How do I become a vet?

  • Expert advice from HORSE magazine on the qualifications needed to become a vet

    Q: After many years working in the equestrian industry as an instructor, I would love to fulfil my dream of becoming a vet and working with horses.

    Please can you tell me where I can train, and also what qualifications I need to get on to a veterinary course.

    Jo Holmes MRCVS replies: There are six UK universities which haveveterinary schools: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Cambridge, London and Bristol.

    You should start by writing to all six, stating the qualifications you already have, and asking each one what you would require in order for them to consider taking you as a mature student.

    You may already have a related degree, such as zoology, which can assist in your bid for a place at veterinary school.

    If you haven’t, then it is quite likely that you will need to take A-levels in three of thefollowing subjects: biology, chemistry, maths or physics.

    School leavers who are applying for a place at veterinary school usually need to achieve three A grades at A-level.

    Nowadays, however, more emphasis is being placed on evidence of extra-curricular involvement with animals.

    This might include having a part-time job at a veterinary surgery, spending weeks job-shadowing your vet to see what is really involved and even working on a farm tending to pigs, sheep and cattle.

    Don’t just stick to horses as that could work against you. You’ll be trained to treat most domestic farm animals and pets – horses are just another category – and colleges look for ’rounded’ students.

    For mature students, academic requirements can be less demanding if you demonstrate real commitment to the profession, but each university will tell you what it expects of you prior to entry.

    Even if you get the required grades, you still need to go through the interview process successfully before being offered a place.

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