What kind of training is required for a veterinarian?

Many aspire to become a veterinarian. Working alongside animals and caring for them on a daily basis is certainly appealing, and many childhood dreams are pinned upon this vision.

So how exactly does one become a vet? Well, the main requirement is a love of animals and a desire to promote animal welfare. It’s no secret that although rewarding, being a veterinarian is also often hard and emotionally taxing work. It’s certainly not a career you enter into for the money.

Formal training begins at university

In Australia, becoming a vet takes from between five and eight years of full time study at a university. It all begins with undertaking a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science or medicine, or in some cases, another science or medicine-related undergraduate course followed by a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine.

The undergraduate portion of the degree typically takes three or four years, with the post-graduate section taking around three years. If you study via an integrated program aimed from the beginning at becoming a vet, it means you will graduate with a bachelor degree and therefore it’s a little quicker, allowing you to become qualified in five years.

After you complete your studies, you must register with the Veterinary Surgeons Board or the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board in your state. This provides you with your licence to practise. You’re now a vet!

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Becoming a specialist

As a qualified vet, you then have the opportunity to specialise. Perhaps you’re interested in a particular type of surgery, have a fascination for dentistry, or are captivated by a specific species. Becoming a recognised specialist typically includes and accredittakes a further few years of study, depending on your desired area of specialisation.

In some cases, further study isn’t technically required but is recommended – for example, a vet graduate in Australia can work with horses, however if you plan to become a specialised equine veterinarian you will need to acquire extensive experience working with these larger animals. Taking blood from a 500kg horse can be quite a difference experience than doing the same with a lap dog.

Ongoing education is essential

Just as you would find in many other professions, there is always something new to learn in the field of veterinary science. Continuing professional development (CPD) is key to ensuring veterinarians remain up to date with the latest best practices in terms of research and technological advancement. Depending on the state in which you practise, CPD may be a requirement for maintaining ongoing registration with the veterinary board.

VetPrac offers a wide range of courses and workshops aimed at keeping vets up to date, confident and competent. From practical skills boot camps to workshops on specific surgeries, there are educational opportunities to suit vets at all stages of their careers. Offering both online and practical courses run by highly qualified specialists, there is no better way to undertake CPD.

For more information regarding upcoming workshops, visit, email [email protected] or call +61 409 743 100.