Veterinarian (DVM/DMD)

Getting Started

  • High School Courses
    • Students should take a college preparatory curriculum.
    • High school students should study mathematics, biology, chemistry and related courses.
    • Veterinary and animal experience is strongly suggested.
  • Education and Training
    • In Wisconsin the only School of Veterinarian Medicine (SVM) is at Madison. Complete curriculum can be seen at
    • A bachelor’s degree is not required for getting into veterinary school but almost all entering students have it.
    • Undergraduate prerequisite courses were discussed earlier.
    • UW-Madison SVM offers a DVM degree program consisting of 157 semester credits. The first 3 years each consist of 2 semesters; the 4th year begins immediately following the 3rd year in May and is 12 months long based primarily in the medical teaching hospital and clinic—does include 4 weeks of vacation. For more specific course work see
    • Licensed veterinarians must complete 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years to remain licensed.

    Educational Institutions

    University of Wisconsin – Madison


    Pre-Professional Programs

    Alverno College
    Beloit College
    Cardinal Stritch University
    Carroll University
    Carthage College
    Lawrence University
    Marian University
    Mount Mary College
    Northland College
    Ripon College
    St. Norbert College
    University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
    University of Wisconsin – Fond du Lac
    University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
    University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
    University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
    University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
    University of Wisconsin – Parkside
    University of Wisconsin – Platteville
    University of Wisconsin – River Falls
    University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
    University of Wisconsin – Stout
    University of Wisconsin – Superior
    University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
    Viterbo College

  • Method of Entry
    • Veterinarians must graduate from a 4-year program at an accredited school of veterinary medicine with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) AND obtain a license to practice.
    • Prerequisites for admission can vary by veterinary schools.
    • Some schools require prerequisite credit hours ranging from 45 – 90 semester hours – at the undergraduate level.
    • UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) requires 60 credits of college course work including 40-43 credits of required course work, plus a minimum of 17 credits of elective course work.
    • UW-Madison’s SVM undergraduate prerequisites are 4 or 5 semester credits of General Biology or Zoology, 3 semester credits of Genetics or Animal Breeding, 8 semester credits of General and Qualitative Chemistry, 3 semester credits of Organic Chemistry, 3 semester credits of Biochemistry, 6 semester credits of General Physics (2 semester lecture series or 3 terms at a quarter credit institution), 3 semester credits of Statistics, 6 semester credits of English Composition or Journalism, 6 semester credits of Social Sciences or Humanities.
    • Some programs require calculus; some require only statistics, college algebra and trigonometry, or precalculus; and others require no math at all.
    • Most schools require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); some require the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Currently, 21 schools require the GRE, 5 require the VCAT, and 2 accept the MCAT.
    • Veterinary schools place heavy consideration on a candidate’s veterinary and animal experience in admittance decisions. Formal experience, such as work with veterinarians or scientists in clinics, agribusiness, research, or some area of health science, is particularly advantageous.
    • Less formal experience, such as working with animals on a farm or ranch or at a stable or animal shelter, also is helpful.
    • There is keen competition for admission to veterinary school. Only about 1 in 3 applicants are accepted. Madison accepts only 80 students per year. As admission is VERY competitive, most applicants do have a bachelor’s degree.
    • Undergraduate degree or prerequisite courses can be completed at any accredited college or university. Choosing a school that has a high placement in Veterinarian School is suggested.
  • Professional Organizations

    American Animal Hospital Association
    12575 W. Bayaud Ave.
    Lakewood, CO, 80228
    800/252-2242 or 303/986-2800

    American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
    9190 Crestwyn Hills Dr.
    Memphis, TN, 38125

    American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
    PO Box 630
    Abingdon, MD, 21009

    American Veterinary Medical Association
    1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100
    Schaumburg, IL, 60173-4360
    800/248-2862 or 800/321-1473 or 847/925-8070

    Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
    1101 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 301
    Washington, DC, 20005

    Association of Avian Veterinarians
    PO Box 9
    Teaneck, NJ, 07666

    National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
    PO Box 1227
    Albert Lea, MN, 56007
    888/99NAVTA (62882)

    United States Animal Health Association
    4221 Mitchell Ave.
    St. Joseph, MO, 64507

    Veterinary Career Network
    888/491-8833, Ext. 1247

    Veterinary Hospital Managers Association
    PO Box 2280
    Alachua, FL, 32616-2280
    877/599-2707 or 518/433-8911

    Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association
    4610 S. Biltmore Lane, Suite 107
    Madison, WI, 53718

    Wisconsin Veterinary Practice Managers Association

    Wisconsin Veterinary Technician Association
    12321 W. Godsell Ave.
    Hales Corners, WI, 53130

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 1,690
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 78,300
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 85,200
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 9%
Expected Annual Openings: 1,900
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $78,793

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • Work long hours.
  • Well over one-third of full-time workers spending 50 or more hours on the job.
  • Solo practitioners can work extended and weekend hours, responding to emergencies or squeezing in unexpected appointments.
  • Practicing with a partner or a group allows one to take turns being on call for evenings, nights, or weekends.
  • Can become U.S. Government meat and poultry inspectors, disease-control workers, animal welfare and safety workers, epidemiologists, research assistants, or commissioned officers in the U.S. Public Health Service or various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • AVMA-recognized veterinary specialties—such as pathology, internal medicine, dentistry, nutrition, ophthalmology, surgery, radiology, preventive medicine, and laboratory animal medicine—are usually in the form of a 2-year internship.
  • Veterinarians who seek board certification in a specialty also must complete a 3- to 4-year residency program that provides intensive training in specialties such as internal medicine, oncology, radiology, surgery, dermatology, anesthesiology, neurology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and exotic small-animal medicine.