Thursday, November 26, 2015

So your daughter/granddaughter wants to be a vet....

You don't know how many times I hear this.  Originally, I used to give all kinds of tips and be supportive.  My own doctor even commented how he wanted to be a vet but wasn't able to get into vet school.  (I told him it was ok he told me that, but it might not instill confidence in his other patients).

Here are some things to be aware of if you or your family members are considering veterinary medicine.

1)  You go to as much school as MD's and pay as much or more for schooling, but only make a fraction of their income.

2) There is now a problem of there being more veterinarians than jobs.  This is somewhat debatable within the profession, but the schools keep opening up and the amount people spend on their pet's veterinary care has decreased.  You do the math.  Also, what used to be a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of applicants to positions has now become closer to 2:1 or even 1.5:1.

3) Starting salary for veterinarians is on par for what most college grads can get after only 4 years of school.

4) It is NOT all puppies and kittens.  Most of what we do involves end of life decisions and financial conundrums rather than playing with cute critters.

5) It is not a profession for people who prefer animals over people.  You have to work with A LOT of people.  It is a very customer-service oriented profession.  If you're not a people person, you will have a hard time dealing with what equates to more than 50% of your job.  You don't have to convince the pets to have treatment performed and to pay for it.  You have to convince the owners, the people.

 6) Vet school is hard.  I would kind of compare it to training for a marathon.  It can require a lot of long hours, sweat, nausea and a certain amount of self-centeredness to get through it.  It's tough.  Most of the marriages (not all of them, but probably 90%) that I know of that started in vet school are not still together.  It takes a lot of time, hard work and perseverance.  It takes a really good partner to go through it with you.  So if you want to get a family started right away, probably not a good idea.  It's possible, but you're not stacking the deck in your favor.

We still need compassionate, intelligent, hardworking veterinarians, but I just want to caution people it may not be as easy a career as they think, it is more of a vocation or calling....

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