Getting started in your veterinary career

If you’ve got a passion for working with animals and enjoy learning about science, a veterinary career might be for you. To become a vet, you will need to graduate from university with a veterinary science or medicine degree. The first step on your journey to becoming a vet will be achieving good grades in relevant subjects at school or college, with the aim of being accepted into vet school. 

Entry requirements for vet schools in the UK will vary, the Veterinary Schools Council UK publishes a comprehensive guide annually to allow easy comparison between institutions. Generally, candidates will need A-Levels or Advanced Highers including science subjects such as Chemistry and Biology. These requirements will be different for each veterinary school, and it is important to consider the diverse offerings of each institution, as well as their entry requirements. 

Having experience working with animals can be an important part of your application, this could include volunteering at your local vet practice or with an animal charity. However, many institutions understand there may be barriers to taking part in work experience, offering online alternatives that will be accepted instead. Experience in customer-facing roles in shops, bars, and restaurants is a useful transferable skill that will help prepare you for dealing the client-facing aspect of the role of a veterinary surgeon. 

Role of a veterinary surgeon

Working as a Veterinary Surgeon is an enriching career with a multitude of paths that you can explore. It is a scientific profession so it’s important to enjoy research, analysis, and problem-solving. You'll be communicating with pet owners and the rest of your team as well, so having good communication skills is useful.  The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1996 defines the actions a vet can carry out including diagnosis, medical treatments and surgical operations.

Your career as a vet will include:

- Client communication and education
- Surgical operations
- Preventative healthcare such as vaccinations
- A commitment to continued learning 
- A dedication to improving the health and wellbeing of animals
- Team-work
- Diagnostics
- Medical treatment 
- Research opportunities
- Supporting public health
- Making a difference

If you’d like to learn more about what being a vet entails, understand the different career paths available, you can hear directly from our clinical teams across our global network of referral and first-opinion practices.

Applying to vet school

Vet school courses last five years (six for Cambridge University) and are quite demanding of student’s time compared to other courses.  Vet schools in the UK offer content that will generally include:

-    Lecture-based learning
-    Practical workshops
-    Practical sessions
-    Extra Mural Studies (in-person placement at vet practices and hospitals)

The Vet Schools Council has put together a helpful guide that takes you through the process of applying for vet school.

Diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession

There are a variety of initiatives in place to widen participation and increase the diversity of students going through vet school to ensure opportunities are available for all, and that no one is excluded because of their ethnic, financial or social background.

At IVC Evidensia we take pride in fostering a workplace where every individual, feels valued, happy, and comfortable. Diversity and inclusion are not just principles – they are woven into the very fabric of our workplace culture, driving positive change within the veterinary industry. Our EMS bursary is just one example of how we are working to make the vet profession a more inclusive place by removing financial barriers that may prevent vet students from gaining the experience they want.

Find out more

Already studying at university or just finished?

Whether you're studying to become a vet or have recently completed your degree, we offer EMS placements and run a Graduate Academy at a variety of practices across the UK.