Veterinary medicine is an exciting and dynamic field with many career opportunities. If you are interested in pursuing a career in the veterinary field, first consider which area of veterinary medicine most interests you. Here is a list of some of the typical areas of focus available:
- Private Practice
- Corporate Practice
- Teaching & Research
- Regulatory Medicine
- Public Health
- Uniformed Services
Private Practice is one of the most recognizable role in the veterinary field, as it is what most of us think of when we think about our pets going to the doctor. Corporate Practice is similar to Private Practice with the exception of ownership. Generally, Private Practices are owned by an individual or group or individuals, while Corporate Practices are owned by corporations and have different governing bodies. Both private and corporate practices can be small animal, large animal, exotic, emergency, specialty or a combination. Here are the typical careers within Private or Corporate Practices:
Veterinarian (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD)… veterinarians must complete High School (4 years), College (3 – 5 years), Veterinary School (4 years ) and Pass National Boards. They are required to continue their education with a minimum of 36 credit hours every 2 years. Veterinarians are responsible for diagnosing disease, vaccinating against infectious disease, performing medical and surgical procedures, preventing the transmission of disease, and advising owners on how to keep their pets healthy.
Board Certified Veterinarian … like human doctors that specialize in one area of medicine, veterinarians can become board certified too. Board Certified Veterinarians must complete High School (4 years), College (3 – 5 years), Veterinary School (4 Years), Residency or Practical Experience, Entrance Examination, (2 – 4 years of school in discipline) and Pass National Examination. As of 2014 there were 22 different programs. Here are some of the most common:
- Dentistry, AVDC
- Dermatology, ACVD
- Internal Medicine, ACVIM
- Oncology, DACVIM
- Ophthalmology, ACVO
- Pathology, ACVP
- Behaviorist, ACVB
Certified Veterinary Technician, CVT (also known as RVT or LVT) … Technicians must complete High School (4 years), College (2 or 4 year program), and Pass National Boards. They are required to continue their education with a minimum of 36 credit hours every 2 years. Technicians work under the direct supervision of veterinarians. Technicians administer anesthesia, monitor patients, collect laboratory samples, perform laboratory testing, setup and take radiographs, prepare surgical instruments, and administer medication, vaccines and treatments that are prescribed by the veterinarians. They are also responsible for observing patients behavior and administering emergency first aid to injured animals.
Specialized Veterinary Technicians … Specialized Technicians are licensed technicians with additional knowledge and skills in a specific discipline. Specialized Technicians must complete course work, additional hours in the discipline and complete an examination to earn credentials in a specialty. Here is a brief list of specialties: anesthesia, surgery, dentistry, behavior, and internal medicine. For a complete list visit http://www.navta.net/?page=specialties
Certified Veterinary Practice Manager … CVPM’s must complete High School (4 years), College (18 hours of management related courses), 48 credits hours of management related continuing education, three years of experience in the industry and Pass Certification Exam (covering Human resources, Law & Ethics, Marketing, Organization of the Practice and Finance). They are required to continue their education with a minimum of 48 credit hours every 2 years. The purpose of the practice manager is to serve the owner or board of directors of the practice in establishing and reaching the goals and policies they desire. The practice manger combines the elements of business and veterinary medicine to succeed in maintaining excellence and quality of care to clients and their pets. Practice Managers must be competent in human resources, financials, production, administrative duties, and accounting.
Client Care Specialist … CCS’s must complete High School (4 years) and extensive on-site training is required. The CCS establishes relationships with clients to better serve the healthcare needs of their pets. They schedule appointments and surgery, prepare the medical records, input vaccine information, greet client’s in-person and over the phone, review and respond to email and direct clients to the information that they need to make sound decisions about their pets.
Depending on the size of the veterinary hospital the following roles may also be available:
- Office Manager
- Team Leaders / Department Managers
- Human Resources Director
- Marketing Specialist
- Social Media Coordinator
- Operations Director
- Business Manager
- Kennel Technician
- Medical Director
We will continue this series about the career opportunities available in the dynamic field of veterinary medicine. Look for the next article in December.