The Veterinary Medicine Profession

A veterinarian is a physician who treats animals. Besides diagnosing, treating animal health problems, and performing surgeries, many veterinarians also choose to specialize in a clinical field of veterinary medicine.

A veterinary degree awarded within the United States is referred to as a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) or VMD (Veterinary Medical Doctor). A veterinary degree awarded in the British Commonwealth, for example, England, is known as BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Science).

According to the United States Department of Labor, around 80% of all veterinarians are currently in private practice. However, veterinarians are also employed by universities, government agencies, industries, businesses, and the military in a wide variety of careers. In 2018, the AAVMC shared that the median salary for all veterinarians was $93,830. In 2015, it was revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the veterinary profession is projected to grow 9% from 2014-2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations. For more information go to:

Many other career options exist if an applicant decides that veterinary school is not for them. For example, some may choose to attend graduate school or medical school instead.  Others may instead earn a veterinary technician degree.  Others become animal trainers, behaviorists, as well as many other non-animal-related careers. Explore our Alternate Careers page for more information on other animal-related careers.

Veterinarians can work in a variety of other areas such as large animal or food animal medicine, avian medicine, or exotic/wildlife medicine. Some veterinarians also work in areas that focus strongly on public health, research, or education. Veterinarians can be government officials who help create laws concerning human-animal interaction, or they can be members of the military. If you would like to know more about these career options please visit the AAVMC website using the follow link: