The Educational Path to Becoming a Veterinarian

It can be very confusing for high school students and their parents to figure out how to begin the process of preparing for a veterinary medical career. Many students decide early on that they want to be a veterinarian. But just how do you become a veterinarian?

Step 1

Gain admission into a pre-veterinary program at an university/college of your choice.

Preparation begins in high school. Certain high school courses are required for admission to any college/university. You will also be required to take the SAT or ACT and obtain scores that meet admissions requirements. During your senior year in high school, you submit applications for admissions to the colleges/universities you are considering with all the necessary supporting documentation. Some institutions require you declare a major immediately while others may offer a general studies program without requiring you declare a major until a year or two down the road.

While you wish to become a veterinarian, not everyone will. You need to choose your college major based upon career options in which you would be happy if veterinary medicine does not work out for you. In other words, what is your back-up plan? Everyone need to have a back-up plan.

Most students on the Purdue campus enter either the College of Science in a biology major or the College of Agriculture in an animal science, wildlife science, or biochemistry major to name a few. Advisors in these colleges can discuss your career interests and provide information, guidance and direction to assist you with your choices during your undergraduate years. Your academic advisor will assist you in enrolling in courses that will be required by both your undergraduate major but also to meet the course requirements necessary for entry into veterinary school. It will take 2-3 years to complete these courses. 

Step 2

Once you have met the course requirements for veterinary medicine, you will engage in a lengthier and more involved application process to be considered for admission into the professional Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program.

This web-based application is handled by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)

Requirements for submitting your application involve submitting all academic transcripts, supplying a minimum of three electronic letters of recommendations (recommend one being a veterinarian), and answering essays questions within the application. Check out our  admissions requirements for more up-to-date information.

If you are a successful applicant in the initial stages of the admission process, then you will be invited to interview with our admissions committee. The committee will make final decisions on your admissibility once all interviews are completed.

If you are successful in gaining admission, this 4-year program prepares you for an exciting and rewarding life-long career.