.

Is there a specific major required for aspiring veterinarians during their undergraduate studies?

While there’s no strict major requirement, most veterinary schools prefer applicants with a strong background in science-related fields such as biology, chemistry, or animal science.

Can you become a veterinarian with a degree in a non-science field?

It’s possible, but it may require additional coursework in science and biology to meet the prerequisites for veterinary school.


Becoming a veterinarian does require education beyond an undergraduate degree. After getting their bachelor’s degree, students must complete four years of veterinary medicine at an accredited veterinary school or college.


  • degreequery.com – How to Become a Veterinarian: What Major Do You Need to Be a Vet?
  • indeed.com – What Degree Do You Need To Become a Veterinarian?

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