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As the summer approaches, many young people are preparing to embark on a new scholastic journey. High school graduates are considering colleges and career paths, college graduates are deciding between entering into the job market and pursuing a post-graduate degree. Many of these people will consider a career in veterinary medicine.

Veterinary medicine is a very enticing field for those people who love science, medicine, surgery and most of all, animals. Before you sign up for a degree in veterinary technology or veterinary medicine, CEDARCREST Animal Clinic would like to provide you with some insight into this profession and what it takes to get involved with veterinary medicine.

The first hurdle is getting in and experience is extremely important. Get a job with or volunteer for any organization that allows you access and experience with animals. Whether you are cleaning horse stalls, walking dogs or shadowing a veterinarian in a practice, it is important to many institutions that your résumé reflects a certain level of comfort/experience working with any type of non-human animal.

Experience is not the most important factor in getting accepted to veterinary school, however. One would argue that grades and test scores are even more important to get you through the selection process into vet school. There are only 26 veterinary schools in the continental United States. Each school receives nearly 1000 applicants yearly, of which only 75-100 students are accepted. In order to sift through the mountain of applications a vet school has to make some snap judgments, whether fair or not is inconsequential. The fact of the matter is that grades and test scores are often the values used by colleges to trim the hundreds of applications down to a more manageable number. So keep your grades up. A bad semester can really hurt your GPA and make it that much harder for you to enter into the field of veterinary medicine.

Once you’ve been accepted into vet school, things get much tougher. You have 4 years to learn everything a human doctor knows but instead of just human beings you must know the entire animal kingdom.

Additionally, many people do not realize how expensive a veterinary education is; the average vet school degree will end up costing around $150,000. Contrast that with the pay: An average 1st-year veterinarian will earn around $40,000 a year. It is not a career for people interested in making a lot of money and having a garage full of expensive sports cars. It is a career for people who are truly passionate about medicine and animals and find fulfillment in making the lives of animals better.

If you think that veterinary medicine is for you, start making a plan now: Volunteer at a practice and start studying. If you are interested in volunteering at CEDARCREST Animal Clinic, call 540-943-7577.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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