Have you always been an animal lover? Maybe you have even thought about pursuing a career helping animals. There are certainly many animal-related career paths you could choose, but why study veterinary medicine? “Why should I become a vet?” Attending an accredited Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program (DVM) like the one at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet)*—is a challenging prospect, but a rewarding one as well. Veterinary medicine can be one of the most exciting and versatile fields of study related to animals.
DVMs play a major role in the healthcare of pets, livestock, zoo, sporting, and laboratory animals. Some veterinarians use their skills to protect humans against diseases carried by animals and conduct clinical research on human and animal health problems. Others work in basic research, broadening the scope of fundamental theoretical knowledge, and in applied research, developing new ways to use knowledge. If you’re interested in working in any of these disciplines, veterinary medicine could be for you.
Perhaps you’re still deciding on your next move, and you’re asking yourself, “why go to vet school?” Read on to discover why studying veterinary medicine may be the best decision for you.
REASONS TO CONSIDER: WHY BECOME A VET?
1. You have a passion for animals—and people
Have you always gravitated towards animals? Do you envision yourself in a world where you can help animals every day? Perhaps the answer is yes, but why study veterinary medicine in particular? A career in veterinary medicine allows you to nourish your passion for animals.
With over 550 animals on campus, a large animal facility, and simulation labs, Ross Vet’s immersive program can provide you with the essential knowledge, skills, technical expertise, and attitudes of a DVM. We introduce key concepts and skills as early as the first semester that are repeated throughout the preclinical curriculum with increased complexity and through a variety of applications. You can develop skills that you will use daily to help animals that can’t speak for themselves.
Being a vet isn’t just about helping animals, though. Remember that the animals you’re helping have a loving owner who will need your compassion and guidance too. From day one, Ross Vet’s curriculum can help you grow communication and clinical skills through case-based, situational experiences- role play in a realistic training environment that imitates actual client/patient interactions or practice your verbal and non-verbal cues and receive coaching in a safe environment.
2. You enjoy science and problem solving
Veterinary medicine is based on science and applying critical thinking skills. If you enjoy science courses, especially biology and chemistry, then going to veterinary school may be a great fit.
Ross Vet’s preclinical curriculum builds your foundational knowledge that you will use throughout your veterinary career. Your first two semesters at Ross Vet introduce you to subjects like anatomy, physiology, and microanatomy that approach the study of the body and how the functions and systems work together. Semesters three and four begin to address the causes and diagnosis of disease in animals and the mechanisms by which diseases develop at the organismal, cellular and molecular, and, increasingly, genetic levels through classes such as pathology, bacteriology, virology, and parasitology. Once you begin Semester Five, you will start applying the knowledge you’ve learned and honing your skills.
Being a veterinarian involves solving puzzles every day. Animals can’t tell us what’s ailing them, so veterinarians must use some detective skills to solve the case. You’ll use clues from the history an owner gives you, along with a physical exam and diagnostic tests, to formulate a diagnosis and treatment plan.
3. You enjoy learning
All fields of medicine are dynamic and evolving as new information and technology come to the forefront. Veterinary medicine is constantly changing, and veterinarians continuously learn to stay up to date with the most recent achievements, discoveries, and treatments. So, why go to vet school? Because you will learn an incredible number of things about a wide variety of animals.
In school and in practice, you will always be acquiring new knowledge and skills that can make you a thoughtful and good veterinarian. Indeed, most states require veterinarians to renew their license every other year (see the Illinois example), and during that two-year period they must log a certain amount of hours of continuing education. Veterinarians must maintain the desire to learn throughout their career, and forever be curious about the latest veterinary techniques.
4. Day-to-day variety
Are you the type of person who gets bored easily with monotonous tasks? You won’t have to worry about boredom if you choose to study veterinary medicine.
Your time as a veterinary student at Ross Vet can be enriched through extracurricular research projects, clubs, and externship opportunities that provide valuable group support, additional hands-on learning experiences, and opportunities to explore new concepts and specialty areas of practice. By the time you reach your clinical year, you will start your transition from student to doctor, working alongside a licensed clinician to examine, diagnose, and treat real patients. A veterinarian’s day is often quite varied as they work with various species and treat a range of diseases or other health issues. Every animal patient—and human owner—is different, and no two days are the same.
5. Career options
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that in 2020 most veterinarians worked in private practice, but there are a number of other veterinary paths to follow. Vets may work in such places as farms, laboratories, military installations, universities, or zoos. So if you’re wondering “why go to vet school?” The many career settings may be an enticing and influencing factor.
Veterinarians are found in many locations, and they can also be found alongside a wide variety of animal species. You could choose to be a mixed animal veterinarian and work with both small and large animals, or maybe you’d like to be strictly a feline or fish practitioner. So, why study veterinary medicine? Because no matter what piques your interest, there is a niche for you!
6. Veterinary community
The veterinary community is a tight-knit group of like-minded individuals. It is a large network of doctors of veterinary medicine, vet technicians, vet assistants, kennel attendants, and other support staff. Veterinarians also often collaborate with other doctors and vet specialists.The veterinary community also includes teachers and students as well as community leaders and members or influencers of government.
Says Dr. Heather Farmer ‘06, “The Ross Vet community is like no other vet school community. I feel that by moving to a different country and experiencing veterinary school in a small focused location where you rely on your classmates brings Ross Vet students closer together and gives you a network of colleagues you can always consult with.”
Working with others who are also committed to animal welfare can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
7. Opportunity for entrepreneurship
Do you like business and entrepreneurship? Perhaps the answer is yes, so then why study veterinary medicine? The answer is opportunity. Opportunities abound for entrepreneurship as a veterinarian. Many doctors run their own businesses that may include a veterinary clinic, laboratory, office, private practice, or other facilities.
8. Community involvement
Veterinarians play an important role in the community. Veterinarians interact often with community members by seeing their pets for wellness visits or treating their sick animals. They also help educate pet owners on such issues as vaccinations and spaying or neutering to prevent pet homelessness.
Ross Vet fosters a culture of philanthropy with our students and colleagues. Many Ross Vet clubs regularly give back to the St. Kitts community. For example, the Feral Cat Project operates a trap-neuter-release program for the feral cat population. Students participate in community-wide spay and neuter days, offering our students an opportunity to develop surgical skills as well as give back to the community.
WHY VETERINARY MEDICINE MAY BE RIGHT FOR YOU
Now that you’ve seen some advantages to becoming a vet, you might be wondering if veterinary medicine is right for you. Future veterinarians often develop an interest in the field at a young age. If you have always been an animal lover and you have a hard time picturing yourself doing anything else, veterinary medicine may be a great fit.
You will need patience, compassion, and focus to succeed in veterinary school. If you have the perseverance and drive to make a career out of helping animals, becoming a veterinarian may be an excellent career choice with many opportunities. Learn more about studying veterinary medicine at Ross Vet, or if you already know you want to do it, apply today.
*Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine's (RUSVM) Veterinary Clinic is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC, www.aaalac.org) as a school. The accreditation focuses on animals used in teaching and research environments.
RUSVM received full accreditation on July 16, 2019, from AAALAC International, an organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.