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Veterinary medicine offers a broad variety of career opportunities. The majority of veterinarians work in private small, large or mixed animal clinical practice diagnosing and treating illnesses of animals and maintaining their health. Many other veterinarians practice with county, state and federal governments, universities, private industry, zoos, the U.S. military, and wildlife organizations. Daily activities of a veterinarian may include clinical practice, education, regulation enforcement, biomedical research, and traveling. As a veterinarian, you may also work with individuals trained in closely related fields to veterinary medicine, such as animal welfare, wildlife preservation, marine biology, agriculture, and animal training and breeding.
Many individuals interested in studying veterinary medicine had a strong desire to work with animals beginning at a very young age. Others have gained an interest later in life. Veterinary medicine recruits individuals from all types of backgrounds with diverse goals.
Most veterinary schools require at least 3 years of college; some require a baccalaureate degree. When reviewing admissions statistics, most students matriculating into veterinary schools enter with at least a bachelor's degree or an advanced degree. To receive a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, one must complete 4 years of professional education with at least 1-4 years of residency training.
There are many reasons students choose veterinary medicine as a career:
- Salary income: according to Bureau of Labor and Statistics, veterinarians earned a mean income of $87,590 in 2014.
- Satisfying professional career: many veterinarians enjoy the independence and autonomy of owning their own practice and the flexibility of determining their practice hours (thus allowing more time for personal life).
- Career outlook is excellent: increasing demands by animal owners and production animal managers is resulting in a demand for additional veterinarians in companion and production animal practice.
- Bioterrorism and national security needs: there is an extreme shortage of veterinarians who enter research and public practice. Many doors will be open for those who pursue this path.
- Opportunities in ecological health: there is a demand for veterinary expertise on issues pertinent to the environment, conservation, aquaculture, and wildlife management.
- Increased specialization in the future: not only are practices focused on large or small animals, they are also developed specializing in critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.
- Working with federal agencies: veterinarians are hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Pet owners are purchasing pet insurance: more individuals are spending more and more money on veterinary care for their pets.
To date, there are currently 80,000 practicing veterinarians. About 75% of veterinarians work in private practice and supervise Veterinary Assistants and Technicians. Others serve in wildlife management groups, zoos, aquariums, and animal shelters. Many also work with government agencies, in academics, and with biomedical research.
In the U.S., there are 47 colleges and schools of veterinary medicine that offer approximately 2,645 positions for first-year students. Because of this, veterinary schools tend to be even more competitive and harder to get into then medical schools! Ohio residents generally have their best chances of getting accepted into an Ohio veterinary school. Currently, Ohio only has one veterinary school: The Ohio State University.
Ohio State University 2014 Enrollment Statistics
- Total number of applicants: 1,417
- Total number of matriculants: 162 (81 from Ohio)
- Male: 31
- Female: 131
- Mean Age: 23
- Mean GPA: 23
- Mean GRE score: 65% (Verbal), 57% (Quant)
For more information on veterinary school admission statistics, please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website or the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) website.
Veterinary Medicine: A Dynamic Field
The continual growth in U.S. pet ownership combined with the higher expectations for the health and safety of the pets has resulted in a serious shortage of veterinarians. The job market is in dire demand for veterinarians to provide services
- USDA (Food Safety and Animal Disease Control
- Biosecurity and Homeland Security
- Research on domestic and foreign animal diseases
- Public health service and animal diseases affecting humans
- Rural communities and urban centers without veterinary services
- Wildlife disease control Animal care and welfare
- Laboratory animal care and research
Bioterrorism and National Security:
There is an extreme shortage of veterinarians who enter research and public practice. Many doors will be open for those who pursue this path.
There is a demand for veterinary expertise on issues pertinent to the environment, conservation, agriculture and wildlife management.
Increased specialization in the future:
Not only are practices focused on large or small animals, they are also specializing in critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, radiology, ophthalmology and surgery.
Working with federal agencies:
Veterinarians are hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The demand for veterinarians:
In all areas of employment is projected to increase in the future.Pet owners are also purchasing pet insurance and spending more and more on care for their pets
Wright State University offers all the courses necessary to meet the requirements for entry to Veterinary Medicine programs. We also have a pre-vet student organization that helps provide additional information through guest speakers, handouts, and tours to vet hospitals, zoos, or schools. The OSU College of Veterinary Medicine recommends an undergraduate degree, but does not require it. A look at admission statistics shows, however, that the overwhelming majority of admitted students do have a B.A. or a B.S. To be eligible for admission, applicants must have earned 78-82 college semestercredit hours. No more than one required prerequisite course may remain to be completed by the end of the fall semester of the academic year in which a student applies.
In addition, a grade of C or better must be earned in all prerequisite course work and a minimum undergraduate GPA above a 3.0. In addition, official GRE/MCAT scores must be submitted along with an application through VMCAS. Candidates must also have proof of a minimum of 80 hours of veterinary experience, and preferred exposure to large animals, exotic traditional pets, and zoo populations. The 2014 entering class at The Ohio State University had an average of 1,347 veterinary experience hours.
