COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will continue our "Enroll with Confidence" refund policies. For full details, please click here.


Programs in Veterinary Medicine instruct students in a range of scientific disciplines related to health and disease control in animals. In addition to teaching foundational classes in medical topics, vet programs train students in the clinical skills needed to diagnose and treat illness in animals. Students primarily learn these skills during the second two years of training, when they do clinical rotations in an affiliated veterinary medical teaching hospital. Some schools also maintain an affiliated wildlife care clinic or ambulatory clinic for emergency medicine.

Programs vary in their strengths and specialties. Some focus on wildlife conservation or companion animal health, while others have programs in food animal health or laboratory animal health. Some programs also focus more heavily on animal research, aquatic medicine, environmental medicine, and surgery. In addition to the school's general focus, some schools offer unique specialized programs in subjects such as Equine Sports Medicine or Animals and Public Policy.

Degree Information

The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) takes four years to complete at an accredited school of veterinary medicine. Some schools also offer the joint D.V.M./Ph.D. in Biomedical Science, for students who wish to conduct academic research on animal science, or the D.V.M./M.S. in Science of Animals and Public Policy and D.V.M./M.P.H. (Masters in Public Health).

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program

For answers and additional information about Veterinary Medicine programs, please look at the information provided by St. George's University.

Career Overview

Veterinarians care for livestock, pets, and sporting and laboratory animals. Veterinarians diagnose medical problems, attend to wounds, set broken bones, perform surgeries, prescribe medicine, and vaccinate animals against disease. They also advise owners on care and breeding.

Most veterinarians are in private practice, treating small companion animals like dogs, cats, and birds, and advising owners on their health, breeding, and general care. Some treat larger animals, such as cattle, horses, sheep, and swine. They also advise ranchers on the care, breeding, and management of livestock.

While the majority of vets care for household pets, there are many other professional roles for veterinarians. Vets work in research, food safety programs, or public education. For example, some vets work as livestock inspectors, checking for disease in animals and advising owners on their treatment. Others specialize in epidemiology or animal pathology in attempt to control diseases transmitted through food animals and to manage problems of residues from herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics in animals used for food. Some veterinarians care for zoo or aquarium animals, for laboratory animals, or in wildlife protection, research, and care.

Career/Licensing Requirements

To obtain a license, applicants must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree from an accredited college of veterinary medicine and pass a state board examination.

Salary Information

New graduates can expect to make between $40-45,000, but this salary will increase with experience and practice area.

Related Links

Association of American Veterinary Colleges
The Association of American Veterinary Colleges coordinates the affairs of 28 U.S. and 4 Canadian veterinary schools.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA)
The AMVA is a nonprofit association of veterinarians. The organization publishes a variety of periodicals on animal health and offers an online resource center for vets. The AMVA Career Center lists hundreds of jobs for veterinarians in the United States.

American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB)
The AAVSB is the association of governmental agencies that regulate veterinary medicine and practice.


  • Veterinary Anatomy

  • Anesthesiology

  • Animal Production

  • Animal Welfare And Behavior

  • Avian And Fish Diseases

  • Clinical Pathology

  • Diagnostic Imaging

  • Large Animal Medicine

  • Large Animal Surgery

  • Small Animal Medicine

  • Small Animal Surgery

  • Veterinary Embryology

  • Veterinary Histology

  • Veterinary Immunology

  • Veterinary Pathology

  • Veterinary Pharmacology/Toxicology

  • Veterinary Physiology

  • Veterinary Virology