Clinical Veterinarian Training and Education Program Options

A clinical veterinarian attends to the medical needs of animals. All aspiring veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program and earn licensure before they can practice legally in the field.

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Essential Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 30 colleges in the United States that offer DVM programs accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association ( Upon completion of a bachelor's degree in pre-vet science, biology, or animal science, a student will spend four years earning their DVM, including three years of classroom instruction and one year of clinical rotations.

Clinical Veterinary Training

A DVM degree program contains multiple core courses ranging from entry-level, first-year biochemistry courses to advanced, third-year courses in clinical diagnostic procedures. A sampling of courses includes:

  • Veterinary anatomy and physiology
  • Biochemistry and epidemiology
  • Veterinary immunology and neurobiology
  • Animal nutrition
  • Veterinary pharmacology and radiology
  • Clinical pathology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Veterinarians can work in private clinics, scientific research organizations, agricultural businesses and diagnostic services. According to the BLS, there were 65,650 veterinarians employed in 2015. In May 2015, veterinarians made a median annual salary of $88,490.

Certification Options

Every U.S. state requires veterinarians to gain licensure. Each state controls its own licensing process, although all require applicants to complete a DVM degree program. Most also require aspiring veterinarians to complete a national board examination, such as the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam.

A clinical veterinarian will need to complete their undergraduate work in the appropriate field before spending four years earning their DVM. Upon earning their degree and fulfilling applicable state licensing requirements, they may then diagnose and treat animals, as well as participate in related scientific research.

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