Students may feel the calling to become veterinarians if they are passionate about animals. But like any other medical path, becoming one takes a lot of passion, patience, and money. How exactly does veterinarian school cost?
According to the nonprofit organization VIN Foundation, the estimated total cost of veterinary school in the United States ranges from $150,000 to $420,000 for four years. This includes tuition and other fees, along with average living expenses.
However, plenty of factors affect the cost of veterinary education, which we will discuss in this article. Let’s find out exactly how much a veterinarian school costs!
How Much Is Vet School?
In the United States, vet school costs mainly depend on the school you apply to and whether you’re an in-state student. To start, the tuition fees in vet schools vary greatly. Public schools’ tuition fees are much lower than their private counterparts.
On top of that, in-state students pay less tuition compared to out-of-state students. Public educational institutions receive resident tax dollars to fund their operating expenses. So, in-state learners, or those who reside in households that contribute to the budget of state schools, get to pay a reduced tuition fee.
According to the cost comparison tool of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the four-year tuition costs for in-state residents ranged from $78,479 to $155,295, while the range was from $131,200 to $285,367 for out-of-state students.
Apart from tuition and fees, several factors should be taken into consideration when costing your veterinary education, which include:
- Textbooks and other miscellaneous school expenses
- Room and boarding
- Daily transportation fees
- Daily living expenses
- Personal expenses
Is Becoming a Vet Expensive?
It takes around 8 years to become a veterinarian - you’ll need to complete four years of undergraduate education and another four years of studying before earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.
So the short answer is yes, becoming a vet is generally expensive. Between the cost of tuition, living expenses, and the long education period, a lot of money is involved.
The application fee alone is not cheap. Like any other university application process, applicants must pay the school application fee. While the fee varies from school to school, many follow the fees dictated by AAVMC.
The association decides the cost of application fees based on how many schools you are applying to. For example, the application fee would be around $599 if you want to apply to four schools.
In addition, a student who graduates from vet school may either spend an additional year to receive specialty clinical training as an intern or two or more years of residency training. After this, they may take the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and state licensing exams. Once passed, the vet is ready to practice and choose to become board-certified in a medical or surgical specialty.
Veterinary specialty options include
- Equine medicine
- Zoo medicine
- Orthopedic surgery
Once you become a veterinarian, the learning never stops, as all states have established annual continuing education requirements that you must meet to retain your license. On top of that, many practicing vets opt to pursue additional specialty training to improve their career opportunities.
There are many certifications for veterinarians, including animal chiropractic care, veterinary dentistry, and ultrasound technology.
What is the Average Vet School Cost?
To give you a general idea of how much a vet school costs, we will list the top 10 most expensive and top 10 least expensive veterinary schools in the United States, according to AAMVC.
The figures we will display are the total cost of tuition for four years for in-state students.
Top 10 Most Expensive Vet Schools
- Vet School - In-State Tuition for Four Years
- University of California-Davis - $289,597
- Colorado State University - $269,863
- Ohio State University - $269,032
- University of Minnesota - $265,242
- University of Arizona - $258,631
- Cornell University - $256,572
- University of Wisconsin-Madison - $253,590
- Michigan State University - $252,436 (Explore more veterinarian schools in Michigan)
- University of Tennessee - $248,051
- University of Florida - $239,479
Top 10 Least Expensive Vet Schools
- Vet School - In-State Tuition for Four Years
- Mississippi State University - $210,861
- Virginia-Maryland Regional College - $212,845
- Texas A&M University - $211,018
- Washington State University - $202,673
- Texas Tech University - $197,611
- Iowa State University - $192,405
- Kansas State University - $188,952
- North Carolina State University - $182,627
- University of Georgia - $181,227 (Explore more vet schools in Georgia)
- Purdue University - $170,742
Factors that Contribute to Vet School Costs
Some factors greatly impact the cost of vet schools, including the following:
Living Expenses: Your cost of living will mainly depend on the school you attend, your state, and your general living expenses for 8 years or so. This includes housing, transportation, food, and other personal expenses.
Type of School: Public schools, which usually rely on local, state, or federal funding, cost much less compared to private schools, which are privately funded.
Residency: If you choose a school within your state, you’ll pay less in tuition and other fees than attending an out-of-state school.
How To Pay For Vet School?
Once you’ve chosen the vet school you want to attend, the next step is to figure out where to get the funds to pay for the tuition. Follow these steps:
1. Fill out the FAFSA Form.
The first step would be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will be submitted to the school you will attend, and they will use your FAFSA results to identify what type of federal student loans and other financial aid you qualify for.
2. Apply for Grants and Scholarships
Unlike student loans, grants and scholarships are the ideal way to pay for vet school as they do not have to be repaid. Depending on your FAFSA results, you might be eligible for school-based scholarships. You can also apply for as many grants as you want because there is no limit to how many you can get.
There are grants and scholarships designed for vet students, specifically the
- American Kennel Club (AKC) Veterinary Outreach Scholarships
- Animal Care Pennsylvania’s Veterinary Student Scholarship
- Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program
3. Participate in a Work-Study Program
Getting a job while studying veterinary can also help finance some of your school or personal expenses. You can apply for the federal work-study program if you’re struggling financially. Once approved, you will be provided with a part-time job.
These jobs may be on campus, for a private nonprofit, or a for-profit employer that your school has partnered with.
4. Apply for Federal Student Loans
If you need financial aid for school expenses, taking out a federal student loan is a good option; it offers federal protection and benefits like student loan forgiveness programs and income-driven repayment plans.
Veterinary school students typically qualify for these federal student loans:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Grad PLUS Loans
5. Utilize Private Student Loans
When you’ve exhausted the options above and still need funds for vet school, you can take out a private student loan. While these loans don’t offer federal protection, they come with advantages, like borrowing a higher amount than a federal loan and applying at any time.
Becoming a vet is a long and expensive process. However, plenty of options can help you pay for veterinary school. Once you’ve graduated and obtained your license, you’ll know that taking care of animals will all be worth it.