- Biochemistry: BMB 4210 & 4230 or 3220
- Microbiology: BIO 3100 or 3110
- Physiology: BIO 3050 or ANT 3100 & 3120
- Communication: COM 1010
- Science Electives: 35 hours*
- Humanities / Social Sciences: 16 hours**
* Science electives can include biology, chemistry, anatomy, immunology, cell biology, molecular genetics, animal science, ecology, environmental science or other sciences (including pre-reqs for required courses)
** Humanities / Social Sciences include history, economics, anthropology, psychology, art, music, literature, languages, writing and ethics
The GRE is an exam made up of 3 areas verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Each area is divided up into 2 sections or tasks.
They are broken up as follows:
|Verbal Reasoning||30 minutes per section||analyze & evaluate written material, analyze relationships in parts of sentences, word association||130-170 in 1-point increments|
|Quantitative Reasoning||35 minutes per section||arithmetic, algebra, geometry, data analysis||130-170 in 1-point increments|
|Analytical Writing||30 minutes per section||analyze an issue, analyze an argument||0-6 in .5-point increments|
Currently, there are 28 veterinary schools in the U.S. that graduate 2,500 veterinarians each year. These schools are at full capacity and are working on ways to increase classrooms, research facilities and teaching laboratories. With today’s shortage, plus the projected need over the next 20 years, it is estimated there will be a shortage of over 15,000 veterinarians. Ohio has one of the largest veterinary schools located at The Ohio State University. This is fortunate for pre-vet students since The Ohio State University is a public institution that gives preference to Ohio residents. Admission is competitive; with only 162 seats available, OSU receives close to 1,400 applications each year.
|Total Applicants||Total Matriculants||Male/Female||Mean Age||Mean GPA||Mean GRE Score|
|1417||162 (81 from Ohio)||31/131||23||3.7||65% (Verbal)
When should I apply to vet school?
Students interested in attending vet school immediately after college should begin preparing their application materials during the spring of their junior year. Applications aren't normally available until early in the summer, but students can begin requesting letters of recommendations, drafting personal statements and submitting transcript requests in the spring. Completed applications should be submitted in the fall semester of their senior year (most deadlines are October 1st). Because vet schools do not require the completion of an undergraduate degree, very well-qualified students may submit their applications in the fall of their second or third year. However, it's important to remember that a very small percentage of students who don't complete an undergraduate degree are accepted into vet school.
How do I go about applying to veterinary school?
Most veterinary schools require that applications be processed through the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). The application is web-based and is completed by the applicant only once. Once submitted, the completed application is processed and sent to each school the student wishes to apply. The VMCAS becomes available each year in late May/early June and can be found at www.aavmc.org
Two additional, and very important, components of the application are the personal statement and letters of evaluation. The personal statement should be written in a way that demonstrates who the applicant really is; their unique attributes and aspirations. It also gives the committee members an idea of the applicant's communication skills and writing ability. Applicants should address such things as career goals and objectives, their understanding of veterinary medicine, and why this is the right career field for them. The VMCAS application also requires that letters of recommendation be submitted through its Electronic Letters of Recommendation system (eLOR). Every school that receives a student's application will also receive the same letters of recommendation.
Not all veterinary schools use VMCAS as their application processing system and require students to submit individual applications to their schools. Contact the Pre-Health Advisor or admission representatives if you have any questions about the application process.
What is an acceptable GRE or MCAT score?
At the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, students need to post a minimum GRE score of 955 (total for all subsets) or MCAT score of 24. Competitive GRE scores generally average near 1190.
Where can I find more information about the GRE or MCAT?
How many letters of evaluation are required for vet school?
The VMCAS application requires that you enter the names for three evaluators. Generally, veterinary schools like to see a letter from a practicing veterinarian and at least one science professor. Other letters can come from research professors, internship supervisors, pre-health advisors, employers, etc.
What is the veterinary school interview like?
Not all veterinary schools require an interview. Those that do, generally only invite applicants that are seriously being considered for matriculation. Applicants will be expected to discuss their motivation for veterinary medicine, their personal and professional goals, and their assessment of current animal health issues. Interviewing formats vary and can either be one-on-one or in a small group. Applicants are usually provided with information about the school's interviewing process before the interview. Most students will be taken on school tours, meet with current students, and discuss financial costs with an advisor.
For assistance in preparing for the interviewing process, please contact the Pre-Health Advisor or the Career Services office to schedule a mock interview.
What types of extracurricular activities and work experience should I have in order to be a competitive applicant?
- Community service that demonstrates a commitment to helping animals and/or increasing awareness of animal health issues
- Leadership positions, such as in student organizations, charity organizations, fundraiser activities, etc.
- Activities that demonstrate your ability to manage multiple tasks while performing well academically
- Shadowing hours with a practicing veterinarian or assisting at a shelter, grooming facility or zoo
"Quality and persistence are far more important than quantity"
When will I find out if I am accepted into vet school?
Veterinary schools generally hold interviews between the months of November through March and may begin sending offers of acceptance as early as December 1st. Most veterinary schools will require a tuition deposit to hold a position in a class.
Are there any joint degree programs provided with veterinary medicine?
Yes, some programs will offer a joint Master's (e.g., Public Health, Business Administration) or Doctoral (Ph.D.). For more information on these degree programs, you can see the Pre-Health Advisor or speak with an admission representative.
Does Wright State have a pre-vet student organization?
Yes! The University has a student organization for pre-vet students that provides mentoring, educational speakers, volunteer and community service, and social activities. If you are interested in joining, please contact the President of the pre-vet society, the pre-vet peer mentor, or the Pre-Health Advisor.