Veterinary medicine falls under The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), which is part of the Federal Department of Home Affairs. Within the Federal Office of Public Health, the Commission of University Medical Professions, based in Berne, is responsible for university education and continuing education. Veterinary medicine is regulated by a Federal Act on University Medical Professions (Medical Professions Act, 23rd June 2006).
Veterinary Specialist Recognition
There is a federal register for all medical professionals with post graduate qualifications. It lists individuals with Swiss or Switzerland-recognised diplomas and continuing professional development titles in medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and dentistry. However, no international (e.g. European Veterinary Specialists, AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties diplomats, Fellows of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists) or national specialist qualifications in veterinary medicine are recognised officially in Switzerland.
Professional membership organisations like the Swiss Veterinary Society (GST/SVS) can however register the titles that they award. There are nine national specialist titles (FVH) for horses, companion animals, ruminants, swine, pathology, laboratory medicine, food hygiene, veterinary microbiological analytics and veterinary public health at EQF level 7+, based in part on continuing education.
Advanced Veterinary Practitioners
There is no Advanced Veteirnary Practitioner Training. Some veterinarians in Sqitzerland have completed postgraduate studies leading to a Dr. med. vet. title. Dr. med. vet. is not equivalent to a PhD.
Continuing education of veterinary general practitioners
Continuing education has been mandatory, under the Federal Law on the Medical Profession, for all practicing veterinarians since 2002. This is recorded by the Swiss Veterinary Society (GST/SVS) using continuing education points. The awarded continuing education points are prerequisite to gaining the national specialist qualifications (FVH).
There is one Veterinary Faculty in Switzerland, called the Vetsuisse-Faculty. It has two locations: Vetsuisse-Faculty University Zurich and Vetsuisse-Faculty University Berne. Veterinarians graduate and are federally licensed (med. vet.) and can get the permission to work as a veterinarian in private practice.
The membership organisation is the Gesellschaft Schweizer Tierärztinnen und Tierärzte/Société des Vétérinaires Suisses (GST/SVS). One of the aims of the GST/SVS is to ensure the quality of veterinary practice in education in general and in continuing education in particular. The Swiss Veterinary Society (GST/SVS), the official representing body of veterinarians in Switzerland, has a number of subsections including one for specialized veterinarians – Fachsektionen.
Under the revised Swiss Medical Professions Act, as of 1 January 2018 anyone exercising a medical profession requiring a university qualification and working in Switzerland must be recorded in the register of medical professions. Medical professionals who start to work before 1 January 2018 but who have not yet registered, have a two-year grace period in which to do so.
All medical professionals who completed their federal examination in Switzerland or who had their foreign diploma approved by the BAG are automatically registered.
A successful registration is not equivalent to an official recognition and approval of a foreign diploma by the BAG!
By default, only diplomas from EU/EFTA states can be approved.
All medical professionals are required to register, regardless of:
- the duration of their work
- the type of work and their function (e.g. doctorate, internship, postdoc) during the work
- the place of residence (within Switzerland or abroad)
- the country where the diploma was received.
Requirements for an Entry into the Register of Medical Professions
- Medical professionals intending to exercise their profession in Switzerland must be proficient in the required language. Language skills must be entered in the Register of Medical Professions (MedReg). Applications for an entry of a Swiss administrative language (German, French, Italian) can be submitted together with the application for approval of a diploma.
- For Applicants without any language skills in a Swiss administrative language (German, French, Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic), the employer needs to certify that language skills e.g. in English are sufficient, e.g. for pure researcher positions.
Access to the register
The registration in the MedReg is subject to a charge and will take several weeks. The registration must be completed before the initiation of work.
Access to the register MedReg
For a registration in the Register of Medical Professions you have to recognized your diploma in Switzerland. If you have obtained your diploma outside the EU/EFTA countries, you must also have your diploma registered since 1 January 2018.
Medical professionals who started their work before Jan 1, 2018, but who have not yet registered
Professionals who were already exercising their profession before 1 January 2018 and have not yet registered must have their registration completed by the end of 2019 at the latest.
