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Veterinary School Prices
There are only 28 accredited veterinary schools in the United States, making entrance to one of the colleges a highly competitive process. Admission requirements vary depending on the school, but generally only about one-third of candidates are accepted.
In order to work as a veterinarian, you'll need a doctorate in veterinary medicine, or a DVM. Although a bachelor's degree is not always a prerequisite for DVM programs, most require 45 to 90 undergraduate hours. However, because veterinary school is so competitive, the vast majority of students have a bachelor's degree.
After the four-year doctorate program, you can practice as soon as you get a license. But many students decide to pursue a one-year internship, which can lead to better job opportunities. Anyone who then decides to pursue a board certification in a specialized veterinary field will spend another three to four years in a residency program.
Despite the long commitment and the expense of veterinary school, the job outlook for veterinarians is good. Salaries are high and a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report predicts demand for veterinarians will increase more than 30 percent by 2018.
If you don't have the time or finances to invest in a Doctorate of Vet Medicine or you just want to jump start your career, you should consider a degree in Veterinary Technology or Veterinary Assisting. A Vet Tech degree can take just two years (compare that to up to eight years to become a full blown veterinarian). If you just want to work with animals and assist a vet, then a veterinary assistant degree might be the right choice for you. Check out our featured Vet Tech and Vet Assistant Schools below:
Veterinary School Costs
Tuition for veterinary students runs about $10,000 to $40,000 per year, or $40,000 to $160,000 total for the four-year doctorate program. Add in the cost of housing, living expenses, books and fees, and the total cost for a doctorate in veterinary medicine can reach $120,000 to $250,000. That does not include the cost of a bachelor's degree or post-doctorate internships or programs.
- At NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, 2010-2011 tuition was $11,989 for in-state students and $34,752 for out-of state students. The total with all living expenses, books and fees was $29,707 for first-year, in-state students and $52,540 for first-year out-of-state students.
- Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University charged $39,360 for in-state students in 2010-2011 and $41,000 for out-of-state students. The total program budget for first-year students was $60,634. That includes, rent, food, utilities, books and fees, household expenses, health insurance and other miscellaneous expenses. A 12-month clinical program after the four-year doctorate ran $53,660.
The average application fee to veterinary schools in 2010 was $358, according to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
Paying for Veterinary School
Most veterinary programs span nine or 10 months per year, and few allow you to hold a part-time job during the school year to help pay for tuition. As a result, most vet school graduates have significant student loan debt. Some estimates place the average debt at nearly 200 percent of a veterinarian's starting salary.
Scholarship opportunities include the U.S. Army Health Profession Scholarship Program for Veterinarians, the American Kennel Club Veterinary Outreach Program, and the Veterinary Scholarship Trust of New England. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also have scholarship programs. Various state-specific programs also exist.
Financial aid and loans are available through the government. To find out if you qualify, fill out the government's Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
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