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Careers in Agriculture. Veterinarian. By: Dr. Frank Flanders and Jennie Simpson Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office Georgia Department of Education June 2005. START. What Is a Veterinarian?. Veterinarians are doctors who care for animals.

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Careers in Agriculture


By: Dr. Frank Flanders and Jennie Simpson

Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office

Georgia Department of Education

June 2005



What Is a Veterinarian?

  • Veterinarians are doctors who care for animals.
  • They treat diseased and injured animals
  • Vaccinate animals
  • Provide advice on care and breeding.
  • Vets play a major role in the healthcare of many kinds of animals.
  • They conduct research on animal health

Source: Cornelia Veterinary Hospital, Baldwin, GA


Duties of Veterinarians

  • Examine animals to diagnose diseases or treat injuries.
  • Treat sick or injured animals
  • Vaccinate animals against diseases, such as rabies and distemper.
  • Collect body samples, and feces, blood, and urine for testing
  • Operate diagnostic equipment and interpret the results.
  • Advise owners on feeding and general care necessary to promote health of animals.
  • Educate the public about zoonotic diseases.
  • Train and supervise workers who handle and care for animals.
  • Provide care to a wide range of animals or specialize in a particular species, such as horses or exotic birds.
  • Euthanize animals.

*These are some common duties of the profession. This list is not all inclusive, and duties can vary greatly within the profession.


Becoming a Veterinarian

  • Veterinarians must have a deep desire for the well being and care of animals.
  • Personal qualities include being personable, compassionate, assertive, a keen power of observation, and an inquiring mind.
  • Aptitude and interest in biological sciences is important too.
  • Need to get along with pet owners because many will form a strong bond with their pet.
  • You need excellent communication, business skills, scientific knowledge and have high ethical standards.
  • Good problem solving skills and the ability to think creatively, “outside of the box,” make a person successful in a career as a veterinarian.


  • There are 28 schools of veterinary medicine in the US, and only 43% of applicants are accepted per year.
  • 75% of students in vet school are women.
  • You need to make good grades in science, biology and math in high school.
  • Undergraduate coursework usually includes three to four years of college and is needed to be admitted to vet school.
  • Medical study is difficult and time consuming. Develop good study habits
  • Volunteer at local clinics, zoos, or humane societies to gain experience.


  • Veterinarians can work for the state or federal government, zoos, labs, research, universities, or private practice.
  • Demand is high for veterinarians in the fields of pathology, lab animal medicine, and food animal medicine.
  • Demand for veterinarians is increasing by 3% each year.
  • The salary can range from $45,000 to over $100,000 depending on location, experience, and area of vet medicine.
  • Vets in private practice can concentrate on small animals, large animals, exotics, or a mixed practice. Equine medicine is another area of private practice.


Zoonotic Disease- an animal disease that can be transmitted to humans.

Ex. Ringworm-a fungus that can be found on the skin of animals. This fungus can be transmitted to humans if they touch it!


Related Careers

  • Animal Behaviorist
  • Animal Nutritionist
  • Avian Veterinarian
  • Biological Scientist
  • Ichthyologist
  • Marine Biologist
  • Zoologist
  • Veterinary Technician

Career Resources

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

1101 Vermont Ave. NW Suite 301 Washington, DC 20005


University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine


American Veterinary Medical Association

1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100 Schaumburg, Illinois 60173-4360


American Animal Hospital Association

P.O. Box 150899 Denver, Colorado 80215-0899