Get 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 sixth form or college, with the aim of being accepted into vet school.

To be accepted into vet school, candidates are usually required to have achieved high scores in 3 A levels or 5 Highers. The most common combinations are Chemistry, Biology and another subject such as Physics, Maths or Economics.

Most successful veterinary surgeon candidates will have undertaken some relevant work experience. Having experience in customer facing roles in shops, bars, and restaurants is a useful transferable skill that will help prepare you for dealing with clients.

Role of a veterinary surgeon

Working as a Veterinary Surgeon is an enriching career with a multitude of career 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 the owners of your patient and the rest of your team as well, so having good communication skills is useful.

As a vet, you’ll get to work on a real variety of cases, treating different animals every day. You can work in first-opinion practice, where you'll offer preventative health care, as well as surgeries such as spaying and neutering, and handling some emergencies. Or, you may choose to become a referral vet, with a focus on a particular discipline such as orthopaedics, cardiology, or diagnostic imaging. You may be a small animal vet or a large animal vet. The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1996 defines the actions a vet can carry out including; diagnosis, medical treatments and surgical operations. 

Being a vet means you can continually learn and develop in your job, it's a truly exciting career path with so many different areas to choose from once you qualify.

Applying to vet school

Vet school courses last 5 years (6 for Cambridge) and are quite demanding of student’s time compared to other courses.

The application process varies depending on which university you’re applying to. Different institutions will ask for different academic qualifications and work experience.

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

Vet schools in the UK include:

Royal Veterinary College, London, University of Cambridge, University of Liverpool

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow

University of Bristol, University of Nottingham, University of Surrey, Harper and Keele Veterinary School

Committed to supporting people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds

Historically those from minoritised ethnic backgrounds have been under-represented in the vet profession and there are now initiatives in place to widen participation and increase the number of ethnic minority students going through Vet School.

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.