Three career paths for veterinary surgeons

Written by: vet times jobs
Published on: 3 May 2016

Three paths

Image © pablographix / Fotolia

Qualifying to be a vet is a huge achievement in itself, but it also opens a lot of doors as far as potential careers go.

You can choose to be a practising veterinary surgeon, to go into research and veterinary science or to study further and specialise.

Here, we outline a bit more information on these three key options to help you consider your options before deciding what is right for you.

1) Take a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons postgraduate course

If, after a while on the job, you are finding that you are really enjoying working in a particular area or with certain animals, you might want to think about completing further education in that field.

The Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP) is a great option which offers a flexible, modular approach to furthering your qualifications.

You design your own postgraduate course based on your interests and the relevance to the career path you wish to pursue.

2) Move into veterinary research

Another option open to you is to move away from practising as a vet and move towards the field of veterinary science.

This means you will focus on areas of animal pathology or behaviourism in a more research-based way. Doors then open to work in various fields, such as with animal charities and welfare organisations or perhaps looking at animal nutrition.

There are also various government agencies who employ veterinary scientists, such as DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

3) Work as a veterinary surgeon in general practice

It may seem like the obvious choice but it's also the one you most likely daydreamed about as a child – simply being a vet!

Whether you choose to work in a small animal practice, with farm animals, or both, being a practising veterinary surgeon is a hugely rewarding career that you will have put a lot of time and effort into achieving.

Once you've gained some experience, in smaller practices especially, you may be able to work towards becoming a partner or principal in a veterinary practice.