Alternative career options for veterinary graduates

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Many people assume anyone studying for – or just graduating from – a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVetMed) course is hoping to become... a vet, of course.

Plenty of options in domestic veterinary jobs exist, including:

  • general practice
  • specialising, such as becoming an equine or farm veterinarian
  • focusing on exotic animals
  • working with zoos

These, however, are not the only roads leading to a career working with animals. A number of possibilities are often overlooked, but are potentially as satisfying and rewarding as "traditional" veterinary jobs.

Three exciting sectors cater for a range of abilities and interests:

Other jobs with animals

Working with animals could take a number of routes, such as becoming an animal behaviourist, working with charities as an inspector (highly sought after) or in general animal care, or "back office jobs" in essential administration and support.

You might also consider specialising in:

  • animal nutrition
  • physiotherapy
  • working exclusively with dogs, cats or horses on a more specialist basis
  • veterinary pathology
  • working with Government agencies
  • veterinary chiropractice
  • veterinary practice management (where qualifications in business studies or marketing would help)

Working in industry

Industry offers a wide choice, especially if you like laboratory work or pharmacology. Research and development is a broad area in which many find a vocation – this may be in food and drug development.

There are also Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, which are collaborative partnerships between government, academia and industry. New graduates can get paid work on research projects while obtaining further qualifications and experience.

The NHS – and other public and private health organisations – are also keen recruiters of recently-graduated scientists, especially in coordinating research and trials.

Jobs in academia

To enter academia, you would normally need at least an MSc or, to be better placed in a competitive market, a PhD.

Then there are sales reps, toxicologists, toxicological pathologists, animal technologists/technicians, clinical and research scientists or conservation and environmental workers.

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