How Long Is Vet School and What Should I Expect During My Education?

Jun 12, 2023

To unwind from classes, visit your pick of St. Kitts beaches, wander mountains and lush forests, or explore an energetic city center full of history, good food, and island culture. Studying to become a veterinarian at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet) may be the opportunity of a lifetime. But, as in other Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA®), Obtaining your DVM at Ross Vet involves many hours of rigorous academic training. You will be challenged by the seven-semester accelerated preclinical curriculum that integrates unique research opportunities, classroom study and hands-on clinical experience, preparing you for a final year of clinical training. 

So, how many years does it take to finish vet school? How long does it take to become a veterinarian? It depends on what type of vet you want to be, but all veterinarians must pass through several stages of academic training before they can be licensed to practice. Below, we’ll walk you through the typical timeline for becoming a vet.


So exactly how long does it take to become a veterinarian? Most veterinary schools require four years to complete the coursework and clinical training required to earn a DVM. Students who enroll in Ross Vet’s year-round DVM degree program, however, can complete their degree in as few as 3.25 years.

After taking and passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination® (NAVLE®) and meeting the licensure requirements of your state or province, you can then practice veterinary medicine. So how long does it take to become a licensed veterinarian? About eight years, including undergrad. But if you wish to pursue work in a specialized area, you’ll need to receive additional training.


You can start the clock on becoming a vet with four years of undergraduate study. College students who want to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine should start working toward their course requirements during undergrad. At Ross Vet, advanced math, biology, chemistry, and biochemistry are among the prerequisites required for admission. In addition, vet schools typically require that students have several hundred hours of animal experience, so acquiring an internship or other job working with animals may increase your chance of getting into your vet school of choice.

Ross Vet’s one-semester Vet Prep program is a valuable way to get one step closer to your dream of becoming a veterinarian. Vet Prep is a bridge program designed to better prepare students for the rigors of vet school, and provides additional assistance in one or more academic areas needed to excel in our DVM program. Students who pass the program are guaranteed a spot in the next first-semester class. The Vet Prep program can add six months or more to your veterinary education.


How long does it take to become a veterinarian including an internship? That depends on your specialty. Before working independently, veterinarians may decide to complete a year-long internship to gain additional training under the expertise of an experienced vet.

After completing an internship, if you wish to specialize, you may continue your studies through a residency. Residencies allow you to gain supervised experience and training in a specialty to qualify for board certification. The AVMA® recognizes 46 distinct specialties, from behavior, dentistry, surgery and ophthalmology to specialties focusing on specific animal groups.

Many specialties require at least three years of additional training before you can apply for board certification. Veterinarians who wish to specialize in reptiles and amphibians, for example, must have at least six years of full-time experience before they are eligible to apply for certification. Each specialty has its own organization that administers the exam, so check the website for your specialty’s organization for information on exam dates and processes. All told, it can take anywhere from 9 to 14 years to become an advanced or specialist veterinarian.

At Ross Vet, our accelerated program can give you a jump start on your veterinary career, but becoming a vet will still be a challenging journey requiring years of dedication. Learn more about Ross Vet’s DVM program and the range of opportunities and experiences we offer to help you find your career path in veterinary medicine. Contact us for more information.

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