How to Become a Veterinarian in Hawaii

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Hawaii is a beautiful place to start a career as a veterinarian. Professionals in this field are well rewarded and can access various resources to ensure top-quality training.

As with anywhere else, an essential factor to guarantee a successful veterinary career in Hawaii is to be well-prepared even before starting the journey. A great deal of this has to do with understanding the key steps involved in the process beforehand.

To that end, the extensive guide below highlights the crucial considerations needed to become a successful veterinarian in Hawaii, along with other vital aspects such as top programs, possible certification, and projected salary figures.

Steps to Become a Veterinarian in Hawaii

Below are the critical steps in starting a veterinarian career in Hawaii.

Step 1: Choosing the Right College

Aspiring veterinarians in Hawaii must select the right undergraduate program before choosing the right vet school. Colleges and universities offering physical and biological science courses are the best fit.

While some vet schools don’t care about what a candidate majors in during their undergraduate time, others do. Taking business and social classes to improve communication and interpersonal skills is also advisable.

Step 2: Applying for Vet School

A few things give candidates an edge when applying for vet school. These include their undergraduate degree, GPA, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities.

It used to be expected for candidates to have to sit for a Graduate Record Exam, but that isn’t the case anymore. One important thing, however, is having hours of volunteer experience in animal clinics and other veterinary settings.

Step 3: Graduate from Vet School

Competition for admission into vet school is exceptionally high, but candidates who successfully get in will officially start their four-year journeys towards earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

The first 3 years include classes in topics such as animal anatomy, ophthalmology, and parasitology. The final year focuses more on real-world experience.

Candidates fulfill the latter requirement by participating in clinical rotations in surgery and oncology.

Step 4: NAVLE

All veterinarians must pass the North American Veterinary License Examination (NAVLE), regardless of the state wherein they practice. As we’ll see below, there are peculiar state requirements for licensure, but passing the NAVLE is a nationwide mandate to practice as a veterinarian legally and professionally.

It is common for veterinary students to take their NAVLE before they graduate from vet school, most likely during their senior year.

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Licensure & Certification Requirements

As mentioned above, Hawaii requires all veterinarians to have a NAVLE. However, the state also has some unique requirements that candidates must fulfill to practice legally.

Among these is a $130 licensing fee, which includes $100 for the application fee and $30 for the exam fee. Candidates must also pay an additional $360 or $180, depending on a few stipulated conditions.

Licensure must be renewed every two years through 20 hours of continuing education. The state also allows temporary licenses and shares reciprocity agreements with other states in the country.

Candidates should be prepared to provide their resumes, transcripts, and professional references.

Top Veterinary Schools in Hawaii

The following are some notable veterinary schools for interested candidates in Hawaii to consider.

Cornell University

Cornell University boasts a top veterinary medicine program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Regularly appearing on the list of the best vet schools in the world, Cornell University boasts a robust research program and opportunities for continuing education.

As expected, admission is quite competitive.

UC Davis

The veterinary medicine program at UC Davis is widely regarded as being one of the best vet schools in the entire country. Students here enjoy high-quality education, emphasizing being familiar with the practical applications of the theoretical topics they learn.

Consider exploring veterinarian schools in neighboring states:

Salary & Career Outlook

Once you become a veterinarian in Hawaii, you can look forward to an annual average salary of $134,804, the same as the national average. Starting, this figure may be closer to the average yearly wage of the bottom 10%, which is $87,757.

With time, however, a veterinarian in Hawaii can earn as much as $207,074, which is the annual average salary for the highest-paid vets in the state.

Time and experience are not the only factors that influence the annual average salary of a veterinarian in Hawaii. Location also plays a huge role.

In this regard, Hilo is the highest-paying city to be a veterinarian in Hawaii, with an annual average salary of $173,241. This is followed by Kahului and Kapolei, with average yearly wages of $147,822 and $142,302.

Wahiawa and Honolulu complete the top five with annual average salaries of $129,157 and $122,657 respectively.