Veterinary medicine focuses on treating and caring for animals of all species. If you have a love of animals and science, a career in veterinary medicine may be right for you. There are several steps you must take to become a veterinarian, and the degree requires extensive study. Starting with a distance learning veterinary degree program is the first step in realizing your goal of breaking into veterinary medicine.
Taking the First Step to Become a Veterinary
The first step in the field is an undergraduate degree in pre-veterinary medicine or related field. Many students study biology, physiology, animal nutrition and chemistry during their undergraduate years and move on to more advanced veterinary subjects during the master’s program. Students can elect to study either on campus or through distance education. A growing number of students are finding it convenient to study online, giving them the freedom to structure their coursework around their full-time work schedules. These distance education classes are delivered in a variety of formats, from chat rooms to message boards and video conferencing.
Veterinary Career Outlook and Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers in the veterinary industry are moving faster than average, with many new veterinarians breaking into the field. The average salary for veterinarians in 2010 was $82,040 with most reporting high job satisfaction in the field. A doctoral degree and a state license is required to become a veterinarian, although there are other careers in the field that can be obtained with a bachelors degree. The BLS states that there were 61,400 job openings in 2010, and that number is only expected to grow in coming years.
For veterinary technicians, the outlook is good. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a veterinary technician was $29,710 a year and the position requires an associate’s degree for entry.
Career Paths for Veterinarians
Veterinarians work in a wide range of environments, from those that work with domestic pets to those who perform their duties on farms. Some veterinarians own their own practices while others work within larger offices and clinics. Others work on-site at farms, zoos and animal sanctuaries. For the student working toward a distance learning veterinary degree, there are jobs available in pet stores, circuses, zoos and private clinics.
Other veterinary professionals work in a research and pharmaceutical capacity, developing new medicines and working toward cures for common animal diseases. Some veterinarians work in specialized capacities. Careers developing snake anti-venom, training animals for movies and television and studying animal behavior are common in the field. For students looking for careers as veterinary assistants and technicians, jobs abound in the field. The pet industry is booming, and there are many opportunities working in pet stores, kennels, rescue missions, shelters and clinics.
Veterinary Courses of Study
The degree program in veterinary medicine requires a combination of basic and advanced courses that will prepare you for advanced study. Courses in biology, mathematics and life science make up the basic courses that most students take within the first two years. Advanced courses in zoology, anatomy, organic chemistry, immunology and pharmacology are required courses of study for subsequent years. After completing the bachelor’s degree, students go on to complete a master’s and doctoral degree.
For the veterinary assistant positions, an associate’s degree is required in most cases. From there students can move on to other positions in the field.
Animal lovers will find a rewarding career in the veterinary field. Finding the right distance learning veterinary degree program is the first step in developing a career in a growing field while dedicating your life to the care of animals.