What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Teacher – Any job where you work with and help animals can be extremely rewarding. We are always proud of the staff at our Pet Hospitals as they work hard to save the lives of so many pets.
A career as a vet is very rewarding but you will need to be dedicated. It will require dedication and a lot of hard study. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how old you are or what stage you’re at in your life – you can choose to change career paths at any age as long as you have the passion and drive!
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If you’re considering becoming a vet, it’s always good to know what’s coming, right? Well, not all vets actually do the same thing. You may find that you have a particular interest in a particular area of veterinary work and choose to do so, or you may think that you will enjoy the variety of a mixed job in general practice.
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If you are considering it as a career option, the best thing to do would be to shadow a vet who does the type of work you are interested in before you make any decisions, to see what the job entails edit and make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy doing.
At vet school, you will be taught to treat all types of animals. After they graduate, some vets continue to work with a mix of animals, seeing a variety of farm animals to pets to horses in one day.
However, many vets also choose to move into one area of practice to treat a specific type of animal. Small animal vets – like those who work in our Pet Hospitals – work with pets. They assess, diagnose and treat people’s sick cats and dogs and operate on them. Some vets may only work day shifts, others may only work emergency night shifts and some may do both on a rota.
Other vets may find work only with farm animals. They do many of the same things, just on very different animals! This job involves a lot of farm visits, driving around the countryside, and may involve working unsociable hours to cover emergencies at night. Vets who work with farm animals play an important role during the calving season in helping the farmers bring in new cows and also give them help and advice on how to look after their animals in the best possible way by creating plans management to help them throughout the year.
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Equine veterinarians treat horses. They care for much larger pets and use their knowledge to diagnose and treat horses. You may also find vets who prefer to treat more unique pets (called “exotics” by vets), such as small pets, birds or reptiles, or those with an interest in wildlife or zoo animals. .
To work in any of the above types of general practice, a veterinary degree is usually sufficient. However, if you think you might want to work as a specialist in a veterinary referral hospital (as a human Consultant), you may need to do further study after your veterinary degree.
There are also plenty of other jobs that vets can do that may not involve handling animals on a day-to-day basis. This includes working for the government to ensure that animal products are safe to eat, working for a laboratory to make sure the welfare of the animals is there, or working for animal welfare charities on policy, campaigns or public education. Some of these may require experience or other education backgrounds, so check the job requirements for the type of work you are interested in.
Something every vet needs, along with a passion for helping animals, is the ability to communicate with people. As a vet you will need to talk to owners or other people who care for animals throughout your career, so you need to be patient and understanding. You will need to be prepared to deal with many people in different situations – some happy, some sad, some frustrated or angry – and often all in the same day!
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As a vet, you may also need to deal with some situations that may be difficult for you morally. For example, putting animals to sleep can be very emotional, but it is an important part of the job as some animals cannot be saved and sometimes this is what is best for them. So make sure you think about whether this is something you could do and try to go in with realistic expectations of what the job entails before deciding to become a vet.
The first question you might ask yourself after deciding to become a vet is probably ‘how do I get into vet school?’
To register with the Royal College of Veterinarians and practice as a vet, you will need a degree in veterinary medicine from an accredited university. These courses are usually very competitive and academically challenging so they have some of the highest entry requirements. Some universities may have different entry requirements for students under certain circumstances.
There are a few qualification routes you can follow to meet the entry requirements for admission to a degree course that will allow you to become a vet:
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A Level (or A&A in Scotland) is the most common route to university. You also need to have achieved good results in a range of subjects including the sciences for your GCSE (or National 5 in Scotland).
It is better to look at websites or university prospectuses, or have a discussion with the admissions officers to get a better understanding of what is expected.
You’ll need to check with the university you intend to study at for entry requirements, but a standard offer usually requires you to get high marks in three A-level subjects, including Biology and one or two of other science related subjects. . For Scottish Highers, it again varies by university but usually you need to have achieved exceptional grades in five Higher levels including Chemistry and Biology and another science, as well as at least two A levels with high grades (such as practice in Biology and Chemistry).
Access to Higher Education (HE) is a great way for over 19s to gain the qualifications needed to progress to a degree. These courses are usually fairly flexible (so you continue to work if you need to) and many colleges offer them.
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The HE Access qualifications are Diploma. Most universities will expect excellence and a heavy focus on science subjects. Not all vet schools accept HE Admissions, so make sure you check the entry requirements first and call the admissions office if you’re not sure.
You can get loans to cover the costs, with some colleges even writing off the cost of your HE Access diploma if you go on to successfully complete a degree course. Check your college’s website to see the funding options available.
Some universities will accept BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma qualifications in a subject such as Applied Science or Animal Management (if there is a strong science focus). You will be expected to complete these mainly with distinctions and may have to complete additional A Levels alongside your BTEC course, depending on your previous qualifications and university requirements.
The advantage of a BTEC is that it will involve a lot of practical work, however this may not count towards any experience of university entry requirements.
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Many vet schools will accept a degree in another subject to meet the entry requirement. Historically this would have been in a science-related subject, although some universities now offer career change programs meaning that graduates of any subject can apply. An Honors degree with a minimum of 2:1 will normally be required although this will vary by university.
Make sure you find out what fees and other costs may apply to you as government student loans may not be available if you are doing a veterinary degree as a second degree.
The more animal related experience you have before applying for a veterinary degree the better! You will need this experience on top of your qualifications before applying.
You can contact your local veterinary surgeries to see if they can accommodate you. You may find yourself working on more than one, but this will be good in the long run as it helps build a variety of experience.
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Most will ask for significant experience of volunteering in a veterinary practice, but many universities will expect even more. Ideally, along with experience within a veterinary setting, you should also demonstrate that you have a lot of: experience of working with animals in general. This could be work, sheltering or voluntary placements in cats, kennels, a rehoming centre, farm, stables or any other relevant experience (e.g. in a zoo or wildlife park). Look around your local area to see what kinds of animal experiences you might have – it never hurts to ask!
Once you have your qualifications, you will be ready to progress to your degree. These are usually five year courses. Other courses offer the choice of a pre-vet foundation year for students with alternative entry requirements, or interpolation
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