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Pre-veterinary Christian Colleges

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“But ask the animals and they will teach you…which of these does not know …that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature.” Job 12:7, 9 

Some individuals are born with a strong affinity for the sciences, coupled with a passion for helping animals. Maybe you can relate. A veterinarian takes on a helping profession where the goal is to preserve well-being and restore what has been broken in the created animal world. Veterinarians must meld science, technology and old-fashioned, compassionate caregiving.  Pre-veterinary is an educational track that helps lay a strong foundation for those whose goal is to get into Christian veterinary college. Though individuals applying to veterinary school have often earned other degrees, having a pre-veterinary degree helps distinguish you amongst the competition for this rigorous graduate program and ensures that you complete the prerequisite coursework required for admittance into the demanding world of veterinary school.

So, beyond a solid science/math aptitude and the desire to care for injured and diseased animals, what other skills and traits are necessary for success in this challenging field?

  • Driven. A pre-vet student must be prepared for hard work, discipline and perseverance. This degree is rigorous and demanding!  
  • Critical thinking. In order to diagnosis correctly and administer treatment effectively, it is important to be a careful problem-solver.
  • Compassionate. This is what drives excellent care. A successful veterinarian is one who acts with sincere empathy and concern.
  • Strong body and stomach. Not only is a certain degree of fitness desirable, but also the mental strength required to see animals suffering, and also to endure the possible kicks, bites and scratches that are inherent risks when working with sick animals.
  • Manual dexterity. Dressing wounds, administering shots, operating x-ray machines and other equipment is extremely hands-on work.
  • Teachable. Veterinary science is ever-evolving with new treatment options and advancements. To be competent you must stay current.
  • Flexible. You may be called upon to work long hours, administer round-the-clock emergency care, or show up in all kinds of weather conditions.

A typical pre-vet major typically takes four years to complete, followed by another four years of vet school. Generally, a pre-vet student should expect plenty of lab time behind the microscope, hours of research and a possible internship. While obtaining core classes in the humanities and social sciences you will also take plenty of math and science classes including:

  • Microbiology
  • Calculous
  • Statistics
  • Organic and Inorganic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics

Typically, the word veterinarian brings to mind the treating of pets in a private clinic. However, while 13% of vets are self-employed, others work in diverse settings including animal hospitals, laboratories, stockyards, feed lots, zoos, universities (in research or education) or for government organizations. Veterinary grad students (and beyond) sometimes branch into all sorts of animal-related specializations including everything from surgery to dentistry to equine science to animal optometry to anesthesiology. No matter what your specialization or future career goal, you can rest assured that a pre-vet trajectory will set you up for a rewarding and successful career! There is no end to the huge range of animal-related occupations that exist. With just a bachelor’s level pre-vet training you’ll be equipped for opportunities such as:

  • Animal nutritionist 
  • Veterinary assistant
  • Laboratory veterinary technician
  • Wildlife caregiver/rehabilitator
  • Animal shelter manager

If you enjoy soaking up scientific information and possess a deep concern for the health and welfare of animals, then maybe the next adventure God has for you is the choice of pre-vet studies!

A future in Pre-Veterinary

By Amber Gragert

Quite often veterinarians are those people who never outgrew their childhood love and fondness for animals. If you have a heart of compassion for creatures of all types and a mind for the science and medical fields then this course of study will be well suited for you.

Pre-veterinary studies is, of course a necessary step if you are interested in applying for veterinary school, and it may come as a surprise to students that admission into veterinary school is even more competitive than medical school. That said, when preparing and planning your undergraduate course of study - keep that fact in mind. There are only around 30 veterinary schools in the United States - so get your game face on. Most schools do not offer a specific pre-veterinary major, but that does not mean you should give up on that dream. Instead, students in this situation should choose another major such as biology. This is a solid solution as veterinary schools will primarily look for the same courses. This will also go to show and prove that you are serious about your veterinary ambitions and willing to get creative to accomplish it. As long as you complete the necessary general core requirements of the pre-veterinary preparatory track, you will be set well for admission into veterinary school.

Of course if you desire to be even more creative in your endeavor you could even consider courses for business and make it fit within your needs for veterinary school. It is just a matter of understanding the veterinary world and the needs of an animal clinic or office. Think government regulations and small business management - veterinary skills are not limited to the saving of cats and dogs. The understanding of a veterinarian’s long-term career and business needs will make you stand out in the competition for veterinary school admission. Pair that with a diverse course of study, full educational experiences, attention to detail, strong work ethic, a firm understanding of the sciences, stellar communication skills, and an unrelenting commitment to animal health - and you will be impossible to ignore.

Each school will have their own core requirements but in general course work required will include: General biology or zoology with labs, organic chemistry with labs, English, statistics, college algebra, pre-calculus, genetics, and microbiology, even human anatomy and physiology would be helpful when gaining entrance into veterinary school.

Networking in any job market is one of the keys to success. Getting hands-on experience through internships is a great way to network and learn the ins and outs of what you can do in the future. Veterinary clinics, small farms, and zoos are just a few examples of places to pursue an invaluable internship, part-time, or summer job.

Your interest alone, in the care of animals and making sure they receive the medical attention all of them will at some point need is all too important in this line of work. Veterinarians research, diagnose, and treat animal conditions; administer vaccinations; and even sometimes perform surgeries. You will be dealing with patients like household pets and farm animals to wildlife to large animals in captivity - along with their human caretakers. So if you are prepared for some hard work and up close and personal encounters with all sorts creatures from the animal kingdom then you are in good company in pre-veterinary studies.