You’ve been working toward your dream of becoming a veterinarian. You have completed all your vet school prerequisites and you think you’re ready to start applying for vet school. Before you know it, your journey to becoming a veterinarian will officially start!
As excited as you are and the closer you get to pursuing your dreams, the more questions you probably have. You probably want to know, “What is vet school like?”
Your vet school experience will vary based on the program you attend, the kinds of campus extracurriculars you participate in, and your study habits. We’ve put together some of your Frequently Asked Questions to help you as you begin your journey.
What is Vet School Like? Your Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if a career in veterinary medicine is right for me?
The best way to know for sure is to gain exposure to the profession through experiences with practicing veterinarians and/or veterinary researchers. Exploring the profession by shadowing or working for a veterinarian is the best way to learn and understand what is involved in the veterinary profession and whether veterinary medicine is the right career for you.
How hard is vet school?
There are 50 AVMA accredited colleges of veterinary medicine around the globe. Admission to these programs is competitive so you should strive to exceed the minimum requirements. To get a feel for the competitiveness of the applicant pool, some schools post their previous year’s entering class statistics. Reviewing these statistics for the schools you are interested in will help you to have a better understanding of the requirements and selection criteria.
At Ross Vet, we take a holistic view of the admissions process reviewing not just grades and GRE scores, but so much more: your experience with animals and exposure to animal medicine, personal character, interpersonal skills, motivation, and passion for the profession. To strengthen your vet school application and increase your chances of getting into your veterinary school of choice read our blog How Important are Vet School GRE Scores?
What does veterinary school consist of?
It takes roughly eight years of advanced schooling to become a veterinarian. Most individuals attend an undergraduate college or university for four years and then go on to veterinary school for another four years. However, some veterinarians require additional schooling if they plan to specialize in the field or work with certain animals. So, just how long is vet school? Some veterinarians spend 10 or more years in school before beginning to practice
In vet school, the average 4-year education is similar to what medical school students receive – but for many animal species instead of just one. Course subjects include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, pathology, toxicology, biochemistry, surgical techniques, and more. For the first two to three years, you spend the majority of your time in the classroom and laboratory to prepare for working with the animal patient. For example, students at Ross Vet spend 28 months on the culturally distinct island of St. Kitts for their pre-clinical studies before heading to the U.S or internationally to one of our 30 partner schools for their clinical year.
What is veterinary school like?
Vet school can be challenging, and you need to be prepared for long days of classes and studying, beginning early in the morning and ending late at night. Be prepared for a day that may include lectures, labs, study groups, and more. With over 20 active Ross Vet school clubs and organizations representing a variety of interests, it’s easy to get involved. Aside from enjoying the opportunity to pursue your interests, campus organizations and clubs often provide ways to advance your education. Clubs often provide students with opportunities to experience labs and hands-on experiences.
Becoming a good vet isn’t just about memorizing terminology. You need to take the time to really understand the material. You have to make a lot of sacrifices with what you want to do during vet school because it’s very time consuming, but it can be very rewarding.
How long is vet school?
Most veterinary schools require four years of study and practice. At Ross Vet, our AMVA-COE* accredited program is an accelerated 3.25 year program where you will learn the essential knowledge, skills, technical expertise, and attitudes of a DVM. Our curriculum integrates basic sciences and clinicals, engages you in active learning through early hands-on experiences and simulation labs, and ensures that you will have the skills to be career-ready upon graduation.
*Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine confers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, which is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA COE), 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173, Tel: 800.248.2862. For more information please visit https://www.avma.org/education/accreditation-veterinary-colleges
What do I need to apply for vet school?
Specific veterinary school requirements vary from school to school, but there are few things you can do to make your application process a little less overwhelming. Getting into vet school doesn’t have to be intimidating if you know how to plan. We’ve assembled a list of the most important requirements and helpful tips and strategies to help your application stand out. Be sure to read our blog How to Get Into Vet School? Guide to Vet School Requirements for helpful tips.
If you’re interested in applying to Ross Vet, find out more about our admissions requirements.Learn about the DVM application process on our How to Apply page
Pursuing your passion
Now that you the answer to the question: what is vet school like, you'll realize that vet school is a busy and challenging time. You’ll learn a lot of material and develop the practical skills needed to be career-ready after graduation. When you think about how long vet school is, remember that it’s a small fraction of time over what could be a very rewarding career path.