Responsible for the health care of animals all around the world, veterinarians are usually the ones that diagnose, treat, and research any medical conditions that might afflict pets, livestock, wildlife, and pretty much any other animal on the planet. Of course, the veterinarian job description entails more specialization than that of human doctors.
Because of the work environment, anyone aspiring to obtain a veterinarian job description has to possess a number of qualities. They must have a strong stomach, compassion, quick thinking, decision-making skills, and a great deal of dexterity. Of course, a fondness for animals will always be a plus.
Veterinarian Job Description: What does a Veterinarian Do?
The veterinarian job description and responsibilities are pretty straight-forward. They are basically the same as those of a doctor’s, minus some of the legal duties. Usually, veterinarians have to examine, diagnose, and treat animals, perform surgery, vaccinate against diseases, operate medical equipment, and ultimately euthanize animals if they consider it to be the right call.
Veterinarian Job Duties
Of course, there are many types of veterinarians, just like there are many types of human doctors. Specialization is the key word for anyone with the veterinarian job description, as it’s impossible to possess enough knowledge to cover too many areas.
And while most types of veterinarians usually have their own respective job responsibilities, some parts of the veterinarian job description apply to all professionals working in the field. So, whether they are assistant veterinarians or doctors with their PhDs in marine mammals, you’ll often see most veterinarians engaged in the following activities:
- Examine a wide array of animals.
- Diagnose medical conditions and recommend treatment.
- Treat and dress any type of wounds.
- Perform surgical operations on animals.
- Test animals for diseases.
- Vaccinate against diseases.
- Operate medical equipment (MRIs, X-ray machines, etc.)
- Advise animal owners how to better take care of their pets.
- Prescribe medication to treat pets and livestock.
- Euthanize animals if they see fit.
Veterinarian Job Essential Skills
The mandatory personal qualities of an aspiring veterinarian are as follows:
Compassion. Veterinarians must be compassionate towards both pets and their owners to be able to fulfill their duties.
Strong stomach. As they often deal with difficult cases, can even perform surgery and have to draw blood on a daily basis, veterinarians must be able to keep their cool in these situations.
Dexterity. Veterinarians must work with both small and large animals, performing precise tasks, so dexterity is a mandatory quality.
Quick reflexes. As they might treat pets in life-threatening situations, veterinarians must have quick reflexes and react on the spot in order to save their patients.
Decisiveness. These professionals often recommend the treatment course. They have to be confident in their experience and prove their decisiveness.
Quick reaction under pressure. Especially veterinarians who operate on their patients must develop the ability to react quickly and correctly under pressure.
Fondness for animals. Although it seems like a given, having a fondness for all animals is a mandatory aspect of becoming a successful veterinarian.
Becoming a Veterinarian Professional
There are a number of courses which must be taken for an aspiring veterinarian to get their doctorate degree. And since a doctorate degree is mandatory for obtaining a veterinarian job description, we also need to talk about those particular courses.
Qualifications and Training
Those who want to start a career in the field should know the requirements. A doctorate of Veterinarian Medicine degree is mandatory in the United States, and a similar degree is needed in Canada. For the degree, some previous classes have to first be taken.
Seeing as getting a veterinarian job description and salary is very difficult because of the highly competitive industry, there is a wide array of prerequisites and requirements without which one cannot even hope to get close to being hired in the field.
These prerequisites and requirements are both formal and personal. Certainly, one cannot really practice the job description of a veterinarian without having a number of personal qualities.
Below, you will find a list of the formal requirements:
- A Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine degree at an accredited college
- Three years of pre-veterinarian courses
- A bachelor’s degree (optional, but helps)
In order to get into the veterinarian doctorate program, students have to go through three years of pre-veterinarian courses. These can be Biology, Chemistry, Genetics, Physics, Physiology, and Statistics.
While the degree is enough for employees to start working, most people with a veterinarian’s job description tend to also start 1-year internship programs in order to gain experience. These are usually done for job interviews, as the field is very competitive. However, some actually do it to gain more confidence in their own abilities.
A veterinarian medicine program takes on average about 4 years to complete and it includes classroom, clinical, and laboratory components. Most veterinarian school applicants, however, also go for a bachelor’s degree. Since the job market is so competitive for people with the veterinarian job description, every single file, and resource in a resume matters.
People aiming for the veterinarian job description have to attend veterinarian medical colleges. These colleges usually offer various courses the aspiring veterinarians can take:
- Animal science
This is one of the areas that can vary wildly from industry to industry. Some clinics offer little to no overtime, while others have chaotic schedules. These chaotic schedules are usually defined by long hours, working nights or weekends, and even working holidays.
For example, a research position could only offer office hours to its employee. However, working at a clinic would force someone to work shifts, do overtime, and be on call, or respond to emergencies. The highest paying industries in the country are as follows:
|Industry||Employment||Percent of industry employment||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Management of Companies and Enterprises||80||not reported||$62.71||$130,430|
|Scientific Research and Development Services||280||0.04||$61.80||$128,530|
|Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services||50||not reported||$55.17||$114,740|
|Drugs and Druggists’ Sundries Merchant Wholesalers||50||0.02||$49.15||$102,220|
|Other Personal Services||260||0.09||$48.73||$101,360|
Experience is a very important factor in determining a veterinarian job description and salary. Previous work with animals is mandatory in many animal clinics, and many companies hiring for research positions won’t even consider someone without at least three years of experience in working with animals.
Many clinics used to offer on-the-job training that would help their employees get higher-paying jobs. However, with the advance of technology, an even bigger tendency towards specialization has started.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
Prognoses show employment of people with the veterinarian job description to grow by as much as 12% by 2022. This is about as much as the national average for all occupations. Private practices, which offer better hours and better pay, will be in need of more jobs.
As more and more people are taking their pets to the veterinarian and as animal medicine is advancing at a rate similar to that of humans, more jobs are opening in the animal healthcare industry. The employment of veterinarians is expected to grow 9 percent faster than the general average, from 2014 to 2024. Public health, disease control, and animal safety will be three other domains of activity which will require veterinarians.
With a very good salary and dozens, if not hundreds of career paths, people are competing over the veterinarian job description for very good reasons. Being a veterinarian can be very satisfying both on a personal and on a professional level. The huge job competition only serves to prove this point. And with the industry constantly developing, the prospect of getting a job in the field is looking better and better.