How to Become a Veterinarian in Missouri

In Missouri, veterinarians are expected to fulfill specific educational and licensing requirements before starting a legitimate career as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in the state. Interested candidates will be glad that the guide below contains a comprehensive description of these steps and requirements.

We begin by providing an overview of the process of starting the journey before considering the national and state licensure requirements. We also look at some of the most prominent, accredited veterinary schools for interested individuals in the area to consider.

Lastly, we highlight the possible salary projection, including the percentile range and the factors that can influence which part of the salary spectrum a veterinarian in Missouri will fall into.

Steps to Become a Veterinarian in Missouri

All aspiring veterinarians in the state of Missouri would do well to follow the recommended path below to start their careers on a solid footing.

Step 1: Prepare for College and Vet School

In preparation for college and vet school, Missouri candidates may get acquainted with basic biology and physical sciences. High school students who envision becoming a vet doctor should also endeavor to keep their GPAs/SAT scores as high as possible.

Step 2: Attending College and Earning a Bachelor’s Degree

Attending college for a future veterinarian serves multiple purposes. For one, it is only possible to gain admission into a veterinary school (a postgraduate school) by first completing an undergraduate program.

Additionally, colleges prepare veterinary students for vet school, especially those who major in biological sciences and animal-related fields. Lastly, this moment may also serve as a learning point wherein candidates develop intangible interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills.

Step 3: Completing Vet School

Securing admission into vet school requires hard work and dedication. Moreover, candidates will have to apply themselves just as vigorously once they secure admission.

By the time they graduate, they will have earned their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, which they may use to secure employment or pursue their business avenue.

Step 4: The NAVLE

Before they complete vet school, particularly during the fourth and final year, veterinary medicine students must pass a national licensing examination known as the NAVLE.

The exam is computer-based and can be retaken for students who fail the first time. Within the NAVLE, practicing as a veterinarian in Missouri or anywhere else is impossible.

Lastly, once they graduate, vets may begin their careers by specializing in any popular veterinary medicine field.

Consider exploring careers with similar paths:

Licensure & Certification Requirements

In Missouri, candidates are expected to register with the state board (the Missouri Division of Professional Registrations’ Veterinary Medical Board) to be able to practice legally in the state.

Of course, before they can register, they must have passed their NAVLE and acquired their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

The board also asks for transcripts, professional references, and proof of citizenship/alien status. Candidates are not expected to pass a background check.

Registration includes a $200 fee — $100 for reciprocity or grade transfer and $150 for the actual registration. This license lasts for a year, after which it must be renewed. Candidates must also go through 10 hours of continuing education every year.

Top Veterinary Schools in Missouri

The following are some notable Veterinary schools for aspiring vets in Missouri to consider.

The University of Missouri-Columbia

Columbia, MO Online + Campus

The University of Missouri-Columbia is the only accredited vet school in Missouri. The school's College of Veterinary Medicine boasts an excellent DVM program with a mission to educate outstanding individuals.

Read more
$14,122 - $38,240 per Year
  • (573) 882-7786


Other Options

Even though there is only one accredited veterinary school in Missouri, candidates may consider other options, including Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, the University of Illinois in Illinois, and the University of Tennessee in Tennessee.

Consider exploring veterinarian schools in neighboring states:

Salary & Career Outlook

With an annual average salary of $106,162, veterinarians in Missouri earn practically the same as the national average. It should be noted that this figure pertains to those who fall into the middle of the salary spectrum.

For instance, with time and in the right location, veterinarians in Missouri may earn as high as $160,897, which should see them among the top 10%.

On the other hand, veterinarians in the state may also earn an annual average salary of $70,047, which would see them among the bottom 10% of earners.

Making location the predominant factor, veterinarians in Saint Joseph are the highest paid in the state, with an annual average salary of $120,348. They are followed by St. Louis, with an average yearly salary of $118,912, and Columbia, MO, with an annual average wage of $118,220.

Chesterfield and Poplar Bluff are among the top five highest-paying cities to be a veterinarian in Missouri, with an annual average salary of $113,760 and $112,375, respectively.