Resources For Aspiring Vets

How to Become a Veterinarian: The Complete Guide

What is a Veterinarian?

At their foundation, a veterinarian is a person who is driven by a passion - a passion to help animals.

This core passion drives them from an early age to learn all they can about the science of animals and spend every free moment working around and caring for members of the animal kingdom.


Sound like you? Then you have the what you’ll need to be successful. You’ll have the drive to keep exploring your dream and expanding your understanding of animals no matter what barriers you face. What you need now is advice and guidance on where you should direct your energy. You want to understand what you need to do today so that you can become a veterinarian in the future. Keep reading and watch the videos below.

What do Veterinarians Do?

In the United States alone the are over 100,000 veterinarians.

Many of these veterinarians perform roles that you would expect: working in a hospital to care for companion animals, driving from farm to farm to provided medical care to horses, or working as critical care veterinarians in emergency hospitals. Yes, veterinarians do all of these things – and more. Veterinarians are health care professionals that protect and provide for the health of animals and humans in so many ways.

Aquatic Veterinarian Beluga Whale Web

There are veterinarians involved in pharmaceutical research, veterinarians running non-profit organizations, state veterinarians protecting the health of both humans and animals, veterinarians providing healthcare to the working dogs who keep our country safe, veterinarians working to insure the food we eat is safe, veterinarians working to protect us from infectious diseases, veterinarians working to rescue sea turtles, veterinarians working in wildlife medicine and veterinarians working at zoos.

The truth is, a veterinary degree opens up a world of opportunities - if you are bold enough and determined enough to explore them. So keep on reading to explore what you have in common with veterinarians practicing today and what you can do right now to start exploring your dream of becoming a veterinarian.

You're In Good Company

Most veterinarians decided they wanted to become animal doctors before they were 13 years old!

Veterinary medicine is a calling that starts early in life. For most veterinarians practicing today, the desire to become a veterinarian started when they were very young. If you want to become a veterinarian, we understand just how you feel! We know how badly you want to get animal experience, work with animals, and volunteer wherever you can to help out. We have created this page to help you get started and avoid the barriers that most future veterinarians like yourself face.

Are you just starting out on your journey to become a vet or are you looking for advice from veterinarians? We can evaluate where you are and give you recommendations on what you should do to get closer to your dream of becoming a veterinarian. The Become a Veterinarian Quiz is a great way to get custom advice based on your age, experiences and interests. This quiz was developed by veterinarians to help you continue on in the right direction.

Start with the Family Pet

If you want to become a veterinarian, getting animal experience is important. The best place to start is in the home.

Veterinarians are caring, be responsible, and observant. Taking care of your pets at home is one of the best ways for you to develop these same qualities and more. See if you can be the one that feeds them, brushes them, and takes them on walks. As you develop your animal care skills, you can grow your experiences by caring for the pets of your neighbors and maybe even pet sitting for them. Don’t have pets at home? Take a look at the other sections and videos on this page to find out how you can get the animal experience you need.

Want to know more on this? Get the Vet Set Go book. It is our complete guide becoming a veterinarian for tween and teen aspiring veterinarians. It goes through caring for your own pet and shares stories from other future veterinarians who have started out this same way.

Foster a Pet

Do you want to volunteer in a shelter but are constantly being told you are too young? We have the solution for you.

Fostering is the perfect option for any person who wants to become a veterinarian but has been told time and time again that they are too young to work with animals in the shelter facility. With fostering, you and your family take care of shelter animals in your home. Often these are kittens and puppies who are too young to adopt out. They can also be dogs and cats that are recovering from an illness or surgery. You are responsible for the care, feeding, exercise, and socialization of the animals under your care until they can be adopted out to a forever home.

Fostering is a great way to further your animal experience. You’ll get experience with younger kittens and puppies and caring for injured and recovering animals. You’ll also have the opportunity to work with different of types animals and see how animals of different ages and breeds behave. Fostering helps you gain many unique and valuable experience but there are so many other benefits

Fostering allows you to impact the life of individual animals. You can be the one that shows them love, socializes them, gives them good nutrition, and helps them get ready for adoption. It can be a great way for you to change and animal’s life!

Are you just starting out on your journey to become a vet or are you looking for advice on what you should be doing next? We can evaluate where you are and give you recommendations on what you should do to get closer to your dream of becoming a veterinarian. The Become a Veterinarian Quiz is a great way to get custom advice based on your age, experiences, and interests. This quiz was developed by veterinarians to help you continue on in the right direction.

