Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Career profile: Veterinary surgeon (Vet)

Career profile: Veterinary surgeon (Vet)Get the lowdown on what the job involves, what qualifications you need and how long it takes to train.

A what?

Veterinary surgeons are doctors for animals. Their main role is to diagnose and treat sick and injured animals.

On the job

Veterinary surgeons are responsible for the prevention of disease and for the medical and surgical treatment of animals. Many vets work in a veterinary practice where owners bring their animals in to be treated, though they can go on call and visit animals in farms, zoos and owners’ homes.

As well as treating sick animals, a lot of a vet’s time is spent immunising animals against different diseases, and putting down old or terminally ill animals.

Course entry requirements

Vets must complete a degree approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

Entry requirements are three A-levels at high grades, or equivalent. Biology and chemistry are usually required. The other subject should be physics or maths. Good GCSE passes in English, maths and science are also required. Some universities offer a six-year course for students who do not have the required grades or subjects.

Candidates also need to show they have already worked with animals. This might include visiting a laboratory or voluntary work at stables, farms or kennels, as well as shadowing a vet in practice.

What does the training involve?

Courses last for at least five years. The degree has a strong focus on sciences, including anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. Students also do practical work, including 26 weeks of holiday placements. This includes work in veterinary practices, an abattoir and a veterinary laboratory.

Related links

(Information taken from Connexions)