Do you love spending time with animals and caring for them? Do you want a medical science career that allows you to work with animals full-time? Do you aspire for a well-paid and respected profession?
If your answer is yes to all three of these questions, you may be the right candidate to become a veterinarian. Generally dubbed as ‘animal doctors,’ these medical professionals ensure the good health and well-being of our pets or livestock.
This blog can help you get a broad view of veterinary medicine and what you can expect from the profession. It also delves into the requirements of becoming a vet and the advantages of getting a veterinary degree from a Caribbean vet college.
What do veterinary professionals do?
Veterinary doctors are medical professionals who are responsible for treating and caring for different types of animals. They diagnose disease-affected animals and treat them when they are sick and injured.
Most private veterinarians have their own practices where they interact with pet owners to properly care for their pets and livestock.
While the job duties can vary from one clinic to another, most veterinary duties can be classified under the following tasks:
- Diagnosing the specific medical condition of animals
- Medicating sick or diseased animals
- Performing minor to complex surgeries
- Advising pet owners about the condition of their pets
- Educating animal owners about their feeding, behavior and breeding
- Providing preventive care such as vaccinations against certain diseases.
What are the advantages of a veterinarian career?
Most qualified veterinarians are satisfied with their professional lives owing to the multiple perks they receive in their jobs. Here are some common advantages of becoming a veterinarian:
- Diversity in work life: Unlike human doctors, veterinarians need not choose a specialty. A veterinarian gets to be a cardiologist, surgeon or even a neurologist for a single patient. This kind of diversity in a vet’s work-life keeps their profession interesting.
- Considerable job security: As animal care standards continue to improve, the need for qualified vets will also increase. Thus, there is considerable job security in this line of work.
- Ability to bring real impact: A veterinary career can be very rewarding as you can positively impact the lives of animals and their owners who consider their animals as part of the family. The ability to make a real difference as a vet can be quite exhilarating.
- Strong likelihood of good colleagues: It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to become a qualified vet. Therefore, as a vet, you can expect to be surrounded by hard-working colleagues who can pull their own weight.
What are the veterinarian education requirements?
Becoming a full-fledged veterinarian requires you to complete an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.
What else do you need to become a veterinarian?
While a veterinary degree can provide you with specific domain knowledge and medical skills, there are other requirements to become a qualified vet. Here are a few other requirements to become a veterinarian:
- State license to practice: To practice in the US, you also need to acquire a veterinary license in addition to a DVM degree. Passing the NAVLE exam can be your best bet.
- A good understanding of animal behavior: Since animals can’t speak, you need to be able to pick up their non-verbal cues to understand their condition. Thus, a previous experience of working with animals can be a big bonus.
- Understanding of animal biology and anatomy: A DVM degree is essentially a medical degree and involves a lot of medical and biological subjects. Previous knowledge in animal biology and anatomy can therefore be helpful.
What kind of skills can you learn from a veterinary degree?
Most veterinary science degrees are purposefully designed to be broad-spectrum so as to prepare you for a wide range of medical career paths. Enrolling in a general veterinary program can provide you with the following skills, among many others:
- Diagnostic skills
- Lab research skills
- Analytical skills
- Comprehensive knowledge of animal virology and immunology
- Communication skills
- Critical thinking skills
What kind of career prospects can you expect from a veterinary program?
A good vet degree will give you the qualifications required for a wide range of career paths, from government veterinary services to wildlife conservation. You can also choose to open your own veterinary clinic and practice independently. Here are a few interesting veterinary careers that may catch your interest:
- Animal psychologist
- Clinical veterinarian
- Veterinary surgeons
- Animal nutritionist
- Nature conservation officer
- Zookeeping consultant
These jobs apart, you can also think about becoming a zoologist, veterinary researcher, marine life veterinarian or equestrian.
Why should you think about a veterinary course in the Caribbean?
Most reputed vet schools in the US can be pricey and are often out of reach for many students. According to a report published in Nerdwallet.com, the average tuition fees of veterinary schools in the US can exceed $275,000 for out-of-state students. International students can expect even higher tuition fees.
The veterinary colleges in the Caribbean offer less expensive alternatives for your veterinary training. The reputed vet colleges in the region offer more affordable tuition rates than their US counterparts without compromising on the quality or standard of education.
Choosing a good veterinary program in the Caribbean can also allow you to pursue your studies in a picturesque location and experience the diverse flora and fauna. You also get to work with different marine animals in their natural habitat, which can be a unique advantage.
If you are looking for a good Caribbean veterinary school, you can check out St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SMUSVM), located in Grand Cayman Island.
SMUSVM has a rigorous curriculum, a staff of highly experienced faculty and a small student-to-teacher ratio. This helps the school maintain its high academic standards and turn its students into highly trained veterinarians.
Click here to see a complete list of the features of the DVM program at SMUSVM.