How To Choose A Veterinary School

portrait of a veterinarian and assistant in a small animal clinic at work

As a budding Veterinarian, you must have completed your bachelor’s degree, your high school training and probably some months interning somewhere. But do you know how to choose the best vet school for yourself? Here are a few things to look for while choosing a vet school.

Accreditation as a veterinary school

Any school that you are planning to choose (whether online or offline) must be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This ensures that the all the programs that are offered by the school all follow the norms of the AVMA. If the school is not accredited, then the student will definitely face problems in the future. A student who has passed out from a non-accredited school is not eligible to give the licensure exam. He / she will also not be able to apply for many jobs in the same field. There are currently about 172 accredited programs, of which only 21 offer a bachelor’s degree.

Veterinarian training methods

This is probably the most important thing after accreditation. The training methods determine how educated and skilled the student is at the end of the program. Each program usually uses a combination of the following 3 methods to teach their students.

  1. Applied learning

This means that the faculty shall teach by letting the students perform the procedures themselves. It is usually done under the supervision of a licensed vet tech and thus is quite safe. The procedures help one get the experience required to sharpen their skills. It is one of the most effective ways of teaching.

  1. Clinical rounds

Many programs require the students to go apply for internships themselves and work in a real-world environment under veterinarians. This helps them get real world experience which a bit better than the experience on gains in a lab. This is because, in a real-world scenario, several variables like time, pressure, tools etc. changes and it is then up to the vet tech to use his / her knowledge to help the animal with whatever is at hand.

  1. Traditional lectures

These are the lectures during which everyone falls asleep. Such a learning mechanism helps the student gang theoretical knowledge rather than practical experience. One might think that, in life, practical knowledge will be more useful. However, theoretical knowledge comes in use for the rare cases which you weren’t prepared for in the school. So, these are quite important as well.

A good learning mechanism will incorporate all the above training methods and vary their proportions as a student moves on to higher levels. Choose a school that lets you maximize on your clinical hours and learn more in the field rather than in the classroom.

Tour the facilities

The use of technology has become extremely prominent in veterinary medicine. Now dogs are made to swallow a simple capsule that can image its insides perfectly to give the idea of what’s wrong with it. There are many such similar technologies that help the vet save more lives in a more efficient way. Thus, it is extremely important to learn about the new technologies that are currently being used. This is only possible if the program is well equipped with the latest technological equipment. When you visit the campus, ask for a tour of their lab facilities to help you decide.

Aside from these, there are many other factors that you should consider while choosing a veterinary program to get in. But these are all common factors that you would look for while choosing any school. For example, cost, distance from home, faculty, track record, class timings, internships etc. With this information in hand, I’m sure you will able to decide which is the best veterinary school for you!