Many people dream of how to become a veterinarian from a young age. The thought of caring for animals is inspiring and exciting. Those who are scientifically and mathematically inclined may think veterinary medicine is the ideal field for them. Others who enjoy communicating with people and helping others may pursue this job. But do they know what it takes to become one?

Here is brief list of criteria our amazing veterinarians did before becoming part of team THRIVE:

Before applying for veterinary school

Complete prerequisite courses, which typically cover topics in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, humanities, and animal science. Specific requirements vary by school. Students must also have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within five years of the date of application. Competitive grades and scores are preferred.

Be sure to participate in pre-veterinary organizations, volunteer work, or internships to gain hands-on experience. Along the way, students can meet mentors who can provide perspective and letters of reference.

Some schools require an interview before being admitted. Common interview formats range from traditional 30-minute Q&As to multiple mini interviews (MMIs). In traditional interviews, students are usually asked to reflect on past experiences or form opinions on controversial topics. In MMIs, applicants are often presented with scenarios to assess verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

Attend an accredited college of veterinary medicine.

In the U.S., there are 30 colleges of veterinary medicine that have received or are pending AVMA accreditation. Alternatively, other popular schools include those in the Caribbean, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Usually, the first three years of veterinary school consist of didactic lectures in animal anatomy and physiology, infectious diseases, pathology, and nutrition. Sometimes, species- or organ system-specific electives are offered. The fourth year often consists of clinical rotations and externships. Opportunities to conduct research or participate in wet labs are facilitated by extracurricular organizations.

Pass your national and state licensing exams.

All graduates must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) as well as additional state-specific exams. These exams consist of clinically relevant multiple-choice questions that cover multiple species and common disease processes. Learn more about the NAVLE.

Obtain employment.

Veterinarians may choose to pursue additional training via an internship or enter into general practice. Alternatively, some veterinarians seek jobs in industry, government, non-profit, or research. Learn more about our employment opportunities at THRIVE.