Q. What are the ways and/or steps to become a veterinarian?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Being a veterinarian is a rewarding career, but does involve a lot of schooling, experience and knowledge. Many people try out veterinary medicine through being a tech or assistant first, then continue on to veterinary school if they decide that is the path for them. If you are still in high school, the best way to start gaining experience is just by volunteering at your local animal shelter. Some clinics will also hire kennel technicians, a good starting job that gets you into a clinic and viewing procedures while working your way up. You can major in anything you want in college, however there are class prerequisites that must be met to apply for vet school. Majoring in a degree program such as biology, zoology or animal sciences often meets these requirements without having to take extra classes. Working summers as a tech or assistant, staying active in local animal groups and maintaining a high GPA will make you an ideal candidate. Once you are ready to apply for vet school you will need to take a GRE which is an exam graduate and medical schools use to determine how well you might do. Vet schools tend to look for applicants who are active in the community, have experience and have good grades. If considered, you will then have an interview to determine if you're a good fit! Vet school itself requires four years, the first two focused on classroom and theory subjects such as anatomy, physiology and pathology. Your third year becomes more hands on with lots of labs and "shadowing" of vets in the school. Fourth year is usually entirely clinical rotations to give you a taste of all the things veterinary medicine offers!