How to Become a Veterinarian in Iowa

Without veterinarians, pets and animals of all shapes and sizes will not be able to receive the care and treatments they need to survive and thrive. And considering how much we depend on these animals for emotional and functional support, it is safe to say that without them, humans will also be unable to function as effectively as we should.

For this reason, demand for veterinarians continues to increase across the country. Anyone in Iowa looking to start a career in this field will be glad to know that the steps involved in the process are quite straightforward once they know what to expect from the start.

To that end, we have provided a comprehensive guide below explaining everything candidates must know to become successful veterinarians in Iowa.

Steps to Become a Veterinarian in Iowa

In Iowa, interested individuals are expected to follow the steps below to start their careers correctly.

Step 1: Prepare for College

The first step to becoming a veterinarian in Iowa is to prepare for life in college. Typically, that is also a way to prepare for life in vet school.

It involves maintaining a high GPA in high school; focusing on relevant physics, mathematics, and biology courses, and having strong ACT/SAT scores.

Step 2: Spend 4 Years in a Regular College Program

Ideally, candidates who meet the requirements above can secure admission into a regular college program.

To give themselves an edge in the veterinary college admission program, future veterinarians in college are advised to participate in extracurricular activities, volunteer in animal shelters, and take on leadership responsibilities if they can.

Step 3: Finish Vet School

During their time in vet school, candidates are expected to learn crucial topics such as animal health and disease, animal behavior, anatomy, parasitology, pharmacology, and veterinary physiology, among others.

A vet school graduate should be able to perform most of the fundamental duties of a veterinarian under the supervision of a licensed professional.

Veterinary school training typically lasts for 4 years.

Step 4: NAVLE, Hands-On Experience, & Specialization

Before they can call themselves licensed veterinarians, aspiring vets must pass a national NAVLE — North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

Candidates are expected to have real-world experience, which they would have acquired through clinical rotations. For better development, they may also participate in residencies and choose an area of specialization.

Consider Careers with Similar Paths:

Licensure and Certification Requirements

Like most states, veterinarians in Iowa are expected to register with the state board before they can practice professionally. For this, the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association sets the requirements.

Currently, it involves completing all the steps outlined above and paying a fee of $70 — $50 for the application, while $20 is for the actual licensing fee.

The veterinary license in Iowa lasts for 3 years and requires 60 hours of continuing education to renew.

Anyone seeking this license must also provide proof of citizenship and participate in a jurisprudence exam.

Top Veterinary Schools in Iowa

The following are the relevant accredited training programs for future veterinarians in Iowa to consider.

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Ames, IA Online + Campus

Candidates in Iowa looking for a top-class training program accredited by the AVMA may consider the option available at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames. This is the only accredited program in the entire state.

Read more
$30,669 - $63,089
  • (515) 294-1242


Notable Mentions

As it is in states with one accredited program, candidates may look to neighboring destinations for more alternatives. For those in Iowa, the most relevant options are the DVM programs at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul and the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbia.

Explore nearby states for education and training:

Salary & Career Outlook

The state of Iowa’s annual average salary for veterinarians is $100,099 — good enough to be in line with the national average. It is possible to scale this annual return as high as 173,580 and be among the highest earners in the state. Conversely, it is also possible to fall among the lowest earners, taking home an annual average salary of $57,725.

Experience and location are two criteria that veterinarians in Iowa may consider as the factors responsible for their current earnings. Their areas of specialty and employment establishments also play important roles.

Veterinarians in Iowa interested in working in the top cities for veterinarians in the state by salary may consider Bettendorf, with an average annual salary of $177,841, and Marshalltown, with an average annual salary of $142,302. They may also consider other cities in the top five, which include Ames, Davenport, and Cedar Falls, with annual average salaries of $118,243, $117,832, and $86,040, respectively.