Become a Veterinarian: A Guide for Children

Are you between the ages of 8 and 12 years old and you want to become a veterinarian? I know exactly what you are going through. I am a veterinarian and I made my decision to become a veterinarian at 11 years of age. The truth is, you are at the age when most veterinarians make their career decision. Recently, I surveyed over a hundred veterinarians nationwide and 65% of them said they made their decision to become a veterinarian before they reached the age of 13. So you are in the most important years for a future veterinarian. Do all you can to explore animals and veterinary medicine right now!

OK, so I've got you ready to go, but what should you do? Let me be your guide on how to become a veterinarian. As a Vet for Kids, I focus my time on helping future animal doctors like you pursue their dreams. In fact, I recently connected with practicing veterinarians all over the country and I wanted to share the advice these veterinarians had for kids like you.

When I asked them how to become a veterinarian, by far, the top recommendation of the veterinarians I surveyed was for you to explore and study science as much as possible. When I meet children who want to be veterinarians, the first thing I tell them is "Many children love animals. It's so important to explore as much science as you can in school, but do not stop there.

Science does not only live in the classroom. Visit a museum, go to a science camp or get involved with a science club. If you want to have an even greater impact, you can help scientists collect data on animals. There are many national programs like the Great Backyard Bird count and local programs like amphibian monitoring sponsored by organizations throughout the country. You can go out in the area around your home and help scientists track the animal populations across our country.

The veterinarians I surveyed also recommended that you get as many "animal experiences" as possible. What this means is that, when they were younger, many practicing veterinarians found unique ways to be around pets and learn all they could about the science of animals. Some took the leading role in caring for their family pets, some fostered pets for the local animal Shelter and others pet-sat for their neighbors.

When I asked one veterinarian oncologist her advice on how to become a veterinarian, she shared what she did when she was young. She told me she made animals a part of everything she did at school. If she had to write a book report, it was always on an animal book. If she was drawing a picture for an art project, it was always of an animal. If she had to bring something in to share with the class, it was something she got from a trip to the local zoo or aquarium. Animals and the science of animals were a major part of everything she did at school.

So, there you have it. Remember, the key is to make sure that you are doing something everyday to become a veterinarian of tomorrow. As Walt Disney once said "All of our dreams can come true-if we have the courage to pursue them."

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