Heavily concentrated in the natural sciences, a bachelor's degree program in pre-veterinary medicine provides the foundation for students to enter a 4-year graduate-level veterinary school. Veterinary professionals diagnose and treat diseased and injured animals, as well as care for healthy animals. Applicants must have a high school diploma.
Pre-Veterinary Bachelor's Degree
There are no direct prerequisites for a pre-veterinary bachelor's degree program beyond a high school diploma, but a solid science background is helpful. In addition, some experience working with animals, even as a volunteer, will be well-received on college applications. Since this is an undergraduate degree that is specifically designed to prepare graduates for veterinary school, the coursework is extremely science-intensive. In addition to basic undergraduate degree courses, students can expect to take:
- Biology/cell biology
- Anatomy, physiology, advanced physics and organic chemistry
- Microbiology and immunology
- Mammalian physiology and animal parasitology
- Vertebrate zoology
Popular Career Options
Alternate career paths in veterinary science that do not require a graduate degree might include:
- Veterinary hospital manager
- Veterinary pharmaceutical industry researcher
- Animal research technician
- Animal care technician
- Meat or poultry inspector
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
With a doctoral degree and licensure, graduates can become a veterinarian. The median annual salary for vets in May 2018 was $93,830, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau also projected that vets would see 18% growth in employment from 2018-2028, which is in the average range for all occupations.
The vast majority of graduates from these degree programs will go on to enter veterinary school and earn Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degrees. Most DVM graduates will become veterinarians in private practice.
Those interested in becoming a veterinarian should have a strong science background. Attaining a pre-veterinary bachelor's degree will qualify students to be animal care technicians, veterinary hospital managers, or work towards attaining a doctorate in veterinary medicine.