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Become A Small Animal Veterinarian

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Working As A Small Animal Veterinarian

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $88,490

    Average Salary

Example Of What A Small Animal Veterinarian does

  • Honed skills in client communication, as well as small animal general surgery and medicine.
  • Worked at various small animal practices in Indiana after obtaining DVM degree
  • Focused on internal medicine, dentistry, preventive care, surgery
  • Record maintenance Busy 5 doctor practice, providing service to all species
  • Performed mostly soft tissue surgery.
  • Performed routine surgeries during each shift including ovariohysterectomies and castrations of dogs and cats.
  • Maintain medical records, both written and electronic recordkeeping.
  • Worked extensive hours in a remote small town with few veterinary clinics.
  • Served in full capacity dealing with all medical and surgical cases.
  • Expanded HomeVet services from house calls to relief veterinary medical services in Sarasota andManatee counties.

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How To Become A Small Animal Veterinarian

Veterinarians must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an accredited veterinary college and a state license.

Education

Veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. There are currently 30 colleges with accredited programs in the United States. A veterinary medicine program generally takes 4 years to complete and includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components.

Although not required, most applicants to veterinary school have a bachelor’s degree. Veterinary medical colleges typically require applicants to have taken many science classes, including biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, zoology, microbiology, and animal science. Most programs also require math, humanities, and social science courses.

Admission to veterinary programs is competitive, and less than half of all applicants were accepted in 2014.

In veterinary medicine programs, students take courses on animal anatomy and physiology, as well as disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Most programs include 3 years of classroom, laboratory, and clinical work. Students typically spend the final year of the 4-year program doing clinical rotations in a veterinary medical center or hospital.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Veterinarians must be licensed in order to practice in the United States. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require prospective veterinarians to complete an accredited veterinary program and to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. Veterinarians working for the state or federal government may not be required to have a state license, because each agency has different requirements.

Most states not only require the national exam but also have a state exam that covers state laws and regulations. Few states accept licenses from other states, so veterinarians who want to be licensed in another state usually must take that state’s exam.

The American Veterinary Medical Association offers certification in 40 specialties, such as surgery, microbiology, and internal medicine. Although certification is not required for veterinarians, it can show exceptional skill and expertise in a particular field. To sit for a specialty certification exam, veterinarians must have a certain number of years of experience in the field, complete additional education, and complete a residency program, typically lasting 3 to 4 years. Requirements vary by specialty.

Other Experience

Some veterinary medical colleges weigh experience heavily during the admissions process. Formal experience, such as previous 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, at a stable, or in an animal shelter, can also be helpful.

Although graduates of a veterinary program can begin practicing once they receive their license, some veterinarians pursue further education and training. Some new veterinary graduates enter internship or residency programs to gain specialized experience.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Veterinarians must be compassionate when working with animals and their owners. They must treat animals with kindness and respect, and must be sensitive when dealing with the animal owners.

Communication skills. Strong communication skills are essential for veterinarians, who must be able to discuss their recommendations and explain treatment options to animal owners and give instructions to their staff.

Decisionmaking skills. Veterinarians must decide the correct method for treating the injuries and illnesses of animals. For instance, deciding to euthanize a sick animal can be difficult.

Management skills. Management skills are important for veterinarians who manage private clinics or laboratories, or direct teams of technicians or inspectors. In these settings, they are responsible for providing direction, delegating work, and overseeing daily operations.

Manual dexterity. Manual dexterity is important for veterinarians, because they must control their hand movements and be precise when treating injuries and performing surgery.

Problem-solving skills. Veterinarians need strong problem-solving skills because they must figure out what is ailing animals. Those who test animals to determine the effects of drug therapies also need excellent diagnostic skills.

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Small Animal Veterinarian jobs

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Small Animal Veterinarian Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    74.7%
  • Male

    24.2%
  • Unknown

    1.1%

Ethnicity

  • White

    84.4%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    8.5%
  • Asian

    5.7%
  • Unknown

    1.0%
  • Black or African American

    0.4%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    100.0%

Small Animal Veterinarian

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Small Animal Veterinarian Education

Small Animal Veterinarian

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Real Small Animal Veterinarian Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Veterinarian-Small Animal Oncologist Bluepearl Vet LLC Kirkland, WA May 05, 2016 $100,000
Small Animal Surgery Resident North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC Jul 15, 2016 $33,000
Small Animal Surgery Resident North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC Jan 22, 2016 $32,000
Small Animal Surgery Resident North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC Jul 15, 2015 $32,000
Small Animal Surgery Resident North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC Apr 03, 2013 $30,330

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Top Skills for A Small Animal Veterinarian

SmallAnimalMedicineSoftTissueSurgeryClientCommunicationDoctorPracticeClientEducationRoutineSurgeriesDaytimeEmergencyPreventiveMedicineSmallAnimalPracticeVeterinaryClinicsMedicalWorkupChronicConditionsReliefIn-HouseCustomerServiceInternalMedicineSurgicalCasesMedicalRecordClinicStaffIV

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Top Small Animal Veterinarian Skills

  1. Small Animal Medicine
  2. Soft Tissue Surgery
  3. Client Communication
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed mostly soft tissue surgery.
  • Honed skills in client communication, as well as small animal general surgery and medicine.
  • Record maintenance Busy 5 doctor practice, providing service to all species
  • Performed routine surgeries during each shift including ovariohysterectomies and castrations of dogs and cats.
  • Worked at various small animal practices in Indiana after obtaining DVM degree

Top Small Animal Veterinarian Employers

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