To work as a veterinarian, you must earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM or VMD) degree from a program accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and receive a state license.
Not all veterinary colleges require a bachelor's degree for admission, though all require a specific number of undergraduate credit hours and pre-veterinary courses in subjects such as organic chemistry, biology, zoology, and physiology. Most schools also require a certain number of credit hours in core subject courses, such as math and English.
Another requirement for admission to a veterinary program is a satisfactory score on a graduate exam, such as the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Testing requirements vary from school to school.
After completing the four-year DVM program, many veterinarians seek out a specialty and complete a two-year internship.
Specialties are available in a variety of areas, including laboratory animal medicine, preventative medicine, surgery, radiology, nutrition, dentistry, pathology, ophthalmology, oncology, and internal medicine. To become board certified in their particular specialty, veterinarians must complete a three- or four-year residency program.
All states and the District of Columbia require veterinarians to be licensed before they are able to practice. Specific requirements vary in each state, though all states require the DVM or MVD degree and the passing of the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE). Most states also require a state jurisprudence exam.