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Helping you find a career in the Veterinary science industry

A career in veterinary science will mean that your time is dedicated to helping animals and ensuring that they receive the best care possible. The work can be difficult, particularly when dealing with life or death situations, but it is also incredibly rewarding.

The two main roles within Veterinary Science are a veterinary surgeon or a veterinary nurse.

A nurse will be the helping hand to the vet and be responsible for looking after the animals that have to remain in the practice pre and post-surgery. You could also be involved in the surgery work through monitoring vitals, preparing the equipment and ensuring the area is sanitised. It’s very important and fast-paced work.

To be a vet you will need to have a Veterinary Medicine degree and you would be responsible for diagnosing and coming up with the treatment plans for sick animals, plus often doing surgeries or administering medicine. It is a very demanding role, both physically and mentally, but also has great rewards.

However, it’s not all about pets and veterinary science specialists are required for all animals across the country. Depending on the practice that you choose to work with you could be helping farm and zoo animals too.

It is likely that you will have to work unsociable hours, through either shift work or being on call, as animals could require emergency assistance at any time of the day. They don’t respect your alarm clock when they get ill!


Skills & interests required for a career in Veterinary science
Although you need to be precise and logical to work in veterinary science, a lot of the work will involve communicating with pet-owners and other professionals. It’s important to be able to break down complex problems and explain them to those who may not be as scientifically minded.

Also, you’ll need to be caring and passionate about helping animals. The work can be quite emotional, particularly when dealing with people’s pets, and you’ll need to display empathy whist still remaining professional and calm.

Most roles within veterinary science will require knowledge of animal biology to some degree. The specific requirements will depend on the role that you decide to pursue. Scientific advances are being made in this field all the time, so it’s also important to remain up to date on the latest developments.
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Veterinary science
Graduates in veterinary science will typically begin as an assistant before becoming a fully qualified vet. After this, you can choose to specialise in a number of different areas through further training. For example, you could specialise in a certain type of animal or surgical procedure.

Many vets also choose to move into research and development for private companies or working in government helping with policy-writing and research.

As a veterinary nurse you can also undergo extra training to develop your skillset and take on more responsibilities within a practice, which will help you move up the ladder. There will also be opportunities to move into managerial positions.

There is the option to specialise in a specific area of veterinary nursing, such as anaesthesia or rehabilitation. Some veterinary nurses decide to pursue a career in education to help others get their qualifications. You could take a mentor role within a practice or teach part-time at local colleges.

Of course, there is also the option to go back to your studies and pursue a career as a vet.
Tips for getting into the field
Work experience is absolutely required if you are going to be accepted onto a veterinary degree. Universities receive far more applications for veterinary courses than they can offer, and it’s those who have demonstrated their commitment the most that will get a place. To give yourself the best chance possible, you need to take on some voluntary work with animals – probably once a week – as soon as you can. Places you could volunteer include:

  • Stables

  • Kennels

  • Animal rescue centres

  • Veterinary surgeries.
How much can graduates earn in Veterinary science?
Newly qualified vets will earn £30,000 and with experience this could rise to £70,000+. Salary levels will be dependent upon your training and expertise. Those who climb the career ladder quickly have usually pursued extra training.

As a newly qualified veterinary nurse you could expect to earn around £20,500 and this will increase as you take on more responsibilities or extra qualifications.

The upper end of what you can expect to earn as a veterinary nurse is £28,000.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Veterinary science?
Becoming a vet is a very specific training programme. You need strong academic credentials and a Veterinary Medicine degree, which typically takes five or six years. After this you are able to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and practice as a vet.

There are currently eight institutions that offer an accredited veterinary degree:

  • Royal Veterinary College (RVC) ( London)

  • University of Bristol

  • University of Cambridge

  • University of Edinburgh

  • University of Glasgow

  • University of Liverpool

  • University of Nottingham

  • University of Surrey


To become a veterinary nurse requires a level three diploma in veterinary nursing, which can either be done full-time or alongside a job in a veterinary practice. This is significantly shorter and takes only two or three years.
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