How to Become An Emergency Veterinarian

June 19, 2018

Many kids love animals, so a career that helps animals in distress can be very attractive to the right child. If your child is interested in such a career, offering the right support can help put your child on the right path. To get started, you'll want to know what an emergency veterinarian does and what your child needs to study in order to acheive this goal.  

What Does An Emergency Veterinarian Do?

An emergency veterinarian is a doctor who provides emergency treatment to animals in need. Animals may go to the emergency vet because of neurological problems, sicknesses, injuries, chronic conditions or even a troubled recovery after a surgery. In order to treat animals properly, emergency veterinarians must go to many years of school and must undergo years of training. They must also have the right disposition for the job.

Emergency veterinarians must have the ability to stay calm and think quickly in the midst of serious problems. They must have compassion for animals, a love of science, an ability to stay organized and excellent customer service skills. Most of all, emergency veterinarians must have a dedication to their profession, to be there when animals need them most. Emergency veterinarians treat animals in the midst of medical emergencies, when they are most vulnerable. A successful emergency vet will go the extra mile to help an animal in need. 

Early Education Foundations

Students interested in the emergency veterinarian career path must start by taking many science classes in their grade school and high school years. Those who know from an early age that this is what they want to do can take science courses, perform science experiments and study extra science lessons in school. With this strong science background, students can excel in the many courses that they must take in order to become an emergency vet. 

During this time, it's also helpful to become active with local animal shelters. This volunteer work helps children to develop a good instinct with animals, while also strengthening their college application. Parents can encourage their children to walk dogs in their neighborhood, take care of neighboring animals when their owners are out of town and care for animals at home.

Bachelor Degree

Students begin their college training by earning a bachelor degree in animal science. Throughout the course of their degree, they must take classes in molecular biology, animal anatomy and physiology, animal management, organic and inorganic chemistry, biology, animal nutrition, animal genetics, calculus, communications and so on.  

During this time, many students will get an internship or take a part time job working for a veterinary clinic. This enables students to see for themselves what it means to be a veterinarian and what skills are necessary to complete the work.   

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree

Once the bachelor degree is completed, students must go on to earn a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from a veterinary medical college. At this stage, students must take more in-depth courses on many of the same subjects they studied in college, including anatomy, nutrition, physiology, biology and chemistry.

Students must also take more courses that relate specifically to the profession of veterinary medicine, including virology, anesthesia, diagnostics and diagnostic imaging, animal anatomy and so on. Students are encouraged to go to conferences, review case studies and apply knowledge from recent research to the real-world situations where they will work.  

After several years of study, students begin a clinical study. The last year of training is spent at a veterinary hospital in the area, where students get even more experience working in a veterinary clinic. Here, students learn more about what it means to practice veterinary medicine, what kind of interactions veterinarians must have with patients and with their owners, and what else is involved in the business of having a veterinary clinic.

At the end of the final year, students take a licensing exam that enables them to practice veterinary medicine. Most states have additional requirements beyond this exam, so students who take the test must also investigate these requirements for the state where they plan to live. 


After studying general veterinary medicine, students must complete a veterinary residency program for emergency veterinarians. Here, residents develop the specialized skills specific to the practice of being an emergency veterinarian. Emergency veterinarians work long hours, sometimes on weekends, holidays, late at night and in the early hours of the morning. Residents learn to perform their job under stressful conditions while managing multiple high priority items at one time. 

Residents work directly with animals and their owners, under the supervision of an experienced emergency vet. During their training, students develop the advanced skills needed to save the lives of animals in the midst of medical distress. As in grad school, residents go to conferences and review case studies throughout their training. During this time, residents also learn the communication skills they'll need in order to communicate with animal owners and other professionals. 

At the end of three years, residents are ready to become an emergency veterinarian. Residents must pass the board examination in order to become certified as an emergency veterinarian. 

Get Your Child Started Now

The road to becoming an emergency veterinarian is a long one! Children who want to become a veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian can get started on their future careers through STEM subscription boxes.

This gift of the month club for kids is an excellent way to introduce your child to the science experiments and hands-on learning that makes homeschool science classes so effective. Kids science kits are the best way to help your child develop a passion for science. To get started, take a look at our  science kits for your homeschool child. 

Bonus Reading. 

Learning from Zoos! 11 Brilliant Mental Exercises for your Dog. The Dog Advisor

Creating a Bird Friendly Backyard

Jen Reviews

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