Being a veterinarian is an incredibly rewarding profession, especially if you love taking care of animals. If you are thinking of this course of study, you may be looking at a vet school in the Caribbean.
While there are some great schools to select from, not every vet school is created equal. To get the qualification you need for the distinguished career you deserve, make sure that you only apply to accredited veterinary schools in the Caribbean, and those with the right professional links.
Why is it important that veterinary schools are accredited?
Choosing to study at a Caribbean veterinary school with the right accreditations is essential. Accreditation means your qualification will be recognized by institutions in Canada and the USA. If you plan to travel with your qualifications and work at veterinary hospitals or private practices in other countries, then it's also vital that the degree you have is from a reputable school that has an international profile.
Being a veterinarian is a wonderfully versatile profession and your skills for helping sick or injured animals will be valuable everywhere around the world. However, you won't be able to use your skills in a professional setting without a qualification from an accredited school that is recognized by authorities and leaders in the field.
What accreditations should students look out for?
There are a number of accreditations and standards to consider when looking at veterinarian schools in the Caribbean.
The school must make the safety of personnel, students, and animals a high priority, for a start. Another basic requirement should be a veterinary teaching hospital on campus, one where students can get valuable experience and work with qualified teaching professionals.
Accredited College of Veterinary Medicine
Another accreditation to look for is that of AVMA or Accredited College of Veterinary Medicine. There are a number of criteria to meet to satisfy AVMA accreditation. These include being part of a higher learning institution that is recognized by a nation's government as being designed for that purpose. For accreditation, the CEO or Dean must be a veterinarian, and they must have the authority to enable compliance with all necessary standards.
An AVMA school must have enough administrative staff to deal with enrollments and college operations, and the academic environment must uphold practices consistent with anti-discrimination laws. An AVMA-accredited school must also provide a suitable learning environment with well-maintained laboratories, classrooms, and a teaching hospital.
Prospective students will also want to look for a veterinary school where they have access to a diverse variety of animal patients. The school must also maintain a high level of professional conduct generally, and maintain rigorous standards that do not allow discrimination or non-lawful practices of any kind.
How to pick an accredited Caribbean veterinary school
When you are looking at a Caribbean veterinary school you will of course check its accreditations. There are other elements that will influence your decision too.
Assess the partnerships, educators and alumni
Does your chosen Caribbean vet school offer partnerships with other well-respected institutions for real-world clinical experience? If so, this is a sign that your chosen school runs a commendable program. You'll also want to find out who the Dean is, and who the faculty members are that head up the main departments. Complete some research on their careers, specialties, and experience. The achievements of your educators will play a huge role in your learning.
Take the time to review alumni profiles and testimonials to see what past students have achieved since graduating. If past students have moved on to work in highly regarded veterinary hospitals and practices in different countries, then this is an excellent sign that the teaching is comprehensive and gains quantifiable results. It's possible that you may know someone who has studied there, or someone you know is connected to a past student. If so, you should take advantage of any opportunity to speak to former students to get a direct testimony of the teaching methods and student life at your chosen school.
Create a personal list of criteria and research how the school measures up
Doing your research is a vital step when it comes to choosing a vet school in the Caribbean. Many schools have webinars or discovery events where prospective students ask questions or go on virtual tours of the campus and you should take advantage of these resources to learn as much as you can.
Look at the classrooms, the equipment, and the teaching hospital. Are they clean and well-maintained? What is the syllabus like? Does it cover the areas of study that are both necessary and interesting? Are there opportunities to specialize or work on individual projects?
A school that is proud of its achievements will be happy to share information about them and this may be a great opportunity to network with the professors and educators at the school. If you have questions about the faculty staff, the teaching methods or the syllabus, don't hesitate to get in contact with the school and find out more.
North American Veterinary Licensing Examination
The school should also have a North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) pass rate of 80%. The NAVLE has been overseen by the ICVA, the International Council for Veterinary Assessment, for more than 20 years. The NAVLE is a requirement for getting a veterinary license in Canada and the US. The exam is made up of 360 multiple-choice questions on clinical veterinary subjects.
The positives of accredited vet schools in the Caribbean
Accredited Caribbean veterinary schools have at least one advantage over schools in the US, for example, as many have rolling admissions. This means that they accept new students at different times during the year, frequently with starting dates in winter, spring and fall. This increases your opportunities of joining a course.
Another benefit of Caribbean vet schools is the range of birds and animals you can work with. If you are interested in monkeys or species native to this part of the world, for example, studying in the Caribbean could give you opportunities to broaden your experience that you would not find elsewhere.
Apply to St. Matthew's University School of Veterinary Medicine
St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine is a distinguished campus with a wide-ranging syllabus. The school aims to give its veterinary graduates superior professional medical skills combined with a caring attitude and openness to lifelong learning that will ensure they stay abreast of every development in this demanding field.
There are many good reasons for choosing to do veterinary studies at St Matthew's. If you want to find out more about what St Matthew's has to offer, it would a good idea to take advantage of the information provided in the events and webinars the school has produced.
Once you decide to apply to St. Matthew's, an excellent start would be to get an idea of the criteria for admission and what kind of documents and qualifications you will need.
Deciding on a veterinary school can be a big step, but why wait? A fulfilling career doing work you love is waiting for you. If you have questions about what studying at St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine would entail, don't hesitate to get in touch today. We're here to help you with any queries you have and set you on the path to being a veterinarian.