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Landing a Job as a Veterinarian Can be Rough

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- One of the toughest jobs to land is a veterinarian. That's according to a recent survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The survey estimates that the supply exceeds the demand by the equivalent of 11,250 full-time veterinarians.
The career path of becoming a vet has always been a popular one.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- One of the toughest jobs to land is a veterinarian. That's according to a recent survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The survey estimates that the supply exceeds the demand by the equivalent of 11,250 full-time veterinarians.

The Veterinary Workforce Study predicts supply will continue to exceed demand for at least another 12 years.

Being a veterinarian is a job animal lovers dream of from a very young age.

"The career path of becoming a vet has always been a popular one," says MSU DARR School of Agriculture Director Anson Elliott. 

Being a veterinarian, though, is a lot harder than it seems.

"We are always challenged to keep things calm and normal here in the hospital," says Deerfield Veterinary Hospital's Dr. Edward Caldwell. "It's a very stressful thing for an owner to bring their pets into a veterinary hospital when they're sick or there is trauma that has occurred."

More and more animal lovers are wanting to get into the field but veterinarians say the job can be tough.  While you do get to play with puppies and kitties and other animals, you also have to see them sick and in need of surgical procedures.

"There are very stressful situations we see day to day," says Dr. Caldwell.

Doctors with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine say it isn't necessarily that veterinarians have high unemployment, but it's more the fact that vets are not being utilized to their full capacity.

"Lately, we see there is an abundance of those in the small animal practices and at times a shortage in the large animal practices like the cattle and horse industry," says Elliott. 

The study predicts supply will exceed demand at least through the year 2025.

"I think being that the data was just published in 2013, we don't have enough information to know how it will impact the industry as a whole," says Dr. Caldwell.  He says Deerfield actually sometimes struggles to find good veterinarians to hire. He'd like to see more graduates apply there.

Dr. Caldwell also says it's important for those interested in the veterinarian field to realize they should not expect to go right into an exam room.  Many people begin by doing small things like cleaning cages and walking pets to get enough exposure to figure out if being a vet is really the ultimate goal.
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