After Graduation Careers in Veterinary Medicine

Careers in Veterinary Medicine

Small animal practice

Explore the challenges of medicine and the rewards of working with small animals, from family pets to working dogs. Today’s small animal veterinarian serves as “the other family doctor.” Advancements in training, preventive medicine, diagnostics and treatments have created better animal health care than ever before. Some career options include:

  • General private practice
  • Emergency medicine
  • Specialty practice, requiring post-DVM advanced training through internship, residency, and board certification by veterinary specialty organization
  • Teaching and research

Food animal practice

Did you know that food animal veterinarians are in high demand? There is a shortage of these professionals who play a crucial role in protecting the safety of our food supply and biosecurity of our country. Additionally, there are several national programs offering student loan debt forgiveness to assist veterinarians who pursue this career path and practice in underserved areas. Career options include:

  • Private practice & consultation
  • Specialty practice, requiring post-DVM advanced training through internship, residency, and board certification by veterinary specialty organization
  • Teaching and research
  • Regulatory medicine
  • Food safety and public health

Equine practice

Explore the challenges of medicine and the rewards of working with horses and the people who share your passion for them. A career in equine medicine is exciting and offers opportunities to work with a wide variety of breeds and disciplines, from equine athletes to family pets. Some career options include:

  • Private practice
  • Specialty practice, requiring post-DVM advanced training through internship, residency, and board certification by veterinary specialty organization
  • Teaching and research
  • Regulatory medicine

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Shelter medicine

Due to the increasing number of shelters in the United States and the rise of "no kill" shelters, there is an increased demand for veterinary services and new positions for shelter veterinarians. In response to the demand, shelter medicine has become established as a rapidly growing and newly recognized veterinary specialty area.

Federal and state government service

Veterinarians play important roles in a wide variety of areas in the public sector. Some examples of agencies and veterinary service options include:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Track down and control important diseases in livestock, respond to emergencies involving foreign animal diseases, and evaluate new vaccines for the prevention of disease in livestock and companion animals.
  • Food and Drug Administration - Evaluate new animal drugs for safety and effectiveness, monitor the safety of drugs currently in the marketplace, respond to human foodborne outbreaks and track down the source of contamination and contain further spread of disease.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Work side-by-side with physicians, research scientists, and statisticians to investigate and contain the spread of diseases in humans, most of which are zoonotic.
  • Department of Homeland Security - Work to prevent acts of agroterrorism that could destroy an industry and cripple the U.S. economy, assist in disaster relief efforts by evacuating livestock and companion animals and reuniting them with their owners.
  • Military service - Provide medical and surgical care for working animals including marine mammals, care for pets of military personnel, play active role in food safety and defense, biomedical research and development, and provide military veterinary expertise in response to natural disasters and other emergencies.
  • State and local government - Serve many of the same functions as federal counterparts, but at the local level, oversee animal health at the state and local level, serve as first responders to disease outbreak or natural disaster, oversee state and local rabies and other zoonotic disease prevention and control programs, coordinate State Animal Response Teams which are vital to disaster relief efforts.

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Private industry

Private sector veterinarians serve in a wide variety of roles, such as technical services specialists for veterinary product manufacturers and managers for product production, quality assurance, research, field trials, marketing, sales, and general administration. Some of the industries that routinely employ veterinarians include:

  • Pharmaceutical/vaccine industry
  • Pet and livestock food manufacturing and nutrition industries
  • Trade associations and organized veterinary medicine
  • Consulting firms
  • Contract research organizations
  • Diagnostic laboratories
  • Corporate veterinary hospital management

Biomedical research

Veterinarians conducting biomedical research seek better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases in animals and humans. Broad training in the biomedical sciences prepares veterinarians for opportunities in areas such as:

  • Translational medical research
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Public health
  • Veterinary pathology
  • Food animal medicine
  • Laboratory animal medicine

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Zoo and wildlife medicine

Explore the challenges and enjoy the rewards of practicing zoo or wildlife conservation medicine in this relatively small and highly competitive field. Some career options include:

  • Clinical zoo/wildlife medicine at a private or public zoo, aquarium, or preserve
  • Wildlife medicine for a state or federal agency
  • Conservation medicine or work with a non-governmental organization (NGO)
  • Teaching and research

 

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