Inside Veterinarian Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Emotions Playing An Effective Role In Job Performance...
I went through school fairly certain that I could emotionally separate myself enough in order to do an effective job. Afterwards I could get emotional and be thankful if I assisted in saving an animal's life. Since I began working in my career I've been unable to separate my emotions like I thought I would be able to but rather than have that become a problem for me in the workplace it has helped me do a better job." (Vet Tech; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Veterinary Technician at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Too Many Veterinarians...
I was surprised at how difficult it is to get a job working at a small animal practice or even at the humane society. It seems like there are a lot of people going into small-animal practice these days so there is a supply-demand issue." (Veterinarian; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University in Washington; completed Professional degree in 2012

"I Was Shocked To Learn How Little Animal Welfare Workers Make Annually...
Most would be surprised to learn how low the pay is and how little room for advancement there is. Especially if one chooses to work in the non-profit sector, there is very little room for career advancement, increase in wages, or even fair living wages despite exceeding goals and having a wealth of accomplishments." (Programming Director; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Psychology at North Central College in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 1999

"Low Pay, Long Hours, Dedicated Workers...
I'm surprised most by the amount of work and long hours involved, for very little pay or hope of advancement. And despite those factors, it is a rapidly growing field with an incredibly dedicated pool of workers. I do find that it is a short-lived profession though. The pool of workers is mostly female, and many leave or cut back their hours after having children. Most technicians that I know over 30 are only able to stay in the field because they are part of a two-income household." (Veterinary Technician; 2014)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: Studied Veterinary Sciences at Purdue in Indiana; completed Certificate degree in 2009

"It Was A Wake Up Call To Learn How Physically Demanding My Work I...
all the work involved with caring for my animals. physically demanding work in all weather conditions" (Organic Goat And Chicken Farmer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Montana, female
School: Studied Environmental Sociology at University Of Montana in Montana; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

"Inhumane Treatment Of Pets...
I was surprised by the sheer amount of neglect some people had for their animals. I had previously thought that most people would treat their animals in a humane way, I soon found this to be untrue ." (Veterinarian; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Veterinary Medicine at University Of Florida in Florida; completed Master degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Veterinarian: "Best part: Getting to see an animal get better when they came in really sick. It's nice to know that you were able to DO something and change that animal's life. It's also nice to see a happy owner reunited with their friend. Worst part: Euthanasia (putting a pet to sleep), or when a pet dies despite all of your help. It's awful when you can't save a life, even when you tried everything possible to make it better." (2011)

Veterinarian: "The best part of the job is meeting new people and bonding with them and their pets. The worst part of the job is dealing with difficult people and euthanasia. Clients can be your biggest joy and your biggest pain. It's not all about the animals, sadly; dealing with people is an integral part of the job." (2010)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Job Shadow - Know What You're Getting Into...
Absolutely take the time to job shadow or volunteer at multiple hospitals before choosing this field (or before graduation). It's not for everyone. But also, the culture and type of work varies so much between hospitals, you may have to search a little to find your right fit. Don't give up, it's incredibly rewarding work!" (Veterinary Technician; 2014)

"Your Emotions Are An Asset...
If you want to be a successful veterinary technician you should understand that your passion for animals can be used as an asset, care enough about the animal's well being in order to drive you to be perceptive, anticipate the animal's as well as their adoptive "parents" needs, and suggest the best treatment for the animal." (Vet Tech; 2014)

"Full Time Job, All Hours All Weather Conditions...
Be prepared to work in all weather conditions. Be prepared to work from sun up until sun down everyday." (Organic Goat And Chicken Farmer; 2014)

"Want To Be A Vet? Go Big...
I'd advise young women especially who want to go into veterinary medicine, to consider specializing in the large animal (rather than the small animal) field." (Veterinarian; 2014)

"Remaining Financially Viable In Shelter Medicine...
If you would like to work in animal welfare in the non-profit sector, I would strongly recommend working with organizations with large fiscal budgets and those who emphasize shelter medicine. I would also recommend staying in private practice to support yourself and volunteering to help the community, instead of working for a non-profit." (Programming Director; 2013)

"Volunteer And Observe...
Study! In high school or before college, it's important to learn about about veterinary medicine. Take lots of science classes and get involved. Get lots of experience! Start simple, like volunteering at a humane society, or shadowing in a clinic. You can get a feel for the job by observing surgeries and more involved procedures. It's the best way to find out if it's for you! If you don't understand something that you're seeing or learning, stop and ask! That way you'll be able to better understand the WHY behind the task, and not just the HOW." (Veterinarian; 2011)

"Not All Puppies And Kittens...
Get lots of experience to make sure this is really what you want, and be sure you're aware that it isn't all puppies and kittens. Still, while it can be time-consuming and exasperating, but the rewards are great. Good grades are a must as vet schools are very competitive. I would recommend diversifying your experience by working with large animal vets, working with small animals etc." (Veterinarian; 2010)