Becoming a Veterinarian

Becoming a Veterinarian

Are you thinking of becoming a veterinarian? The brochure Becoming a Veterinarian provides a good overview of what it takes to become a veterinarian and veterinary career options. The following resources provide information on what you need to do to prepare for rewarding career!


The average veterinarian completes a minimum of eight years of education after high school graduation: four years of undergraduate education and four years of veterinary school. A veterinary education is vigorous, demands solid abilities in math and science and requires a strong commitment to intense study. Answers to frequently asked questions for high school students and parents can be found here. Tips for applying to veterinary school can be found here.

Veterinary school involves coursework that mirrors the curriculum of human medical schools with the addition of applying this knowledge to multiple species. Veterinary students also spend many hours in a clinical setting working side by side with doctors getting hands on training. Once they graduate from a U.S. veterinary school, they receive a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD). After their coursework is completed, veterinary students must also pass a national licensing exam before they can practice veterinary medicine. Some veterinarians may pursue further education, such as an internship and residency, which may lead them to becoming a veterinary board-certified specialist.

Veterinary Colleges

Several colleges in NJ offer programs to meet the prerequisites for veterinary programs. Upon completion of prerequisites, an individual will have to travel out of state to pursue the doctor of veterinary medicine degree. Information about schools with veterinary programs can be found here.

Veterinary Education Costs

  • The interactive VIN Foundation Cost of Education map compares the tuition and total cost of attendance (tuition plus estimates of living expenses) among U.S. and Caribbean veterinary schools derived from data on school websites supplemented by input from the students attending the schools. Details provided for each U.S. and Caribbean veterinary school include: in-state tuition, out-of-state tuition, cost-of-living, NAVLE pass rate, and changes in tuition over the past decade. Regional veterinary salary ranges are as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The Cost Comparison Tool can help prospective students develop a financial plan for veterinary school.
  • The Student Loan Repayment Simulator is a tool that can be used to illustrate the potential impacts of life choices based upon your veterinary school loans. Please note that this tool is simply a simulator and not a financial advisor or calculator.
  • The I Want to Be a Veterinarian app discusses: what veterinarians do, is veterinary medicine the right choice, how long you have to go to school, and much more.