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Qualifications you’ll need to become a vet

Vet Kate Hornby at the Grove Veterinary Centre in Barrow-in-Furness.

Vet Kate Hornby at the Grove Veterinary Centre in Barrow-in-Furness.

FOLLOWING on from last week’s article I thought I would go through the basic requirements of becoming a vet as I know a lot of people have just received their A-Level or GCSE results and picking the right career can be a very difficult and daunting prospect.

To train to be a veterinary surgeon you will need to go to university and take a veterinary degree.

The universities in the UK offering veterinary degrees approved by the RCVS are Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London (the Royal Veterinary College) and Nottingham.

The degree courses are five years in length (six years at some schools). There are also a number of overseas degrees which are approved by RCVS: in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The requirements to get into vet school vary slightly between the universities.

As a general rule, biology must usually be offered at A-Level.

The requirement for other subjects varies a little from university to university, but either one or two subjects from chemistry, physics or mathematics should be offered.

Some universities may accept a third A-Level in a non-science subject, but it must be an academically sound subject.

The minimum grades generally expected are two As and a B, though some schools will require three grade As.

As well as A-Levels, most universities require you to have at least a grade C pass in English language, mathematics and science, and many will expect A grades at GCSE.

Where A-Level biology or physics is not offered, you must have a good pass in that subject at GCSE level.

Work in the veterinary profession is highly rewarding, but also very demanding.

Every veterinary surgeon has an obligation to deal with emergencies in any species at any time.

Anyone contemplating a career in veterinary practice should remember that it is a 24-hour service, 365 days a year.
Once graduated there are a variety of career opportunities.

The majority of vets graduating will enter into general practice, this can range from treating small animals, horses or farm animals, and sometimes a mixture.

Some vets then go on to develop special interests and will become specialists in a certain area eg orthopaedic vets or cardiologists.

There can also be career opportunities in meat inspection, research, government service or teaching.

For more detailed information on becoming a vet visit the RCVS website.

The individual university websites will also contain more detailed information on the specific entry requirements.

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