Two vets checking out x-ray results for a dog one of them is holding.

Is It Hard To Be A Vet?

6 mins |

Every kid’s dream is to work with their favorite animal and their pet, so naturally, one of the most common answers to the question, “What is your dream job?” is “a veterinarian”. However, there aren’t overflowing numbers of vets in the world. So, is it hard to be a vet? 

Being a veterinarian is much more than just cuddling up to puppies and hanging out at the zoo. It requires emotional maturity, courage, and a lot of perseverance to be a vet, as well as to go through vet school. Veterinarians are one of the most knowledgeable professionals, and they work with a lot of different patients, as well as their owners, but it’s certainly not easy being one.

What Do Veterinarians Do?

Veterinarians offer care for animals that is comparable to what a doctor would offer to a patient. Not only do they take care of animal health, but they also strive to protect the public’s health by detecting and acting on diseases that affect humans as well. 

Examine animals to determine their health and identify any issues, wound care and dressing, performing animal surgery, illness diagnosis, vaccinations, operating medical tools like x-ray machines, informing animal owners on basic maintenance, providing medical advice, and many more are just part of the everyday life of a veterinarian.

Veterinarians are professionals with many skills and possibilities, so typically, there are many types of practicing veterinary medicine. Pets are treated by companion animal veterinarians. They treat mostly dogs and cats but also birds, ferrets, and rabbits.

Farm animals that are raised as food sources, such as pigs, cattle, and sheep, are the focus of the work of food animal veterinarians. 

Veterinarians that specialize in food safety and inspection examine and test animals and animal products for serious animal diseases. Additionally, they uphold governmental standards for the safety of food and plan and manage animal and public health programs.

The Patients Are Cuter, But Are They Harder To Deal With Than Humans?

The majority of dogs and cats exhibit nervous behaviors when they visit the vet. By using lower-stress handling approaches, vets can protect these patients from additional harm and enhance the experience of patients who do not exhibit scared behaviors. 

Animals may not complain and cry, but they do bite, hide, and run away. They take more time, they can’t answer questions, and often they are heavy to handle physically.

However, the human patient or client is even harder to manage because owners often have misinformation on a topic or get too emotional.

Being A Veterinarian – Pros And Cons

This type of career often is bittersweet. It really takes a lot of love to be a good veterinarian, so take a look at the pros and cons of it down below. 


The pros are the following:

  • Being a vet may be a very fulfilling career. It can be rewarding and worthwhile to diagnose, treat, and aid our beloved friends’ recovery.
  • Being a veterinarian entails more than just caring for ill and injured animals. The position also includes an emphasis on customer service and education, in addition to personal and professional growth.
  • Working as a vet is not an underpaying job. Veterinarian careers with entry-level pay start at around $59k per year, with some experienced vets earning up to $140k annually.


Being a vet has its bad sides too. Here are some of them:

  • Sick, hurt, or frightened animals may bite and scratch people. Injuries to the musculoskeletal system and dog and cat bites are frequent.
  • Many of the animals you come into contact with are probably quite ill. Infection, blood, feces, foul odors, and more could also be present. 
  • There is no doubt that euthanasia has a very serious emotional toll on vets, so one should be knowledgeable of supportive strategies for coping with the emotional aspects of performing euthanasia.
  • Although not exclusive to veterinarians, compassion fatigue is a problem for many people who work in the veterinary field.

Is It Hard To Become A Veterinarian?

A vet performing a checkup on a dog.
Dog getting checked out by a vet.

Becoming a vet is considered a difficult path. A four-year curriculum at a recognized college of veterinary medicine is a must for becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.)

Typically, applicants to veterinary medical schools must have taken courses in systemic physiology, biology, embryology, genetics, and biochemistry.

In order to practice as a veterinarian in the United States, one must possess a license. State-specific licensing requirements vary. However, all jurisdictions need aspiring vets to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

Most states need veterinarians to pass a state license exam in addition to completing the national exam as well. The test covers the rules and laws of each state. 

How Competitive Is Vet School?

Veterinary programs have competitive admissions. In the United States, there are only around 30 veterinary medical colleges. Every year, there are about 2,700 spots available, and there are many applications for them.

Admission requirements for veterinary programs vary. However, the majority of those accepted have already finished their undergraduate studies and obtained a bachelor’s degree.

Cost Of Vet School

The cost of becoming a veterinarian is made up of a variety of expenses, including tuition, lodging and board, books, transportation, and others. Expect to pay between $80,000 and $285,000 for your education tuition.

Emotional Preparation For The Career

You’ll develop better doctor-patient relationships and find it much simpler to deal with the moods and feelings of the animals you treat and the people who care for them if you have a strong sense of empathy.

Being able to converse and discuss the situation with the animal’s owners can help you understand the animal better and make treatment much simpler.

Veterinarian Jobs

Veterinarians can work in private practices and clinics, on the field, in zoos, racetracks, and in laboratories. Some veterinarians perform clinical research on issues relating to both human and animal health and utilize their expertise to defend humans against diseases spread by animals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some more answers to other related questions.

How Long Is Vet School, And What Does It Consist Of?

A four-year veterinary medical curriculum typically consists of classroom, laboratory, and clinical components. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine has to acquire a license before they practice, so it adds more to the time spent on the degree.

Is Vet School Harder Than Medical School?

Due to less competition (though it’s still fierce), getting into veterinary school is generally easier than getting into medical school, but it depends on the particular university. However, the hardship of the curriculum is all-in-all the same.

Final Words: Is It Hard To Be A Vet?

After reading our article, you may find yourself thinking about all of the things vets do, all of the things they’ve done to be DVMs, and it may seem like a lot.

As one of the most interesting professions, it offers a lot too though, so if you ask a veterinarian, “Is it hard to be a vet?” they will always say “maybe, but it’s worth it!” 

So, are you considering becoming a vet? Let us know in the comments below!

Sandra is a veterinary undergraduate student based in Macedonia. She combines her two passions: veterinary medicine and writing, and she also tends to raise awareness about animal welfare as much as she can. As a student, she has attended many seminars and conferences related to the veterinary profession, and currently, she is focused on veterinary content writing. Although she owns a cat, she strongly claims that “dogs are her favorite people”.