What qualifications do I need to be a Vet?

Becoming a vet takes hard work and dedication. Not only will you need to excel at sciences, but you will have to work hard to become qualified.

Competition for places on approved veterinary degrees is high, and you will be expected to show you have a strong passion for the subject. Proof of your ability and experience of working with animals, including livestock is also required, so any work of this nature should be sought after prior to your application.

Once you have become qualified, your work will always be varied with a range of different animals - depending on your final specialism. All vets are obliged to help deal with emergencies at any time, so in essence you are permanently on call.

As a vet you could end up working in any of the following sectors:
• General practice (most graduates start here)
• Teaching and research
• Government agencies
• Other sectors eg. pharmaceutical or wildlife conservation

Pros
• A varied job working on different animals with different healthcare issues

Cons
• You could be called on to help a sick animal at any time of the day and are likely to have irregular working patterns

GCSEs
You will need at strong base of GCSEs including the sciences and maths in order to be able to take the A-levels you will need to go on to take a degree. Depending on the university you are applying to you may A grades in some subjects.

A-levels
You will most likely need three excellent graded A-levels in Biology, and two out of Maths, Chemistry or Physics. You may also be considered if you have a distinction in the BTEC Diploma in Animal Science.

Degree
You need to take a veterinary degree in one of an approved Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons(RCVS) university. You should check the entry requirements with the university that you are interested in.

How long will it take to get qualified?
A veterinary degree takes 5 to 6 years after which you will have to register with the RCVS. Once you are qualified you will be expected to keep up-to-date with developments in the industry.

There are around 20,000 registered vets in the UK.

Typical salary
A typical starting salary is around £30,000 rising to £50,000 for senior vets.

Useful websites
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons www.rcvs.org.uk