What does a veterinarian do?
A veterinarian diagnoses, prevents and treats disease in animals as well as providing care information to animal owners. They advise measures on the prevention of disease spread throughout livestock and other animals, and means for improving health standards. A veterinarian may work in a clinic or outdoors visiting livestock, with exotic animals in wildlife sanctuaries or attending animals at events such as animal racing. They may provide information on breeding productivity and genetics as well as performing medical diagnostic tests and treatments.
- Examine and diagnose a variety of sick and injured animals
- Advise owners on correct care of pets and livestock
- Vaccinate against infectious diseases
- Perform diagnostic tests such as X-rays, blood, urine
- Anaesthetise animals, perform surgery and set/dress wounds
What skills do I need to be a veterinarian?
Working as a veterinarian requires the ability to communicate well with people, as you may be working in a team and with animal owners. You must be interested in the care and welfare of animals, and have an aptitude for science and medicine as well as an empathy for all creatures, and feel comfortable in the presence of and dealing with a variety of animals.
- Inquisitive with good problem-solving skills
- Kind, empathetic and caring
- A keen interest in animal health care
- Aptitude for science and technology
- Manual dexterity to perform procedures
Veterinarians can pursue a number of exciting career pathways involving different animals, work locations and environments. Once qualified, a veterinarian may choose to work in a practice, with unusual pets and animals, in pathology, wildlife and conservation and much more. Veterinarians can undergo further training to become registered as a specialist in a variety of roles including surgery, dermatology and cardiology.
Wildlife and conservation
Study pathways for veterinarian
An undergraduate or postgraduate degree in veterinary science is required to work as a qualified veterinarian.
If you’re not quite ready to pursue a 5-year university degree, a vocational qualification can get you ready to work as a veterinary nurse or captive animal handler.
You will need to score a competitive entry rank in order to enrol in a Bachelor of Veterinary Science – the minimum undergraduate requirement to become a vet.
Numerous options for postgraduate career development exist, including opportunities in veterinary public health and management.
After completion of your veterinary science degree you will need to register with the veterinary registration board of the state you practise in.
Getting a job after graduation
Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your veterinary career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for veterinary jobs.
Job Prospects and Salaries
Veterinarians are projected to secure stable employment for the next 10 years, with a high proportion employed in full-time work. Salaries are above the national average, at $75,000 on average.