Different Career Paths in Veterinary Medicine

Written by Fiorella Castro Reading time: 5 mins

The veterinary industry is very broad, however, often when we are at university, we think that everything revolves around clinical practice. But for many students, including myself, when I was a student, I used to think about the time when I would graduate and start working with animals and why not think like that, if we love animals and we have prepared for it?

I always remember people telling me: "When you leave university many doors open and what you planned to work in is not necessarily what you end up working in" and I just thought that I was obviously going to work with horses because that was my "plan".

And the truth is that many times those plans do come true, but in veterinary medicine there are many professional paths we can take.

So, my advice is don't close yourself off from thinking that what you have always wanted is what you are going to like and what you are going to work in. When you leave university maybe the job in the field you wanted to work in wasn't what you expected, so read on to find out about all the different jobs you can do as a veterinarian.

1. Clinical Work

Clinical work is the best known and most traditional job in the veterinary field. Whether you are a Veterinarian or a Veterinary Nurse, clinical work is where we can put our medical knowledge and surgical skills into practice. This is where diseases are diagnosed, treated, prognosed and prevented. There are a number of different areas that can be derived from clinical work, where each person within the veterinary profession can specialise in a particular species and subject of interest.

2. Animal Health Industry

In the animal health industry, companies hire veterinarians to assist them in the manufacture of medicines or food for companion animals. In general, it is a job that can be directed towards research, sales, among others. It should be taken into account that in these jobs the Professional usually has to travel a lot.

Within this branch we could talk about a sub-branch which are the Veterinarians working in the pharmaceutical industry, they are in charge of sales, distribution, manufacturing and technical advisory functions regarding the continuous, safe and correct use of these products.

3. Public Health

One of the most important roles of a health professional is public health, and veterinarians play a major role in this area. It is about the protection of human, animal and environmental health. We are responsible for monitoring outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, for teaching people the proper management to avoid diseases, also for the proper use of vaccine protocols, and the application of vaccines for the safety of people and animals.

4. Teaching

It is an academic role for veterinarians who like to teach and prepare the next generation of veterinarians on different topics. Usually, the veterinarians who become lecturers are PhDs or have extensive experience in a specific area.

5. Practice Management

Professionals who tend to take up the role of practice manager are those who are interested in leadership roles, where they will manage teams, clients and undertake more administrative roles to do with finance and operational issues. People usually become certified to be Veterinary Practice Managers. An example of this work are the owners of clinics or hospitals.

6. Marketing

In today's world, a company, corporate, practice or hospital without marketing does not survive, which is why this role has become so popular and has created so many jobs for new veterinarians and vet nurses. It's a relatively new career path, where the professional is in charge of using knowledge of the veterinary sector in creative ways. Such as generating engaging social media content to attract new customers and to retain existing customers. Depending on the company, this content can be targeted to the veterinarians/vet nurses themselves or to pet owners, farms, zoos, etc. It is a very dynamic job where the brand is developed and allows professionals to have a work-life balance. Thanks to the development of this branch, veterinary influencers have also come into existence and have come to have a great impact on the industry.

7. Consulting

When you want to start a veterinary practice or are having problems in your veterinary practice, you usually hire a veterinary consultant. These veterinary consultants work as professional advisors, basically evaluating all the procedures that are carried out in the clinic, from protocols, performance, staffing, to financial statements and budgets, in order to make the practice as successful as possible. You can read about Silvia’s journey into consultancy here.

8. Innovation

It is observing a gap in the industry and wanting to create a company or service to fill that gap. The topic of innovation is very broad and here you can imagine whatever you want. Many veterinarians take this path and invent and come up with a new service.

In Conclusion

There are many career paths we can talk about and as the years go by, more and more new jobs will be created for those with a DVM or vet tech qualification. Here are just a few of the career paths you can take, but there are a lot of very interesting ways to apply the professional knowledge and skills of a veterinarian. Find out more about different career paths by reading our ‘day in the life of..’ articles!

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