Mar 13, 2015

Learn what it takes to become a veterinarian at the 2015 Veterinary Medical Career Fair

Prospective veterinarians, including high school students or undergrads on a pre-professional veterinary track, should absolutely make a point of attending the 2015 Veterinary Medical Career Fair.  Sponsored by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the fair is scheduled for Sunday, March 15, from 2:30 to 5 p.m., at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

This is a terrific opportunity to meet veterinary medical school admissions officials, get advice on getting into veterinary school, and learn about various veterinary medical career opportunities.  And it’s one of very few college fairs targeted to students interested in pursuing careers in veterinary medicine.

Already gathered for an annual conference, representatives from national and international colleges of veterinary medicine will be on hand to walk students through the application process while explaining the kinds of credentials necessary to attend any of the AAVMC member institutions.

You may be surprised to learn that some veterinary medical schools are very interested in time spent in animal care related activities as early as high school.  In fact, prospective vets are well advised to start keeping track of their volunteer hours in activities related to animals or animal care throughout all four years of high school.

And we’re not just talking about cats and dogs!

“This year’s event will feature a talk on zoo and wildlife practice because we know so many students have visions of doing this type of work,” explained Lisa Greenhill, AAVMC associate executive director for institutional research and diversity. “We will also have a student discussing his undergraduate experience for the benefit of high school students; it’s a session they won’t want to miss.”

By the way, US News lists veterinary medicine among the 36 “best” health care jobs for 2015, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts there will be 25,000 new job openings in this field between 2012 and 2022.

To meet this need, some of the best-known veterinary programs in the country are expanding—some by as much as 50 percent, according to Inside Higher Ed.   Cornell University is planning a $63 million capital project to upgrade and expand its College of Veterinary Medicine, while Midwestern University’s veterinary college in Glendale recently welcomed its inaugural class of 102 students and a new veterinary college is on the drawing board for the University of Arizona in Tucson, bringing the total number of accredited veterinary colleges to 31.

And for high school students thinking ahead, the choice of undergraduate school could possibly fast track acceptance to veterinary medical colleges as opportunities exist for early admission to DVM programs by bypassing completion of the BS.  For students committed to the field, this could mean significant savings in terms of time and money!

This year’s AAVMC event will offer four information sessions in addition to the career fair:

  • 3:00 p.m.:  Selecting an Undergraduate Pre-Vet Program (for middle and high school attendees and parents)  OR My Veterinary Career (for all attendees)
  • 4:00 p.m.:  Zoo, Wildlife and Conservation Medicine (for all attendees) OR Preparing to Apply to Veterinary School (for undergraduate, graduate and post-grad attendees intending to apply to vet school in the next 1-2 years)

“Students visiting the career fair should remember to ask about summer programs and how to get veterinary-related experience while still in high school,” suggested Ms. Greenhill. “Research programs are available with undergraduate ‘feeder’ opportunities at some vet schools.”

And there are prizes for inquiring students.

“Once again, we will have some of our limited edition ‘I’m a Future Vet’ t-shirts,” said Ms. Greenhill.  Twenty items, including some surprises, will be given to students who answer questions throughout our information sessions on Sunday, so get ready to engage with our speakers!” 

Although not required, students are asked to register in advance for the fair. Last year’s event was very well attended, and early registration helps conference organizers do a better job.  And note that while hourly parking is available at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, students and their families are strongly encouraged to take the Metro (Red Line exiting at the Woodley Park/Zoo Station).

But if you can't attend, take the time to check out the AAVMC website for information on how to become a veterinarian, including links to a new set of webinars designed to introduce students to the veterianary application process.

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