If you are interested in a career as a veterinary professional, you will need formal education and training. Before you get your first veterinary stethoscope, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and then apply to a graduate program to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. While it is important to get a four-year degree in a related major, such as biology, zoology or animal science, you should also start preparing as early as possible for your veterinary medicine program.
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Research the top veterinary schools in the U.S. and then decide which colleges may be right for you. The earlier you know which programs you want to apply to, the more time you have to meet the institution’s requirements. The schools you see in this list are among the highest-rated and most successful colleges for veterinarians. Learn more below about where they are located, why they have a stellar reputation and how you can increase your chances of becoming a student.
1. Cornell University
Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, NY offers its students an Ivy League education along with access to some of the finest research institutions in the nation. For these reasons and more, the college is rated by U.S. News & World Report as a top-tier school for aspiring veterinarians. Upon earning a doctorate in veterinary medicine, students benefit from the school’s impeccable job placement record.
A combination of rigorous coursework, innovative clinical training and a commitment to excellence means that nearly every Cornell graduate receives a job offer before they leave the program. If you are interested in applying to this school, know that the admissions bar is among the highest in the United States. Having high test scores, excellent grades and previous internship or professional experience with animals can help set you apart from other applicants.
Cornell also prefers students who have significant achievements in undergraduate research or animal studies. Since Cornell’s veterinary department is committed to innovation, collaboration and quality care, you are sure to learn from some of the best veterinarians and professors while preparing yourself to be successful on the job.
2. Colorado State University
Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Colorado State University has one of the most esteemed and highest-ranked veterinary medicine programs in America. The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences allows students to choose from over 25 different veterinary specialties while receiving an unmatched education in areas like immunology, pathology and radiology. Since its teaching hospital receives tens of thousands of animal patients per year, doctoral students are able to see a variety of cases and care for many different creatures and pet companions.
In addition to its state-of-the-art program, candidates for a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine will enjoy the university’s beautiful campus and diverse training opportunities. If you are interested in areas like animal breeding and the spread of infectious diseases among pets and farm animals, this program will afford you access to some of the leading research labs. Since the doctorate has been around since 1907, you will have peace of mind knowing your future employers will recognize your school and its success.
With millions of dollars dedicated to annual research expenditures, you will also be on the leading edge of biology and animal medicine. When applying to this program, be sure your undergraduate resume is competitive. Expand on the research you completed when you earned your bachelor’s degree, along with the veterinary specialties that interest you. A love for unique learning experiences and collaboration with peers will help you succeed at this school.
3. North Carolina State University
The College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University is considered to be another national institution of medical excellence. This school in Raleigh, NC stands out because of its long list of veterinary disciplines and its three separate learning and research departments. When you are a student at North Carolina State, you will benefit from over 100 faculty members with renowned reputations in clinical sciences, molecular and biological sciences and pathobiology. You will also get plenty of clinical training, as the college sees tens of thousands of patient cases annually.
One of the most interesting and popular components of this program is its Teaching Animal Unit. Nestled on 80 acres of farmland, the teaching lab gives students the opportunity to learn about livestock and animal husbandry. An additional 250-acre campus partners with corporations and the government to complete biomedical research for the state and the nation.
Since the doctorate in veterinary medicine often ranks among the highest in the U.S., you will need excellent test scores and grades. You will also need an exceptional resume with internships and research experience. Once accepted, you will be a part of a college that values innovative discovery and education. You will also be a part of a class of students who are committed to advancing animal and human health, both now and in the future.
4. University of California-Davis
The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is the nation’s largest veterinarian school. Its commitment to leadership, research and innovation in the field frequently places it at the top of doctorate program rankings. When you are a student at UC Davis, you get access to six different veterinary departments, including the best faculty and staff in fields like molecular biosciences, epidemiology and pathology. You will also be able to focus on the population of animal patients that interest you, such as small animals, equine or livestock.
The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital sees as many as 50,000 animals per year, which means you will be able to care for patients of all shapes and sizes. Students enjoy the live, hands-on learning at the Gourley Clinical Teaching Center, which gets you up close and personal with exotic birds, free-ranging wildlife and aquatic mammals. Community outreach initiatives can help you to build professional relationships and line up a job before you graduate, while the diverse student life will help you to grow as a person.
If you are interested in applying to this program, review their application process and timeline. Only 180 applicants are invited to interview each year, which means you will need to stand out from approximately 75 percent of California doctorate applicants and 90 percent of nationwide doctorate applicants with your GRE scores, undergraduate grades and experience. If you are accomplished enough to earn a coveted spot in a veterinary seat, you will likely become one of the most influential veterinarians in your community.
Applying to the Top Veterinarian Programs
While you cannot wait to get into your veterinary scrubs, it is important to carefully plan the application process. The schools above take an extremely limited number of students per year, but being accepted is worth it. Your education will be attractive to employers and customers, and your depth of experience may even allow you to own your own practice or become a leading researcher in your field.
Place your love for animals into every educational endeavor and then spend as much time as possible on studying for your graduate exams and undergraduate coursework. The more you achieve before you apply for your doctorate in veterinary medicine program, the more likely you will get into the college of your dreams.