Do You Want to Go Camping?

One of the best ways to get your first animal experience out of the home is to enroll in a Zoo or veterinary camp

Zoo and veterinary camps have become more and more popular over the past decade because they are safe and easy ways for aspiring veterinarians to get experience with animals outside the home. Zoo camps allow future veterinarians to go behind the scenes to places were regular visitors aren’t allowed and get close-up views of the animals in their habitats. Zoo camps let aspiring veterinarians touch and hold exotic animals while learning directly from zoo keepers about the animal’s behavior and diet.

If you want to become a veterinarian, veterinary camps are a dream come true. Offered at various veterinary colleges throughout the country, veterinary camps allow aspiring veterinarians to explore veterinary medicine and learn more about the science of animals. Veterinary campers do things that are typically done in veterinary school like gown and glove for surgery, learn how to suture, and learn how to do a physical exam on a patient.

How much animal experience do you have? Is it enough? We can evaluate your level of veterinary and animal experience and show you where you are compared to other aspiring veterinarians who are the same age as you. We then will give you specific recommendations on what . what you should do next to raise your experience levels. The Become a Veterinarian Quiz is a great way to see where you are and get custom advice based on your age, experiences, and interests. This quiz was developed by veterinarians to help you continue on in the right direction.

Shadow a Veterinarian

The best way to understand veterinary medicine is to spend a day with a veterinarian and see what their day is like.

When you shadow a veterinarian, you follow them through their day and see exactly what it is like. It is the best way to explore veterinary medicine and learn what different types of veterinarians do each day.

Shadowing can will let you see what it is like to go into an exam room, what veterinarians discuss with their clients, how they perform a physical exam and what tests they run. You may even be fortunate enough to watch them take radiographs, perform dentals or even follow them as they go into surgeries. It is a great way to learn that every day is different for a veterinarian and if you are a practicing animal doctor you need to be ready for everything that comes your way.

To get started, you need to first decide the type of veterinarian you want to shadow. Are you a horse crazy girl who only dreams about caring for horses? Do you have snakes or bearded dragons at home and you want to follow a veterinarian who cares for reptiles? Or are you a beach lover who wants to shadow veterinarians who care for sea turtles and/or dolphins? Once you have made that decision, you’ll need to locate the veterinarians in your area who practice those specialties.

Do you want to learn everything you need to know in order to shadow a veterinarian? The Vet Set Go book gives you step-by-step instructions on how to find a veterinary hospital in your area that will let you shadow. It gives you example letters/messages to send when you first contact the veterinary clinic, it tells you what to wear when you are going, how to behave the day of your visit and what you should do after your shadowing day is complete. It is a comprehensive guide to getting your first veterinary shadowing experience.

Skills for Becoming a Vet

The videos on this page provide you with some great ideas on things you can do to explore your dream of becoming a veterinarian.

These activities will help you develop the skills you need to become a veterinarian. You’ll learn how to become the person responsible for the feeding, grooming and training of an animal. You’ll learn how to observe and evaluate animal behavior. You’ll begin to understand basics of animal science. You’ll develop coordination and physical skills necessary to performing tasks like tying a harness for a large animal and/or holding a feline patient during an exam. You’ll observe medical procedures and begin to understand the diagnostic tests veterinarians perform. All of these skills you will develop if you start volunteering today.

Steps to Becoming a Vet

If you read this far, you probably have what you need to become a veterinarian.

You have the passion for animals and the drive to do everything you can to explore your dream. The only thing you need to do now is get out there and start on your journey. Learn about veterinarians, explore the science of animals, get all of the animal husbandry experience you can, and start connecting with other future veterinarians like yourself.

Don’t know exactly where to begin? Then take the Become a Veterinarian Quiz and get customized advice base on your education and experience. You will not find better advice unless you have a veterinarian available to personally mentor you.


If you are looking for specific advice, read the articles in this website like A Roadmap for Getting Into Veterinary School. These articles are filled with specific things you should consider. Still remember, every aspiring veterinarian's journey is different. It is a long road from wanting to be a veterinarian to getting accepted into a veterinary college. You will experience many twists and turns and maybe even encounter a few obstacles.

So what you need to remember most is to stay true to your passion. Stay determined, and stay connected. Build a connection to other future veterinarians both at home and here at Vet Set Go. It will help you to be part of a community of support as you take your journey.

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