• Helping care for animals with a wide array of medical conditions.
  • Prospects are good in this career, with job growth expected to be high in the coming years.
  • This is a good career for those who like animals.


  • There are risks of getting bitten or scratched by animals in this type of work.
  • There will be emergency situations that arise, so the ability to remain calm in tense situations is a must.
  • This type of work may require long hours that may be outside of the normal workday.


Veterinarians are special medical professionals that diagnose and treat illnesses in animals. They care for an array of animals, whether it be livestock, animals in zoos or regular pets. For research purposes they will also study and treat wild animals as well. Along with providing medical care, they also work to protect humans from diseases that are related to animals.

Some of the main tasks that veterinarians perform include vaccination, treating wounds, performing surgery, setting broken bones and advising owners on subjects relating to animal health. They will use a variety of tools including diagnostic equipment and surgical tools. Because of this they need to be good with their hands. Because they work with a broad spectrum of animals, veterinarians need to be able to understand disorders that are specific to a particular species. They also must exercise patience as many animals may be in pain or suffering.

Over two thirds of veterinarians work in a private practice, usually working for themselves where they treat pets such as dogs, cats, birds and reptiles. Owning a business such as this requires a good business sense, as veterinarians will need to hire and manage staff, coordinate billing and properly keep detailed records. Those who do not work for themselves can be found in many different work settings. They may treat animals in a zoo, conduct research and teach students at a university or consult for corporations.


It requires a lot of education to become a veterinarian. One must attend a four year university and apply to veterinary school, which is a specialized program that lasts another four years. Because there are only a small amount of schools, admission into a veterinary program is competitive. While many institutions do not require a bachelor’s degree to apply, most applicants have one or are close to obtaining one. Applicants will also need to take an admissions test, with the majority of programs requiring the Graduate Record Examination, known as the GRE. After a one year hands-on internship after graduation from veterinary school one will need to get state licensed to practice.

Job Prospects

There are excellent prospects for work in this field. While the population has grown, there has not been any growth in the amount of veterinary schools across the country. As a result, though it is difficult to get into a veterinary program there is more than enough demand for this work. Also, many consider their pets as members of their family and as medical technology advances there are more treatments and medications available for animals than ever before.

Advancement Opportunities

The ability to advance is dependent on whether a veterinarian decide to work in a private practice or not. In the beginning, a private practice will not be as profitable as an established one, but it can be built up over time to become very lucrative. Some entry-level veterinarians will purchase an established practice from another veterinarian that is retiring. For others, they can advance by specializing towards a particular animal or using their expertise to consult or teach.