How to Become a Veterinarian in Tennessee

All veterinarians are trained to care for animals, treat diseases, and prevent future onset. It is also possible for veterinarians to specialize in particular fields to improve their career prospects and enjoy higher demand for their expertise.

However, understanding the duties and specialty areas are only some components to consider when starting a career as a veterinarian in Tennessee. The article below contains a detailed guide regarding everything interested individuals must know to start a potential veterinary career in the state on the best possible footing.

Steps to Become a Veterinarian in Tennessee

Below are the steps to starting a career as a veterinarian in Tennessee.

Step 1: Graduate High School

All aspiring veterinarians in Tennessee must have a high school diploma. However, what’s more important is that they spend their time in high school preparing for their undergraduate studies and vet school.

At this stage, paying attention to physical and biological science topics and developing an affinity for working with animals is paramount.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a bachelor’s degree is crucial in starting a successful career as a veterinarian anywhere in the country. Veterinary colleges are highly competitive, leaving prospective candidates having to do everything they can to build their resumes and make themselves more appealing to the admission board.

One of the ways to achieve this is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, achieve high-grade point averages, and gain some experience volunteering with establishments dealing with animals.

Step 3: Graduate Vet School

Four years of vet school is the most essential part of any journey to become a veterinarian. This time is spent learning classroom topics, including animal pharmacology, parasitology, ophthalmology, and veterinary practice.

Candidates will also spend some time acquiring real-world training and gaining experience in actual veterinary settings.

Step 4: Passing the NAVLE and Specializing

All aspiring vets in Tennessee must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, a multiple-choice exam required for national licensing. There are also additional requirements on a state level, but we’ll be taking an extensive look at those in the next section.

Lastly, it is also possible for veterinarians in the state to specialize in an array of areas, including practicing as exotic animal veterinarians, small animal veterinarians, and equine veterinarians, among others.

Explore other careers with similar paths:

Licensure & Certification Requirements

The Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners of the Tennessee Department of Health is in charge of licensing veterinarians in Tennessee at the state level.

To register, candidates must pay a fee of $135. $125 is for the application, while $10 is for registration. Those applying for a reciprocating license must pay a fee of $285.

Candidates must provide their transcripts and proof of citizenship and pass a background check. Verification of active practice is also required in applicable scenarios.

The Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners makes provision for temporary licenses.

Top Veterinary Schools in Tennessee

The following are the two AVMA-accredited veterinary schools in Tennessee.

Lincoln Memorial University

Harrogate, TN Online + Campus

Lincoln Memorial University is a beautiful, highly respected institution located in Harrogate. Unsurprisingly, the school has an excellent accredited veterinary medicine program that operates well.

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$25,180 - $26,448 per Year
  • (423) 869-6280


University of Tennessee

Knoxville, TN Online + Campus

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is another highly-respected institution in the state that also boasts an accredited veterinary college - the Richard A. Gillespie College of Veterinary Medicine. The school is dedicated to academic quality, innovation, professional excellence, and helping students develop a high community culture.

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$13,244 - $31,664
  • (865) 974-1111


Consider exploring Veterinarian schools in neighboring states:

Salary & Career Outlook

Data revealed from a survey of veterinarians in Tennessee carried out by Indeed showed that the annual average salary for an average veterinarian in the state is $113,105. The best part, however, is that the same data also reveal that professionals in this field may scale their earnings to as high as $159,838, putting them among the top 10% in the area.

Of course, when starting, individuals may begin in a lower-than-average salary range. Veterinarians in Tennessee who are among the bottom 10% earn an annual average salary of $80,035.

Experience and location all play a role in influencing these salary figures. For those looking to work in the highest paying cities in the state, they may consider Chattanooga, which is first on the list with an annual average salary of $138,755, followed by Munford and Franklin, which are second and third with an average yearly salary of $134,472 and $127,410.

Mount Juliet and Morristown are fourth and fifth, respectively, with an annual average salary of $118,367 and $113,040, respectively.