What Degree Do You Need To Become A Therapist – Any job where you are working and helping animals will be more rewarding. We are always proud that the staff at our pet hospitals work hard to save the lives of many pets.
A career as a veterinary surgeon is very rewarding but you have to be committed. It takes dedication and a lot of hard study. The good news is, it doesn’t matter how old you are or what stage you’re at in your life – you can choose to change career paths at any age as long as you have the passion and drive!
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If you’re thinking of becoming a veterinarian, it’s always good to know what’s going on, right? Well, not all vets do the same thing. You may find that you have a particular interest in a particular part of veterinary work and choose to do so, or you may find that you enjoy the work blended into general practice.
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If you’re considering this as a career option, before you make any decisions it’s best to shadow a veterinarian who does the work you’re interested in, to see what the job entails and to make sure it’s something. What you enjoy doing.
In vet school, you are taught to treat all types of animals. After they graduate, some veterinarians continue to work with a mix of animals, seeing a variety from farm animals to pets and horses in the same day.
However, many veterinarians choose to go into one area of practice to treat a specific type of animal. Small animal vets – like those at The People’s Vet – work with pets at our pet hospitals. They assess, diagnose and treat people’s sick cats and dogs and perform surgery on them. Some vets may only work day shifts, others may only work emergency night shifts, and some may do both on a rota.
Other veterinarians may only work with farm animals. They do the same things, on different animals! The job involves a lot of farm visits, driving around the countryside and means working unnatural hours to cover nighttime emergencies. Veterinarians who work with farm animals play an important role during the calving season in helping farmers deliver new cows and provide help and advice on how to best care for their animals by creating management plans to help them throughout the year.
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Equine vets treat horses. They care for much larger pets and use their knowledge to diagnose and treat horses. You may also find a vet who prefers to treat small pets, birds or reptiles, or more unique pets (called “exotics” by vets), such as those with an interest in wildlife or zoo animals.
To work in any of the above types of general practice, a veterinary degree is usually sufficient. However if you think you might want to work as a specialist in a veterinary referral hospital (as a human consultant), you may find that you need to do more study after your veterinary degree.
There are also plenty of other jobs that veterinarians can do that don’t involve treating animals on a day-to-day basis. This includes working for the government to ensure that animal products are safe to eat, working for a laboratory to ensure that the animals there have the best welfare, or working for animal welfare charities on policy, campaigns or public education. Some of these may require other experience or educational background, so always check the requirements for the type of job you’re interested in.
Along with a passion for helping animals, all veterinarians need the ability to communicate with people. Throughout your career as a veterinarian you will need to talk to owners or other people who care for animals, so you need to be patient and understanding. You have to be prepared to deal with a lot of people in different situations – some happy, some sad, some frustrated or angry – and usually in one day!
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As a veterinarian, you may also face some ethically difficult situations. For example, putting animals to sleep is very emotional, but it is an important part of the job because some animals cannot be saved, and sometimes it is best for them. So make sure you think about whether you can do it and try to go in with realistic expectations of what the job entails before deciding to become a vet.
Perhaps the first question you ask yourself after deciding to become a veterinarian is ‘how do I get into vet school?’
To register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and practice as a vet, you need a degree in veterinary medicine from an accredited university. These courses are often very competitive and academically challenging so some have high entry requirements. Some universities may have different entry requirements for students in certain circumstances.
There are a few qualifying ways to meet the entry requirements to get admitted to a degree course that allows you to become a vet:
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A Levels (or Higher and Advanced Higher in Scotland) are the most common route to university. You must have achieved good results for your GCSEs (or National 5s in Scotland) in a range of subjects, including science.
It is best to check university websites or prospectuses, or discuss with admissions officers to get a better understanding of what is expected.
You’ll need to check the university you plan to study at for entry requirements, but for a standard offer you’ll usually need to have high marks in three subjects at A level, including biology and one or two other science-related subjects. . For Scottish highers, this again varies by university but you usually need to achieve exceptional grades in five highers including chemistry and biology and another science, as well as at least two higher higher grades with higher grades (usually in biology and chemistry).
Access to higher education (HE) is a great way for people over 19 to gain the qualifications they need to progress to a degree. These courses are usually quite flexible (so you can keep working if you need to) and lots of colleges offer them.
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Entry to HE qualifications is a diploma. Most universities expect differentiation and greater focus on science subjects. Not all vet schools accept admission to HE, so be sure to check the admission requirements first and call the admissions office if you’re unsure.
If you go on to successfully complete a degree course you can get loans to cover the costs, with some colleges waiving the cost of your admission to an HE Diploma. Check your college’s website to see available funding options.
Some universities accept BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma qualifications (if there is a strong science focus) in a subject such as Applied Science or Animal Management. You will be expected to complete most of these with distinctions and may need to complete additional A levels alongside your BTEC course depending on your previous qualifications and university requirements.
The advantage of a BTEC is that it involves a lot of practical work, although it does not count towards any experience in university entry requirements.
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Many vet schools accept a degree in another subject to meet admission requirements. Historically this has been in a science-related subject, although some universities now offer change of career programs meaning graduates of any subject can apply. Usually you need an honors degree with at least 2:1, although this varies by university.
Make sure you find out what fees and other costs may apply to you as government student loans are not available if you are doing a veterinary degree as a second degree.
The more animal-related experience you have before applying for a veterinary degree, the better! You need this experience on top of your qualifications before applying.
You can contact your local veterinary surgeries to see if they can accommodate you. You may find yourself working more than one job, but it will be better in the long run as it will help you build a variety of experience.
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Most ask for significant experience volunteering in veterinary practice, but many universities expect even more. Ideally, in addition to experience in a veterinary setting, you should also show that you have a lot: experience working with animals in general. This could be work, shadowing or voluntary placements in a cattery, kennels, rehoming centre, farm, stables or any other relevant experience (eg at a zoo or wildlife park). Look around your local area to see what kinds of animals you can experience – it never hurts to ask!
Once you have your qualifications, you will be ready to move on to your degree. These are usually five-year courses. Other courses have a pre-vet foundation year option for students with alternative entry
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