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Veterinary Pharmacologist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

A veterinary pharmacologist requires significant formal education. Learn about the necessary degrees, job description, job duties and requirements as well as certification details to see if this is the right career for you.

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Veterinary pharmacologists work with medications to treat conditions in animals. They must complete an extensive education and be very familiar with the anatomy and physiology of various animal species.

Essential Information

Veterinary pharmacologists are experts in the use of pharmaceutical drugs used to treat diseases in animals. To become a veterinary pharmacologist, individuals must complete doctoral degree programs in veterinary medicine or pharmacology, as well as gain work experience. Employers prefer to hire candidates who are board-certified in clinical pharmacology.

Required Education A doctoral degree in veterinary medicine or pharmacology and a residency in veterinary clinical pharmacology
Licensure and Certification State license required; optional board certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% (for all veterinarians)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $88,490 (for all veterinarians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Veterinary Pharmacologist

Specializing in the treatment of animals with pharmaceutical therapy, veterinary pharmacologists may work in such varied places as animal hospitals, universities and pharmaceutical companies. In animal hospitals and clinics, they may work with veterinarians to identify the best medications and drug therapies for animal patients. At universities, they can be professors teaching the next generation of veterinary pharmacologists. In pharmaceutical companies, pharmacologists may conduct research on the efficacy of new drug treatments for animals.

Duties of a Veterinary Pharmacologist

Clinical veterinary pharmacologists may conduct rounds at animal hospitals to monitor the progress of animals under their care. They may be responsible for consulting with veterinarians in the treatment of animal patients. Veterinary pharmacologists may work with other scientists and be responsible for managing other staff members.

In an academic setting, veterinary pharmacologists prepare lectures for students, as well as write and publish articles and reports in professional journals. In addition to teaching duties, they may lead research teams and conduct clinical trials for new medications.

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Veterinary Pharmacologist Requirements

Most veterinary pharmacologist positions require either a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree or a doctorate degree in pharmacology. For some positions working in industry, a degree in veterinary science may be acceptable. Additionally, according to June 2011 job postings on the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology job boards, employers require significant research training such as that gained through a residency in veterinary clinical pharmacology.

Certification

Employers prefer candidates with board certification in clinical pharmacology. The American Board of Clinical Pharmacology, Inc. (ABCP) certifies pharmacologists who have met the requirements, which includes holding a doctoral degree, possessing a certain amount of work and teaching experience and passing a written examination (www.abcp.net).

Career Info

Veterinarians, including those who specialize in pharmacology, are predicted to see a 9% increase in job opportunities from 2014 to 2024, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that veterinarians earned a median annual wage of $88,490 in May 2015. Those working in scientific research and development earned considerably more with average salaries of $128,530 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Veterinarian pharmacologists may be trained as veterinarians or in pharmacology and have completed a residency in veterinary pharmacology. They must possess a doctoral degree and are usually required to be certified by the American Board of Clinical Pharmacology.

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