How to become a vet uk

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

The internet sometimes produces certain information that are not necessarily proven. So, if you have been searching online for the latest information on how to become a vet uk, the article below brings you all you need to know. All you have to do is read on.

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What can you do with a veterinary science degree? | Student

The UK has long held the reputation as a nation of animal lovers. Especially as we were the first country in the world to put animal protection laws into place. To reflect this, there are around 65 million pets in the UK. This means nearly every other household has a pet!

Research shows that the average UK dog owner now spends around £18,000 on their pet during its lifetime and much of that is on veterinary care. However, the UK is currently facing a severe shortage of UK-educated Vets. What’s more, this problem may worsen after Brexit, with European Vets possibly leaving the UK.

Therefore, this is the perfect time to consider a career in veterinary medicine; especially as you should be able to find a job within months of qualifying. Read on to find out more.

What does a Vet do?

Veterinary medicine is wide-ranging. Although there is a huge demand for Vets working in vet practices, there are many other avenues that you can choose once you train up. This includes research, public health, the government, the military, horse and greyhound racing, animal charities, zoo and the wildlife sector and farm Vets.

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What do Vets typically earn?

The average starting salary in the UK for graduate Vets is £27,721. This compares very favourably to the average graduate salary in the UK which is just shy of £23,000. Although, many graduates can start on salaries from £16,000. Or even work for free if they are trying to get their foot in the door of their chosen industry.

Newly-qualified Veterinary Surgeons can earn up to £31,150 a year, rising to £41,148 in a small animal clinic, or £44,142 when treating large animals. Senior Vets with over 20 years’ experience can earn up to £69,021. Many specialist fields pay even more.

How do I get started as a Vet?

It is well-known that becoming a Vet is not easy. It takes exceptionally high school exam grades, dedication and years of training.

All Vets in the UK must be a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). To become a member you must complete a five-year degree course at one of these universities: The Royal Veterinary College, London, Bristol, Cambridge (six years), Surrey, Liverpool, Nottingham, Edinburgh or Glasgow.

Competition to get onto a course is fierce. In general, you will need a grade C in English language, maths and science as a minimum – but most universities will expect A grades. The minimum A-level grades expected are AAB with at least one, but preferably two or more, in chemistry, physics and maths.

Bear in mind that getting onto these courses can be very competitive and universities will be looking for the highest grades possible. Other A-level subjects chosen must be academic (i.e. not general studies). If a university considers an AS-level, they will see it as half the value of an A-level.

If you don’t meet the initial academic requirements, don’t despair! Some universities offer a six-year course which provides a gateway opportunity, taking into account those with varying backgrounds. The first year of this gateway course prepares the student for the usual five year degree.

How do I get onto a Vet course?

Veterinary university courses are often long, arduous and demanding. This is simply because there’s a vast amount to learn – think of the different anatomies of every single animal – this varies massively to the human body studied by doctors.

As a result of this, universities want to make sure that they are taking on a student who will commit to the course until the end. And also be able to cope with the physical and emotional challenges of the work.

But, you don’t just need strong academic grades. You also need substantial work experience with animals, such as working in a zoo or rescue centre. Not only will the work experience set you apart, but you may also make friends and key contacts for the future when you finish your course.

A successful interview for the course is crucial – you need to prepare and practise for all the interview questions they could ask you. Research current topics in the news involving animals, animal welfare and issues affecting the profession.

What key skills do I need to become a Vet?

You need to be relaxed and confident in animal handling, with strong academic ability, while also possessing great problem solving and communication skills. This is because you will need sensitivity when dealing with owners.

Working in a surgery also involves various administration tasks, such as writing emails and letters, and being able to communicate complex medical knowledge to those who will not have your expertise is crucial.

Possessing strong business and management acumen will be needed if you intend to run your own surgery, but are skills that often come with experience and time learning the profession. Other essential skills that you need to grasp include manual dexterity for operations and knowledge and understanding of animal behaviour.

What do Vets do day-to-day?

Day-to-day, Vets are responsible for the prevention of disease and the diagnosis and treatment of animals with injuries or who are sick. Veterinary surgeons will also euthanise animals and perform operations.

Most Vets work with small animals in a clinic, which offers more routine day-to-day tasks than perhaps working with livestock, for an animal charity or within an animal sport.

If you are working as a Vet in a clinic, most clinics offer a 24/7 service 365 days a year. However, the EU working time directive means that Vets no longer need to work long hours if they don’t want to.

To get around this, but still provide 24/7 care, most Vets finish around 6-7pm, and then the clinic outsources ‘out-of-hours’ care.

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However, it is useful to have the option to work nights as a Vet for extra money. It is especially helpful at the start of your career, as working nights will give you the invaluable experience in dealing with emergency situations and can be highly exhilarating and rewarding.

Once I’m a Vet, what career progression is available?

As a Vet, you are highly trained and skilled and very knowledgeable. Once experienced, Vets can offer consultation work, especially on topics such as climate change and overpopulation. Food suppliers also need veterinary consultation on their livestock supply and treatment. Working with pharmaceutical corporations or manufacturers of animal-related products is also a possibility.

Some Vets return to university as a lecturer or within the research field. Global diseases such as Ebola, Zika and SARS originating from animals provide a demand for people with veterinary knowledge.

As a Vet, you are always learning. Vets must demonstrate continued professional development (CPD) to advance their skill set and salary. This maintains the required skills and knowledge of veterinary medicine and treatment.

What are the best bits about being a Vet?

It may be a cliché, but helping animals will no doubt be at the forefront of most people’s minds when they choose to become a Vet. You have to be an animal lover in this occupation, so there can be nothing more satisfying than seeing an animal recover and cease to be in pain directly because of the treatment that you give them.

Working with animals can also provide a feel-good environment. Animals can be both entertaining and loving. And stroking can help to reduce stress. Imagine walking around a zoo on your lunch break and having the privilege to work with an endangered species.

Or perhaps you have always had a passion for horses? Becoming an equine vet and spending most of your time around your favourite animal will be a dream job.

What are the challenges of being a Vet?

Becoming a Vet isn’t for the faint-hearted. Not only do you have the rather intimidating years of training ahead of you, once qualified there are some challenges to face, such as dealing with the heavy load of paperwork in a clinic environment.

You also have to cope with having to put down an animal and giving bad news to animal owners. However, you should remember in these situations that you are ultimately helping.

If you are working on a farm or zoo with large or aggressive animals, there is also a potential risk of injury. And you must also be able to handle your emotions if you are involved with an animal charity or cases of animal abuse.

However, the challenges of veterinary work result in huge rewards and job satisfaction when you have succeeded in helping an animal.

This career is for you if…

You want to help animals, enjoy variety, are looking for a good salary, enjoy communicating with people, like to problem solve, want to be your own boss, want a lifetime of learning and want to work with like-minded animal lovers.

Becoming a Vet is often considered a ‘dream job’ for animal lovers. Just ask a child with an interest in animals what they want to do when they grow up. They will likely say they want to be a Vet.

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