state requirements

All 28 colleges of veterinary medicine in the US and several foreign veterinary colleges are accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Admission is highly competitive. Applicants must take the Veterinary Aptitude Test, Medical College Admission Test, or the Graduate Record Examination and submit evidence that they have experience working with animals. Colleges usually give preference to in-State applicants, because most are State supported. There are regional educational agreements through which States without veterinary schools send students to designated regional schools. In other areas, schools give preference to applicants from nearby States that do not have veterinary schools.

To meet State licensure requirements, foreign-trained veterinarians must fulfill the English language and clinical evaluation requirements of the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG). To meet the federal government hiring requirements, foreign-trained veterinarians must also show the college they graduated from is equivalent to US accredited veterinary colleges. Each veterinarian also takes the “Veterinarian’s Oath” in order to be admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine.



Most private practice veterinarians begin as employees or partners in established practices. With experience, they may set up their own practice or purchase an established one. Veterinarians that own their practice usually have a higher annual income than those who work for a practice.

Newly hired veterinarians of the U.S. federal government can work for more than 28 federal agencies in a variety of positions including, animal health, animal disease eradication and control, food safety, emergency disease management, epidemiology, animal welfare, animal protection research, biologics production, laboratory animal medicine, wildlife medicine and management, animal diseases surveillance, management, Administration, or as commissioned officers in the U.S. Public Health Service. In the federal government, the salaries usually increase automatically every 1-3 years or promotions to other positions are always an option.


Students should apply for veterinary school in the summer prior to the year in which they will matriculate from undergraduate school. For example, if a student is applying for veterinary college starting fall of 2010, they would submit their application in the summer of 2009. The national Grade Point Average for acceptance into a veterinary college is no less than a “B” or 3.0. When a student graduates from a US veterinary college they receive a doctorate of veterinary medicine (DVM) or a Veterinary Medical doctorate (VMD).

Once a veterinarian has obtained a license to practice veterinary medicine, s/he must complete several hours of continuing education courses annually to maintain licensure. The seminars they choose are up to them. This allows veterinarians to meet individual educational needs for their specialties along with keeping current on many new techniques, ideas and recent diseases. The federal government often provides additional training for veterinarians depending on the position they are performing in. Many veterinarians also routinely subscribe to journals of veterinary medicine and belong to veterinary organizations and/or associations to assist them in maintaining their overall knowledge of veterinary advances, to support organized veterinary medicine, and to assist them when they have questions or concerns on how to handle difficult situations they encounter.

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