• Question: How can I become a vet or have a vetinary career?

    Asked by bury499age on 14 May 2024.
    • Photo: Rebecca Brociek

      Rebecca Brociek answered on 14 May 2024:

      What a wonderful career path!
      I wanted to be a vet until I was 20 and ended up working in a pet shop for 2 years whilst volunteering at many animal charities and a farm. I didn’t get good A levels so went to university for Biomedical Science (human science) and then worked for a few years and NOW I’m doing a PhD in animal nutrition. It was a long way around and I won’t be a vet, but I have found a career I like even more!

      First of all, I’d find out if being a vet is really for you. There are many animal-related jobs out there that you may not have heard of (google “animal careers I didn’t know existed”). Contact local dog shelters, vet surgeries, farms, zoos, rescue centres etc and see if you can volunteer your time for free. The more animals you have contact with, the more you can think about which career is right for you.

      Then, if you still love it, study as best as you can! In the UK, to become a vet you can either take A levels and go to university, or there are vocational courses such as animal management which you can use as a stepping stone to university. Entry grades are high but this is so the universities know you will be able to cope with the large amount of work from vet school. There are also lower grade boundaries at certain universities (RVC gateway programme etc). They will also want you to have a variety of work experience so have a look at each vet school and see what they ask for; it’s best to start doing this 1-2 years before applying.

      That’s all practical knowledge, but really to work with animals you need to care for and understand the needs of animals. Talk to people in the professions you find most interesting, remaining respectful and inquisitive, and opportunities will surely open for you. And if it’s something you’re passionate about, don’t give up. Good things happen to people who keep trying.