Non-registered professionals who will terminate their work before the end of 2019 and will not work in a Swiss medical profession thereafter, therefore don’t necessarily need to register.
Checking for language
Already registered medical professionals are requested to check for any missing entries, especially regarding language skills. These must also be updated by way of an application for registration.
How to Become a Vet in Switzerland
Becoming a veterinarian in Switzerland is a commendable and rewarding career choice. The process, however, is rigorous and involves a commitment to both education and practical experience. In this article, we will explore the steps and requirements for aspiring veterinarians in Switzerland, as well as discuss important related topics such as the recognition of foreign doctors and veterinarians, salaries in the veterinary field, and the role of veterinarians in Switzerland.
How to Become a Vet in Switzerland
Education and Training
To become a veterinarian in Switzerland, you must start with a solid foundation in science. You’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as biology, animal science, or veterinary medicine. This typically takes three years. Afterward, you will need to enroll in a veterinary school, which in Switzerland, is part of a university program. The veterinary program takes a further five years to complete. This comprehensive education ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to care for animals.
Practical experience is crucial for veterinarians. During your veterinary studies, you will complete several internships and gain hands-on experience in different aspects of animal care. This can include working with farm animals, pets, or in wildlife conservation. These internships provide you with real-world experience and help you develop the necessary clinical skills to become a proficient veterinarian.
Licensing and Registration
Upon completing your education and practical training, you will need to obtain a license to practice as a veterinarian in Switzerland. This process usually involves passing a comprehensive examination to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. Once you pass the licensing exam, you will be eligible to practice as a veterinarian in Switzerland.
How to Become a Foreign Doctor in Switzerland
Recognition of Foreign Medical Degrees
For foreign doctors wishing to practice in Switzerland, the recognition of their medical degrees is a pivotal step. Switzerland has strict regulations in place to ensure that foreign medical professionals meet the country’s high standards of healthcare. To practice medicine in Switzerland, foreign doctors must have their qualifications recognized by the Swiss Medical Association (FMH).
Additional Training and Language Requirements
In some cases, foreign doctors may be required to complete additional training or language proficiency assessments. Switzerland has multiple official languages, including German, French, Italian, and Romansh, so proficiency in one or more of these languages is often a requirement, depending on the region of practice.
Can Foreign Doctors Work in Switzerland?
Yes, foreign doctors can work in Switzerland, but they must navigate a thorough recognition process. Once their degrees and qualifications are recognized, foreign doctors can apply for medical positions in hospitals, clinics, or establish private practices. Switzerland welcomes medical professionals from around the world to contribute to its healthcare system.
How Much Do Vets Make in Switzerland
Veterinarians in Switzerland can expect to earn a competitive salary, reflective of the country’s high cost of living and strong emphasis on quality healthcare. On average, a veterinarian in Switzerland can earn between CHF 70,000 to CHF 100,000 per year. However, specific salary figures can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of veterinary practice.
Veterinarian in Switzerland
In Switzerland, veterinarians play a vital role in animal health, welfare, and the prevention of zoonotic diseases. They work in a wide range of settings, from private clinics to research institutions, and they are responsible for the care and treatment of various animals, including pets, livestock, and wildlife.
Swiss veterinarians are also involved in public health initiatives, food safety, and the control of infectious diseases. Their expertise contributes to the overall well-being of both animals and the population, underscoring the importance of their role in the country.
Foreign Veterinarian in the USA
For foreign veterinarians considering a career in the United States, the process is distinct from that in Switzerland. In the USA, foreign veterinarians must have their degrees evaluated by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) and may need to complete additional clinical and written exams. Once these requirements are met, foreign veterinarians can pursue licensure to practice in the United States.
In summary, becoming a veterinarian in Switzerland requires a significant commitment to education and practical training. The process involves a bachelor’s degree, a veterinary program, practical internships, and licensing. For foreign doctors, recognition of qualifications and additional requirements may be necessary to practice in Switzerland. The country offers competitive salaries for veterinarians, reflecting the importance of their role in animal health and public well-being. Swiss veterinarians play a crucial part in safeguarding the health of animals and humans, making their profession both rewarding and vital.