Being a veterinarian is a wonderful way to channel your love of animals into something practical and helpful for more than just the animals in your own home. Besides veterinarian, a lot of other professional opportunities exist that don’t require the same type of work or school commitment.
It’s important to note that working in pet care is a professional career path that can require several years of education or on-the-job experience. It’s important to make sure your professional and interviewing skills stay up to date while on the job hunt. Pay attention to any transferable skills you may have from other jobs that could apply to working in pet care.
Pets are an integral part of our lives, and as such, being a part the pet care industry means having a role that will help meet the needs of many different groups of people. By joining a pet care profession, you’ll get the chance to meet varied and diverse people. Additionally, you’ll always be helping people in some capacity — whether that’s feeding fish or helping train horses.
Once you decide to begin your journey in pet care, you should be excited! There’s a wide variety of opportunities in this field. Through trial and error, you’re sure to find something for your animal-loving soul.
Here are a few steps to follow to help you pursue a career in the vet industry:
Get Your Veterinary Degree
Being a veterinarian is essentially being a doctor for animals. This means preparing like you would if you were going to medical school. It’s generally recommended that you start taking the necessary classes to prepare you for a career in the health sciences as early as high school. Take any available science courses to get a sense of chemistry and biology and gauge how you enjoy those topics.
In college, you can study a physical science or a biology program depending on your preferences. Look into any undergraduate programs that offer “pre-veterinary sciences” courses to better prepare for you vet school. It’s also good to check what grad programs you want to apply to that best fits your bachelor’s.
Finally, you’ll apply for your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. The application process for each institution varies, so it’s important to start early to not rush the components for each one. Ask for advice and help from your professors and any pre-vet club associates you may have encountered during your undergrad years.
Once you’re accepted, then you’ll have another four years of schooling to complete. Depending on your program, it’ll consist of required and elective courses to technical hours in labs and clinics. This will give you the experience and skills you need before launching out into the world as a full-fledged veterinarian.
Other Pet Care Jobs
A veterinarian isn’t your only option, there are other pet care jobs if you’re passionate about working with animals. Everything from working in a vet’s office to being a professional dog walker. Either option will allow you to work with animals everyday with fewer school requirements.
If you want to work in a veterinary office, there are multiple options you can try. You can work the front desk, helping pet owners make appointments or finding the best food for their special furry friend. You could earn a veterinary technician certificate, where you’ll help vets every day treating animals and working with pet owners.
Additionally, you can work in a variety of animal boarding locations. This may mean working in a kennel that houses and cares for pets while their owners are away. You could help care for horses in large-scale facilities while their owners transition to new properties or on vacation.
If you’d like to go an alternative route, you can work with pets through holistic and massage healing. Being a pet masseuse involves helping animals feel their best in a physical and emotional capacity through massage. While it’s a new career field, it’s growing fast, massages help pets improve circulation and enhanced their range of motion.
Finally, you can always care for pets in their own homes or in yours by being a pet sitter. You can walk dogs every day or watch pets while their owners are on vacation.
Prepare Your Job Application Materials
Resume and Cover Letter
If you’re going to work in pet care, you’ll need to keep an updated resume and cover letter on file. If you’ve never written a resume or cover letter, there is no better time to start than now. They are integral parts of any person job-seeking for a professional career.
First, you should know there are some differences to understand between a CV, a resume, and a cover letter. If done correctly, your paperwork is supposed to complement and highlight your best professional skills.
Pertinent degrees or training should also be included in any job application materials submitted. For example, it’s essential to list where you’ve received your DVM if you have one, or if you’ve received any vet tech certificates that make you integral for the position. If you’re first entering your pet care career, then this may simply be listing that you have your bachelor’s.
If you’re in a position where you’re making a career change, then it’s possible to rescue some of your resume skills without having to entirely rewrite it. You can identify skills from your old job that are transferable to working in the pet care world and include those on your resume. For example, any time you’ve worked with customers, you can include customer service and client care on your resume.
If you’ve applied for a position in a veterinary office, then you will want to list any relevant skills for that environment. This can mean any experience you have working with animals — like cat sitting for your neighbors — or any experience working in other clinics you may have gathered over your career. Any computer skills or additional technical skills you may have can also make you an attractive candidate during the job search.
Nail Your Interview
Of course, just like any job, you’ll first have to be interviewed for the position before you’re hired on. This will be the part of your job search that pulls together all the different components you’ve worked on since high school. Despite the feeling of finality and potential stress associated with that statement, don’t worry!
You can ace any interview by following a few simple steps. First, get lots of rest the night before — at least 8 hours — as you’ll want to be fresh and ready for anything that happens the next day. Next, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to your interview location, accounting for any transportation issues, traffic, or timing issues you may encounter along the way.
It’s also helpful to do some research on the place you’re applying to and the people who will be interviewing you. You should be aware of any specialties or essential contributions that a clinic has made to the pet care community and what about those contributions is exciting for you personally. You should also know what kind of experience the people interviewing you have had as that may help you to know what sort of skills and backgrounds the business is interested in.
Additionally, you’ll also want to make sure you’re more than well-versed in the interview questions specific to your industry. Some developers have tests and puzzles they’re expected to know, and accountants always know what set of questions they’ll need to answer. The same goes for working in the pet care industry: You’ll need to know what questions are typical for a veterinarian interview or for a vet tech position, depending on your desired role.
Whatever path you decide to take, know that by joining the world of pet care jobs, you are helping to care for animals and simultaneously helping to ease the minds of the people who love them. It’s a worthwhile passion to pursue and one that helps a lot of people. You’ll know that you’ve done good for the lives of others and it was all in a day’s work.
About the Author
Frankie Wallace writes about a wide variety of different topics, from environmental issues to politics. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho.