The journey to become a veterinarian can be intimidating. One of the ways to make the entire process a lot more enjoyable is to be aware of what to expect right from the start.
This is the same for future veterinarians in Michigan as it is for future vets anywhere in the country. To that end, we have provided below an array of resources detailing all the key steps involved in starting a successful veterinary career in the state of Michigan.
Firstly, we look at the steps involved in the process before considering the licensure and certification requirements. We also provide an overview of some of the top accredited schools to feel while rounding up the salary and career outlook for veterinarians in Michigan based on various factors.
Steps to Become a Veterinarian in Michigan
Below are all the steps involved in starting a career as a veterinarian in Michigan.
Step 1: High School Preparation
Aspiring veterinarians in Michigan are advised to focus on subjects such as biology, animal science, chemistry, and mathematics in high school. It also helps to keep a high GPA and have strong SAT scores.
Step 2: Enrolling in a Degree Program
Veterinary colleges allow students to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Before they can do so, however, they must have a bachelor’s degree obtained from an undergraduate college program.
Generally, as a future veterinarian, there are specific fields that are more acceptable to acquire a bachelor’s degree than others. Going with science, and particularly animal science, related courses are generally a safe approach.
Some veterinary colleges accept all majors.
Step 3: Enrolling in a Veterinary School
Veterinary schools take four years to complete and usually strike a perfect balance between classroom instructions and real-world experience. Topics of focus typically include animal physiology, parasitology, ophthalmology, and pharmacology, among others.
Graduates who complete the program will leave with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
Step 4: Earning a License & Gaining Experience
The first license that all aspiring veterinarians must earn is the nationally mandated one, obtained by passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam.
The NAVLE is a computer-based exam consisting of 360 multiple-choice questions. From there, candidates can acquire real-world experience and choose a specialty area.
Step 5: Choosing a Specialty
Veterinary specialties include small-animal veterinary medicine, large-animal veterinary medicine, exotic-animal veterinary medicine, and research veterinary medicine, among others.
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Licensure & Certification Requirements
As a veterinarian in Michigan, having a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree and passing the NAVLE are essential steps to meet the state requirements for official registration. After the above steps, candidates must also pay a $239.70 fee and an application fee to receive a license valid for three years.
After every 3rd year, candidates must renew their license by paying a renewal fee and showing proof of participating in 45 hours of continuing education.
Candidates must also be prepared to send in their transcripts for proof of graduation from an accredited program and participate in a background check.
Top Veterinary Schools in Michigan
The following are some of the most prominent veterinary schools for aspiring vets in Michigan to consider.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University is home to the only AVMA-accredited veterinary college in the state. As highlighted on the program website, applicants who seek admission must complete prerequisite courses at regionally accredited institutions and be ready to go through an interview process before access can be given.
Applicants are also expected to have their letters of recommendation submitted on the school’s portal before the application closes.
A criminal background check is also required.
Even though there is only one veterinary program in Michigan that the American Veterinary Medical Association accredits, candidates may choose to look elsewhere to neighboring states for their training.
For instance, the state of Illinois has an accredited program at the University of Illinois, and the state of Ohio has an accredited program at Ohio State University.
Consider exploring veterinarian schools in neighboring States
Salary & Career Outlook
The annual average salary for veterinarians in Michigan is $117,131. Veterinarians in the state who are among the highest-paid will earn an average yearly salary of up to $178,622. In contrast, those among the lowest paid will earn an average annual wage of around $76,795.
As a veterinarian in the state, you may optimize factors such as location, establishment of employment, and areas of specialization and increase your experience level with time to move from the bottom part of the salary spectrum to being among the highest paid.
Concerning location, Swartz Creek and Traverse City are the top two highest-paying cities for veterinarians in Michigan, with annual average salaries of $142,302 and $140,861.
Kalamazoo, New Buffalo, and Detroit complete the top five with annual average salaries of $133,915, $122,573, and $115,706, respectively.