Undergraduate Majors for Aspiring Veterinarians: Info & Options

Oct 12, 2019

Aspiring veterinarians may enroll in a bachelor's degree program in veterinary technology, veterinary science or animal science. These programs often meet the prerequisites needed to enter a doctor of veterinary medicine.

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Essential Information

Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology, Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Science, and Bachelor of Science in Animal Science are common programs. Bachelor's programs typically take 4 years to complete. These programs require the study of topics such as animal nutrition, genetics and microbiology. They generally include practical components and internships, and some aspects of the programs may take place in research laboratories. Programs generally focus on core principles based in biology, chemistry, genetics and other related scientific fields. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission in to a program. Other admission requirements may include submitting standardized test scores.


Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology

A student may earn a degree in veterinary technology as preparation for entry into veterinarian school. Most veterinary programs require that candidates complete specific courses prior to admission such as general biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, comparative anatomy, nutrition and genetics. A bachelor's in veterinary technology may be offered with a concentration in pre-vet medicine. This baccalaureate program is composed of classes that provide an overview of theoretical and practical aspects of veterinary technology and their applications in a variety of veterinary facilities and animal care and research settings. Following are some possible subjects covered in the curriculum:

  • Introduction to veterinary science
  • Safety and regulatory compliance
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Pharmacology and toxicology
  • Physiology for veterinary technologists

Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Science

Candidates are provided with an overview of animal welfare and animal health and their application in diverse fields, such as research and product development. Classes in this program generally concentrate on clinical medicine, laboratory animal medicine and pre-veterinary studies. Students are obliged to complete an internship in a clinical or research setting to complete the degree requirements. Subjects covered in this curriculum may include:

  • Clinical pathology
  • Animal nutrition
  • Principles of physics
  • Genetics
  • Human and animal interrelationships

Bachelor of Science in Animal Science

Students in this baccalaureate program examine the physiology and anatomical makeup of domestic animals, including dogs, cats, horses, cattle and livestock. Graduates are generally qualified to seek positions in pharmaceutical research and feed companies or to continue their education to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Students gain hands-on experience with domestic mammals in a variety of settings, including animal hospitals, farms and research laboratories. Possible subjects in this curriculum include:

  • Anatomy of domestic animals
  • Microbiology
  • Livestock evaluation
  • Animal feeding and nutrition
  • Organic chemistry

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) estimated that employment of veterinarians will increase 18% over the 2018-2028 decade. The BLS reported in 2018 that veterinarians earned a yearly median salary of $93,830.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is available in on-campus and online formats for practicing veterinarians as well as veterinary technicians, animal scientists and specialists. Courses, accredited by the AVMA, cover a variety of current veterinary topics, including:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Clinical pathology
  • Surgical solutions
  • Dermatology
  • Veterinary medical records

Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology, Veterinary Science, and Animal Science are all common undergraduate degrees that provide aspiring veterinarians with a foundation of coursework, research, and hands-on experience in biology, chemistry, and genetics. Many graduates seek positions in pharmaceuticals or feed companies or go on to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.

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