If you’ve enjoyed studying the science subjects at school and college and you have a passion for animals then studying for a degree in Veterinary Medicine could be the right choice for you.
For those of you wanting a career that helps animals, ranging from domestic pets to more exotic creatures, studying Veterinary Medicine could lead to a challenging, but rewarding, career.
So, what would your degree involve, and why apply for Veterinary Medicine?
Of course a love of animals is a must, as well as a keen interest in biology, and a talent for research.
Similarly to a human Medicine degree competition is fierce and you’ll need to commit to at least five years of study before you’ll be qualified.
However, for those of you willing to put in the hard work and dedication there is an exciting and highly rewarding, both financially and emotionally, career ahead of you.
Again, in a similar situation to studying for a medical degree the course content doesn’t vary much between universities as the teaching standards and key subject areas are set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
In fact, whilst you can study Veterinary Nursing and similar courses at a number of universities across the UK there are only seven universities that will lead to you being able to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons once you’ve graduated.
You’ll need to study for a minimum of five years (six if you choose to go to the University of Cambridge) to order to graduate.
Some universities also offer a foundation year if you don’t have the high grades you need to get onto the course when you apply.
Courses are usually a mixture of lecture time and clinical placements to ensure you have a well-rounded education.
During your course you’ll cross over with many aspects of straight medicine, such as neurology and oncology, as well as studying species specific modules. By the end of your course you’ll be confident with the anatomy, physiology, and treatment of many different species of animals from cats and dogs to bearded dragons and parrots.
Assessment methods are usually also a mixture of written exams and practical tests where you’ll be observed and assessed based on how you handle a specific situation or scenario.
Veterinary Medicine courses are extremely competitive and you’ll need to be an academic high flyer to get the grades you need.
Entry requirements range from AAB to A*AA so getting on to the course will be no academic walk in the park. It’s important to check the specific entry requirements with each university that you apply to.
You’ll also find that work experience is important to be considered if you want to study Veterinary Medicine. This could be work experience at your local veterinary practice or volunteering placements at an animal rescue for example.
Veterinary Medicine courses are not usually offered during Clearing, because of the high demand. So if you don’t get the grades you need look for a foundation course or retake and reapply next year.
The most obvious career path for someone choosing to study Veterinary Medicine is to go to become a Veterinarian.
Employment prospects are incredibly high for graduates, meaning you shouldn’t spend months looking for a job once you’re qualified, and the career prospects are excellent.
With a starting salary of between £20 – 25K as your experience grows so too will your salary.
You don’t need to be a vet forever either – there are some great options if you decide that being a practicing vet isn’t for you. The transferrable skills you’ll have gained during those years of hard study will make you a desirable candidate for many employers.
For example, biomedical research is a popular option for Veterinary Medicine graduates. Further education is also a popular choice with many graduates going on to further study and moving into teaching or academic research.