A degree in veterinary medicine qualifies you as a vet, but also opens doors to many other fascinating careers. Find out what else you can do
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Animal nutritionist
- Environmental consultant
- Higher education lecturer
- Nature conservation officer
- Research scientist (medical)
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Sales executive
- Science writer
- Veterinary nurse
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
During your course you have the opportunity to refine your skills on clinical placements in a variety of settings - this is usually completed outside of term time. You are expected to take responsibility for your own learning and get involved as much as you can.
Experience you gain from placements enables you to quickly get up to speed in your first role after graduation. If you have any particular interests, for example public health, you may wish to add relevant work placements in food production facilities or abattoirs, which may be helpful for work in government agencies.
If you think you may want to keep your options open for other science careers you can develop your scientific, research and lab skills further by spending an additional year at vet school as part of an intercalated degree. This means you graduate with both a veterinary medicine and a science degree.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
The majority of vets are employed by private practices, varying from small to large, including animal hospitals. Mixed practices provide a breadth of experience; alternatively you can specialise to care for particular animal groups such as exotic, small, farm, zoo/wildlife animals or horses.
There are opportunities in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which employs vets working in operational, research and policy sectors. Jobs are mostly found with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Veterinary Medicine Directorate (VMD) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Other opportunities exist within zoos, charitable organisations such as the Blue Cross, PDSA, RSPCA or Animal Health Trust, universities and the armed forces.
Skills for your CV
As a vocational degree, veterinary medicine equips you with the specialist knowledge and skills that qualify you to work as a vet straight after graduation. The degree covers all aspects of animal health and handling, legal, environmental and ethical issues relating to animal welfare and public health, as well as relevant business skills related to running a vet practice.
A veterinary medicine degree also provides you with other abilities that are valued by employers such as:
- analytical and evaluation skills
- customer care skills
- decision making ability
- interpersonal and teamworking skills
- oral and written communication skills
- problem solving ability
- project and time management skills
- self-motivation and initiative.
If you want to work in a specialised sector such as zoo health management, or in a specialist job, for example as a veterinary cardiologist then postgraduate study provides you with the necessary knowledge and skills that employers are looking for.
Many vets study for advanced professional qualifications while working. A Masters degree, which combines taught modules and a research project, will enable you to apply for jobs in your chosen field. Careers in academia and research require a PhD.
What do veterinary medicine graduates do?
The majority of graduates (92%) are employed six month after graduating. Of those in employment 95% are working as veterinary surgeons.
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Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.