What kind of an education do you need to get in to veterinarian school?

Answer

The prerequisites for admission vary by veterinary medical college. Many of these colleges do not require a bachelor's degree for entrance, but all require a significant number of credit hours -- ranging from 45 to 90 semester hours -- at the undergraduate level. However, most of the students admitted have completed an undergraduate program. Applicants without a bachelor's degree face a difficult task gaining admittance.

Preveterinary courses emphasize the sciences. Veterinary medical colleges typically require classes in organic and inorganic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, general biology, animal biology, animal nutrition, genetics, vertebrate embryology, cellular biology, microbiology, zoology, and systemic physiology. Some programs require calculus; some require only statistics, college algebra and trigonometry, or precalculus. Most veterinary medical colleges also require core courses, including some in English or literature, the social sciences, and the humanities. Increasingly, courses in practice management and career development are becoming a standard part of the curriculum to provide a foundation of general business knowledge for new graduates.

In addition to satisfying preveterinary course requirements, applicants also must submit test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), depending on the preference of each college. Currently, 21 schools require the GRE, 5 require the VCAT, and 2 accept the MCAT.

Some veterinary medical colleges place heavy consideration on a candidate's veterinary and animal experience in admittance decisions. Formal experience, such as work with veterinarians or scientists in clinics, agribusiness, research, or some area of health science, is particularly advantageous. Less formal experience, such as working with animals on a farm or ranch or at a stable or animal shelter, also is helpful. Students must demonstrate ambition and an eagerness to work with animals.

There is keen competition for admission to veterinary school. The number of accredited veterinary colleges has largely remained the same since 1983, whereas the number of applicants has risen significantly. Only about 1 in 3 applicants was accepted in 2002. Most veterinary medical colleges are public, State-supported institutions and reserve the majority of their openings for instate residents, making admission for out-of-state applicants difficult.

(This is all from the U.S. Department of Labor's handbook on careers.)