Health Career Center

Veterinary Medicine

If the first word that pops into your head when you hear "veterinary" is "animals", then you're like most Americans. Veterinary medicine is a the sector of the healthcare and medical industries that deals exclusively with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease in animals ranging from family pets, such as dogs and cats, to zoo animals, such as elephants and tigers.

Even though veterinary medicine focuses on animal health and wellness, it also addresses zoonotic diseases, those diseases that can be passed from animals to humans, such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease, avian flue, and mad cow disease to name only a few. In this way, veterinary medical professionals also contribute to the overall health in human populations.

While there are many human races, there is only one type of human – we all belong to the same species. For the most part, we all have the same genetic structure and makeup. Animal populations on the other hand are much more diverse than human populations. There are hundreds of species of animals. Consequently, the field of veterinary medicine is broad and covers all types of animal species, both domesticated and wild. Veterinary medical professionas include:

Career paths:
  • Veterinarians are the medical doctors of the world of veterinary medicine and healthcare. While veterinarians are trained and licensed to provide medical care to animals, they protect the health of animals and humans alike. Veterinarians workin private practive treating pets and companion animals; they work in zoos caring for exotic animals; they provide public health services; the conduct research at universities; or they may pursue a myriad of other career paths.

  • Veterinary Technicians work behind the scenes helping veterinarians treat and care for animals. Specifically, they help veterinarians perform surgeries, administer anesthesia, educate clients, and treat and care for sick animals. Most states in the U.S. now require veterinary technicians to be licensed.

  • Animal Behaviorists, as their name suggests, are experts in animal behavior. They attempt to understand why animals behave the way they do and implement programs to influence or change animal behavior. Since there is such a diversity of animal species, animal behaviorists typically specialize in just one species of animal. They may also limit their focus to certain types of behaviors within one species of animal.
Learn more about a career in veterinary medicine.
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Psychologists specialize in analyzing human behavior and brain function. They study all features of human experience, including child development, cognitive function, and human relationships. Psychology offers a wide array of career opportunities.

Salary: $30,000 - $78,654

Education: 4 - 8 Years (beyond high school)

Job Outlook: Excellent

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