Veterinarians (also known as Vets) are doctors of animal health. They prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and other health issues in animals. They can work in small clinics, emergency and specialist hospitals, zoos and aquariums, wildlife parks, universities, research facilities, pet food and drug manufacturing companies, conservation and government organisations.
Are you passionate about animals and committed to their welfare? Do you love science, and are you proactive and driven by emotional rewards rather than financial? Then you should definitely consider a career as a Vet.
- Have a passion for animals, their health and welfare
- Excellent communicator
- Empathetic and emotionally resilient
- Great organisational and time management skills
- Good attention to detail and observational skills
- Technical skills – use of machinery and lab equipment, surgical knowledge, etc.
- Aptitude for science and an inquiring mind
- Examine, diagnose and treat sick and injured animals
- Carry out general check-ups and administer preventative treatments, e.g. vaccinations
- Prescribe and administer animal medications
- Take cell and tissue samples
- Perform diagnostic tests
- Perform surgery on animals
Lifestyle Impact: High
- Part Time opportunities: Low – around 28% of Veterinarians work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Average hours for full-time workers: 46 hours a week, which is just above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Veterinarians’ salary (median) $75,000* per year (source: ato.gov.au). *Salaries can vary depending on your skills and experience.
- Future career growth: Very strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- You will be doing work in a variety of environments, both indoors and outdoors.
- You may see things that are confronting, so you’ll need to be emotionally resilient.
- You might need to do work after hours and on weekends and holidays, especially if there is an emergency.
Veterinarians are most in demand in these locations:
There is a huge demand for Veterinarians in regional and rural areas, particularly those experienced with or interested in farm animals. Most Veterinarians work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry.
How to become a Veterinarian
You will need to complete a university-level degree and register with the Veterinary Board in your state or territory to practice as a Vet in Australia.
Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a focus on English and Maths. Biology and Chemistry could also be advantageous.
Step 2 – Complete an undergraduate degree accredited by the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC) – you can see the full list here.
Step 3 – Alternatively, complete any undergraduate degree, then complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Step 4 – Register with the Veterinary Board in your state or territory.
Step 5 – Start working as a fully qualified Veterinarian.
Find out more here –
Similar Careers to Veterinarian
Find out more about alternative careers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What options are there for career progression?
You might start out treating popular animals such as cats and dogs, before specialising in a particular kind of animal, such as small animals (birds, guinea pigs, mice, etc.), fish and reptiles, or farm animals (horses, cows, sheep, etc.).
Do I need to go to university to become a Veterinarian?
Yes, you will need to complete an accredited degree and register with the relevant Veterinary Board in your state or territory.
Where do Veterinarians work?
Vets can work in a variety of areas, including vet clinics, animal hospitals, pounds and shelters, with rescue groups, and out in the community, treating peoples’ pets from home.
What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Veterinarian?
If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Veterinarian is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:
- Take volunteering opportunities in your community that involve animals. This could be cleaning at the local animal shelter, offering to walk your neighbour’s dogs, or fostering animals waiting for adoption.
- See if you can find work experience with animals. This will help you see if you might enjoy the work, and can help you start building important contacts for the future.
- Talk to a Veterinarian to see what a day in their life is like. If you don’t know anyone, see if you can watch videos or documentaries about a career as a Vet.