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Fast Facts About Vets

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Most people think of veterinarians as the people who treat our cats and dogs, with the occasional lizard and ferret thrown in. In reality, veterinary medicine offers a range of career positions and plays a key role in the study and advancement of medicine for humans.

Required Degress for Veterinary Medicine

In order to be a licensed veterinarian, you must complete an undergraduate degree focusing on science and biology, followed by a doctor of veterinarian medicine degree. Twenty-nine accredited universities in the United States offer DVM programs. Once the DVM is received, a veterinarian must be licensed by a state. Licensing requires passing the North American Veterinarian Licensing Exam, which takes about eight hours to complete and covers all areas of veterinarian medicine.

Salary Expectations in Veterinary Medicine

In 2012, the median salary for veterinarians was $84.460, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS predicted a 12 percent growth in the field between 2012 and 2022.

Specializations in Veterinary Medicine

Veterinarians can specialize in certain types of animals or even in specific animals. Examples include pets, zoo animals, farm animals, horses and reptiles. Locations of work include racetracks, farms, zoos and laboratories.

Careers in Veterinary Medicine

Many positions with the government, including disease-control workers, animal welfare and safety workers, epidemiologists, and U.S. government meat and poultry inspectors. More traditional positions include working in a private veterinary practice. Many veterinarians eventually start and run their own practice.

Fun Facts About Veterinary Medicine

Veterinarians helped conquer malaria, yellow fever and the mystery of botulism. They also defined and developed surgical techniques for humans, including hip and knee joint replacements, and organ and limb transplants. Today’s veterinarians test the effects of drug therapies, antibiotics, and new surgical techniques on animals to benefit human medicine.

2016 Salary Information for Veterinarians

Veterinarians earned a median annual salary of $88,770 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, veterinarians earned a 25th percentile salary of $69,240, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $118,460, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 79,600 people were employed in the U.S. as veterinarians.