How to: Become a Veterinarian

Welcome back to the Acoma Animal Clinic Blog! We hope your Thanksgiving holidays have gone (or even continue!) to go great, and -safe- for your family and their furry members. This time on the blog we are going to take a slight detour, a look on the other side of the stethoscope. What it means to be a veterinarian, and how can you become one too!

If you are anything like us, and most kids, while growing up you loved animals. How could you not! They’re such amazing creatures, full of life, so much like us and yet so alien in so many fantastic ways. It is easy to see just how veterinarian became a top professional on kindergartener’s lists around the world. For some folks, growing up, that dream job got replaced as they found new passions, or came to grips with what it means to be a veterinarian – it isn’t all pets, tummy scratches and treats, that’s for sure. But, if you’re still holding on to that dream to become a veterinarian, here is a quick rundown of the steps necessary to become one!


What it Takes to Become a Veterinarian

The process of going from zero to pet hero can largely be summed up in these four steps. There is some wiggle room, some individuality depending on the pathway a person takes, but by and large, the process goes something like this:

Step 1

You might not realize it, but a veterinarian is a doctorate degree! To be an animal doctor, you need to complete a lot of schooling, so the first order of business is to get a bachelor’s degree in a biological science. Take additional coursework related to animal behavior if you can. While in school, make sure to intern or volunteer at veterinarian clinics, shelters, anywhere you can get some first-hand experience while you finish your school life. Once you’ve graduated you will need to take the GRE to qualify yourself for vet school.

Step 2

Once you’ve been accepted to one of the 30+ accredited vet schools in the country, you will be completing a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program (sometimes shortened to DVM). During those four years you will be studying all sorts of courses on animal anatomy, chemistry, biology, physiology, nutrition and more. In the last year you will begin to take on supervised practice. These can happen at things like animal farms, hospitals, zoos, or veterinary clinics.

Step 3

Finished those four years? Now it’s time to take the test. This behemoth of an examination is a seven hour exam for licensing, and it varies by state. Once you’ve completed this, you know you’re ready to become…

Step 4

A veterinarian, that’s you! You can now start to practice, pursue further training, specialization, and certification in the dozens of different specific branches of veterinary practice.


The journey is long, arduous, and full of struggles and triumphs, but should you pursue this course to its completion, after about 8 years, lots of hands-on experience, you will be a veterinarian, the dream career of children everywhere, and an important one at that!

If you don’t want to be a veterinarian, but simply need one, then give us a call here at Acoma Animal Clinic, where our veterinarians are experienced, and ready to help your furry friends get back on their feet.

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