Veterinary Expert Answers - Student Doctor Network Wiki

Below are some frequently asked questions that have been answered by SDN Veterinary experts.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please visit the SDN Confidential Consult forum to ask your question of our expert panel.

What job options are there for veterinarians besides taking care of pet dogs and cats?


The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges has a brief summary of different career paths taken by those who have veterinary training. You should definitely check it out:


Veterinarians can be involved in a variety of specialties, just as in human medicine (though there is typically extra training that isn't required for general practitioners). Large animal vets may interact with farmers for food or fiber (alpacas, sheep, etc). USDA veterinarians inspect meat passing through slaughterhouses and with interstate and international travel of animals. Public health is a major part of the industry, too, as many animals serve as sentinel species for zoonotic diseases.

Can I be a vet with a GED?


You should be able to. You will also need to take the prerequisite college courses as required by various vet schools.

How much does it REALLY cost to go to veterinary school?

I've seen the articles about how expensive veterinary school is. How much does it REALLY cost? What will my expenses be besides tuition, room and board?


The average debt upon graduation in 2013 according to the AVMA was $162,113. It will be higher or lower depending on which school is attended, residency status, and family support. While there are scholarships, they are usually for smaller amounts. Expenses outside of tuition, room, and board include textbooks and other school supplies including lab coats, scrubs, coveralls, dissection kits, surgery packs, notes, laptops, and so on. It is possible to minimize these costs by shopping around if the school doesn't have specific requirements. Many schools will have recommended or required textbooks on hold in the library for students to use if they cannot buy the book. At my school, I didn't buy most textbooks as the notes were usually adequate with a few exceptions such as the anatomy guide.

What are the tattoo policies at veterinary schools?

I just wanted to know if a full arm sleeve tattoo is frowned upon in the Veterinary Medical Field.


The answer is it depends. Schools tend to have a more conservative view and may look down on a full sleeve. Others won't. Same with in the field - some employers will care, others won't. Some clients will care, others won't. I usually recommend something you can cover if needed.

What should I major in to become a vet?


You can be any major and become a vet. Anything at all. It's true that there are limits with biology majors unless further education is pursued. However, you would probably still be able to teach, if that were an interest.

If you want to be a vet, being a vet tech is very different and it's pretty difficult to recoup the cost of a tech degree. Many vets will also hire vet assistants without formal training. It's a personal decision on what you want to do with your life. What is their connection with Ross? Do you want to attend Ross? What are your other vet school options?

You should major in what interests you most and go from there. There are too many options to tell you that you should do one thing only.

Can I work full time through undergrad and vet school?


Congratulations on being interested in veterinary medicine. I would first point you to the AAVMC website section for interested prospective students: . I would encourage you to start looking around and shadowing veterinarians, but not just those that take care of pets. There's a lot that veterinarians do beyond what you might see on TV or YouTube, and you need to be as informed as possible about your options to that direction, including options as a veterinary technician ( Take a good look at the profiles and the admitted student statistics; I'm not sure if taking online coursework alone is going to do it, and it is really challenging to be admitted if you don't plan ahead of time. Talk with the admissions officers at your school (among other regional vet schools you should also be looking at) as well as some prehealth advisors who might know more about the vet admissions process.