Those with an interest in large animal healthcare and a love for horses are often well suited for veterinarian equine jobs. Working with horses is a specialized field that requires extensive training, but once you've positioned yourself as a professional in the field, jobs shouldn't be hard to come by.
About Veterinarian Equine Jobs
Veterinarians who work with horses typically work from a private practice home base. They also spend a significant amount of time traveling to ranches, stables, and other facilities where their equine patients live. Many veterinarians who work with horses also work with a variety of additional large animals.
Becoming an Equine Veterinarian
In order to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), it is necessary to graduate from an accredited school of veterinary medicine. Graduates must also get licensed in the state in which they plan to practice. Individuals who wish to work with horses should concentrate their studies on large animal veterinary medicine.
Admission to veterinary school is highly competitive. There are only 28 Colleges of Veterinary Medicine in the United States. Fewer than half of the applicants are accepted each year. You can view a complete list of veterinary schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association on the organization's website.
A Bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for admission to vet school. Popular undergraduate majors for those planning to apply to veterinary school include: Pre-veterinary Studies, Biology, Dairy Science, Chemistry, and other related science fields.
In addition to completing a Bachelor's degree, veterinary school applicants must also take a standardized entrance exam, such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). If you are planning to apply to veterinary college, check with the schools you are interested in attending to verify which admissions test you should take.
Becoming an Equine Veterinary Technician
There are also job opportunities for individuals who want to work as veterinary technicians or assistants. This is a growing professional field that requires specialized skills and training. When researching options for training programs, it's important to select a program accredited by the AVMA. The complete list of AVMA accredited veterinary technician training programs may be seen at AVMA.org.
There are more veterinary technician programs than there are schools that award the D.V.M. credential. In the US, AVMA accredits approximately 145 training programs, the majority of which offer short term training programs. Some programs lead to four-year degrees, however.
Upon completion of training, those seeking employment as equine veterinary technicians should sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing this examination is required for licensure in many states, and is an asset even in those areas where it is not mandatory.
Where to Find Listings for Veterinarian Equine Jobs
It is very common for large animal practices who are recruiting staff members to reach out to training facilities for employee referrals. When you're looking for a job, it's a good idea to start with the career services or job placement office of the school where you received your training. The placement officers may be able to provide you with referrals to clinics throughout the country.
If you know where you want to live, you may also find it beneficial to contact the large animal clinics in the area that specialize in working with horses. Getting to know veterinary professionals in the region where you hope to work can help you make contacts that can lead to job offers.
There are also a few online job boards that list information about equine veterinary jobs. Some of the sites where you can find announcements about open jobs include:
- IHireVeterinary.com: Offers a free membership for searching veterinarian and vet tech positions nationwide
- JuJu Job Search Engine: A job search engine that compiles a number of veterinary job listings from different resources
- American Association for Equine Practitioners: Lists a small number of job listings offered through a national equine veterinary organization
- VetClick.com (UK jobs): Perfect if you're looking for veterinary opportunities in the UK
- Simply Hired: Another job search engine that compiles equine jobs from a number of sources
Is Equine Veterinary Medicine For You?
There are many career opportunities for credentialed and qualified equine veterinary professionals. Preparing for a career in this industry requires intense and highly specialized training, but taking care of horses can be very rewarding work. If you think you may be interested in pursuing jobs within the equine field, see if you can shadow a local equine vet for a few days, or offer to volunteer over the course of several months. Without seeing an equine vet in action, you won't truly understand the wide range of knowledge and service an equine vet has to provide. After seeing a vet in action, you'll have a better idea whether becoming a large-animal vet specializing horses is the right career move for you.