While the journey to become a veterinarian in Massachusetts requires rigorous training, comprehensive education, and much time and money, the investment can be advantageous and fulfilling.
Not only do professionals in the field enjoy working with animals of all sorts, but they are also very well respected and receive highly reasonable payouts for their expertise.
Below, we look into all the crucial considerations that an interested candidate in Massachusetts must know to start a career as a veterinarian in the state. These include the various educational, licensing, and certification requirements.
For the best possible education, we have also included a list containing some top accredited training programs around the state.
Steps to Become a Veterinarian in Massachusetts
Aspiring veterinarians in Massachusetts are advised to follow the steps below to start their careers on the right path.
Step 1: Choosing a College/Undergraduate Program
The overarching pathway to becoming a veterinarian in Massachusetts includes graduating high school, college, and vet school. In college, candidates have a choice between an array of undergraduate majors depending on the particular veterinary school they have in mind.
All in all, the four years of college should be considered as a preparation for what is to come in vet school. Candidates may leverage this moment to assemble a resume, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation to make their vet school admission easier.
Step 2: Choosing a Vet School
Veterinary school is where future veterinarians learn everything they need to know to be proper veterinarians. At this point in their journeys, they will also receive real-world experience through clinical rotations.
As mentioned earlier, admission into vet school is highly competitive. Prospective veterinarians must ensure they enroll in a vet school that the American Veterinary Medical Association accredits, and there are only just over 30 such schools.
Step 3: National License
To obtain the mandatory national license required for all veterinarians, veterinary students must pass an exam known as the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE).
Seniors may take this exam during the fall or spring, depending entirely on their preference. Those who want the luxury of retaking the exam may take it early during the fall.
Step 4: Specialization & Beyond
Technically, veterinarians who have earned their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and passed the NAVLE can start practicing professionally. However, some choose to undergo additional residency to acquire more specialty skills.
Specialists may also consider earning additional certification to validate their specialty skills.
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Licensure & Certification Requirements
Like all states in the country, the state of Massachusetts expects veterinarians to acquire a national license through the NAVLE and a state license. For the state license, the body in charge is the Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine, belonging to the Division of Occupational Licensure.
According to the board, candidates must pay a $188 fee, $71 for the initial license fee, and $117 for the application fee.
This license is expected to be renewed every year. Candidates are also expected to complete 15 hours of continuing education yearly. The board makes provision for temporary licenses and has reciprocity agreements. Candidates must provide their transcript and professional references and complete a background check.
Top Veterinary Schools in Massachusetts
The following are some of the most prominent, accredited veterinary colleges in and around Massachusetts.
Tufts University is the only college in Massachusetts that the American Veterinary Medical Association accredits. Tufts’ School of Veterinary Medicine is home to numerous respected professionals and a world-class Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.
Even though there is only one accredited College of veterinary medicine in Massachusetts, candidates may look to world-class programs in neighboring states as viable alternatives. These include Cornell University in Ithaca and Long Island University in Brookville, both in New York.
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Salary & Career Outlook
Aspiring veterinarians in Massachusetts will be happy to know that the average annual salary for an average veterinarian is $127,009. They will also be glad to know that even though starting, their average yearly salary may be closer to around $83,874, it is possible to scale this earning to as high as $192,328 with time and dedication.
The former is the figure given as the annual average for those in the bottom 10%, while the latter is for those in the top 10%.
Veterinarians in Massachusetts may consider securing employment in the highest-paying cities, which include Brookline, Westborough, and Templeton, with annual average salaries of $142,436, $142,302, and $142,302, respectively.
Mendon and Monson complete the top five highest-paying cities for veterinarians in Massachusetts, with annual average salaries of $142,302 and $141,764, respectively.