Becoming a vet in Australia involves a lot of work, usually five to six years of full time study. There are a few universities in Australia that offer a Bachelor of Veterinary Science, these include;
* University of Queensland
* James Cook University – Townsville
* University of Sydney
* Charles Sturt University (Wagga Wagga NSW)
* University of Melbourne
* University of Adelaide
* Murdoch University – Perth, Western Australia
You do need to have very good high school results or further tertiary studies to get into these Veterinary Science courses. Even after completing these courses there may be further study involved if you want to do specialist training and there are other continuing veterinary courses available to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.
I think that at some point in most peoples childhoods or lives they have wanted to become a vet and help animals, I know I certainly did. However, it really does take a special person to become a veterinarian. Not only does a veterinarian have to be intelligent, determined, dedicated and hardworking, but they also have to have good people skills. Vets are often dealing with people when they are distressed or concerned and upset for the well being of their beloved animal. As a vet you need to have the ability to communicate with pet owners in an understanding and empathetic manner.
Another point to consider is that at some point in your education or career you may be required to treat any kind of animal from dog or cat to cow or horse to a snake or wildlife. Although you may not be as comfortable with some animals you do need to have the ability to put that aside and treat them as best as you can with gentle care and respect.
Over their careers vets will often see some very traumatic, heart wrenching and sometimes cruel acts towards animals. This is something that comes as a part of being a vet, the understanding that not every person (unfortunately) will value the life of an animal as highly as you and I do. So as a vet you need to have the ability to emotionally and mentally process those situations so that they do not destroy your spirit.
If you are serious about becoming a vet you really should speak to a vet and where possible observe a vet, to try and develop a greater understanding of what they do. Speak to your school about organising some work experience for you. Alternatively, speak to your local vet clinics or shelters and see if they have any volunteer programs which will help you get some hands on experience in the industry.
Whether you are just leaving school or looking for a career change becoming a veterinarian is a very noble profession. So if you think you are up for the challenge of becoming a veterinarian go for it!!! All creatures, great and small, need as many people as possible on their side trying to help, protect and care for them.
For further information on becoming a veterinarian in Australia please visit the Australian Veterinary Association website, http://www.ava.com.au for some great information and helpful tips.
Until next time,