Veterinary services are in more demand now than ever before. According to the American Pet Products Association, overall spending on veterinary care, food, supplies, grooming, boarding, and sitting surpassed $50 billion in 2011, an all-time high. That’s good news for veterinarians, who care for the health of pets, as well as livestock and animals in zoos, racetracks, and laboratories. Veterinary medicine is a very competitive field as there are only 28 colleges with accredited programs. These schools admitted less than half of all applicants in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) . It also requires significant training, as veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and become licensed to practice.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Veterinary Medicine
There are limited opportunities for online college degree programs in veterinary medicine, although students may be able to take select classes online. In a doctoral degree program students learn how to examine animals, diagnose and treat disease, perform surgery, and conduct laboratory tasks. Courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, zoology, microbiology, animal science, and pharmacology are common. Students may also take courses in business management and career development to learn how to effectively run a practice. In addition to classes, doctoral candidates are also usually required to undergo clinical rotations in a veterinary medical center or hospital.
Online Degree Programs in Veterinary Medicine in the Work Place
Many students in veterinary medicine programs train to work with pets, horses, or food animals, such as cows and pigs. Others may specialize in food safety and inspections, inspecting livestock and animal products and enforcing government food safety regulations, or in research, conducting clinical research on human and animal health problems. The majority of veterinarians work in the veterinary services industry, which employed 81% of workers in this occupation in 2010, according to the BLS. The remaining veterinarians were employed by colleges or universities, medical or research laboratories, or the government. A small percent (9%) were also self-employed.
Job prospects are encouraging, with employment of veterinarians expected to grow 36% from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. The growing pet population is expected to help fuel this demand as people are spending more on than pets than ever before. Advances in veterinary medicine will also increase demand for veterinary services. The BLS notes that the best opportunities will be in large animal practice, public health, and government, as well as farm animal care, since fewer veterinarians compete for work with large animals. Because most veterinary graduates go into pet care, job opportunities will be fewer in this area. In addition to demand, it’s important to keep in mind that your own job prospects will also depend on your experience and education.