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A cat after surgery.
Antibiotics and morphine are delivered via various intravenous drips.

Veterinary medicine is the application of medical, diagnostic, surgical, dental, and therapeutic principles to companion, domestic, exotic, wildlife, and production animals. Veterinary science is vital to the study and protection of animal production practices, herd health and monitoring the spread of disease. It requires the acquisition and application of scientific knowledge in multiple disciplines and uses technical skills directed at disease prevention in both domestic and wild animals.

Veterinary medicine is the branch of science that deals with the application of medical, surgical, dental, diagnostic and therapeutic principles to pet, domestic, wildlife and livestock animals.

The field of veterinary medicine is a highly competitive yet under employed field of medicine. Today's veterinarians are doctors who are highly educated to protect both the health of animals and humans. The skills of highly qualified veterinarians are in constant demand and job opportunities within this field are endless. In order to be considered a qualified veterinarian there are many preparations to complete, the road is long and treacherous, and the competition is steep. Additionally, the career continues to change in dynamic, from income trends to gender distribution, these changes impact the field as a whole.


File:Asokanpillar2.jpg|A pillar in Vaishalimarker, India, displaying edicts of Emperor Asoka (272—231 BCE); the pillar records King Asoka building hospitals for both humans and animals.File:USArmyVetHospitalWWIOperationTable.jpg|"The Simplicity Equine," a portable operating table for horses used by the field veterinarians of the US Army Signal Corps in World War I.File:USArmyVetHospitalWWISurgeryPrep.jpg|An injured horse being secured to the vertically oriented table.File:USArmyVetHospitalWWIOperationInProgress.jpg|With the table rotated to its horizontal orientation and supported by a drum on one side and folding cot-like legs on the other, a veterinarian operates on a horse.
The Egyptianmarker Papyrus of Kahun (1900 BCE) and literature of the Vedic period in Indiamarker offer the first written records of veterinary medicine. One of the edicts of Ashoka reads: "Everywhere King Piyadasi (Asoka) erected two kinds of hospitals, hospitals for people and hospitals for animals. Where there were no healing herbs for people and animals, he ordered that they be bought and planted." The Talmud does state that no merries were exported from Egypt in Roman times without being subjected to a hysterectomy, which tend to prove that successful surgery was implemented in such an early period.

Modern Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary science helps human health through the careful monitoring of livestock, companion animal and wildlife health. Emerging zoonotic diseases around the globe require capabilities in epidemiology and infectious disease surveillance and control that are particularly well-suited to veterinary science's "herd health" approach.
File:AnimalHospitalEntrance.JPG|Entrance to an animal hospital in Massachusettsmarker displays the traditional veterinarian Rod of AsclepiusFile:AnimalHospitalWaitingRooms.jpg|Some animal hospitals have segregated waiting rooms for dogs and catsImage:Veterinary Surgeon.jpg|A veterinary surgeon in Cambridge, UKmarker at work with a black cat.File:AnimalHospital2009Patient&Bed.JPG|Patient, with clouded eyes, on day five of hospital stay as she recovers from second surgery.

File:AnimalHospitalOneWeek.jpg|Same patient after one week of hospital stay and third surgery. Eyes have cleared up.File:AnimalHospitalOneWeek2.jpg|Same patient, same day, in play. Yellow bandage protects intravenous insertion sites.File:AwaitingDischarge.jpg|Patient awaiting discharge after completing 11 days in the hospital.File:PatientBackHome11thDay.jpg|Patient back home where she is protected against her (and others') better instincts in a cage until the sutures from her multiple surgeries are removed. Cage is provided with kitty litter, food, and water.

Veterinary medicine is informally as old as the human/animal bond but in recent years has expanded exponentially because of the availability of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for most species. Animals nowadays often receive advanced medical, dental, and surgical care including insulin injections, root canals, hip replacements, cataract extractions, and pacemakers.

Veterinary specialization has become more common in recent years. Currently 20 veterinary specialties are recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), including anesthesiology, behavior, dermatology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology, neurology, radiology and surgery. In order to become a specialist, a veterinarian must complete additional training after graduation from veterinary school in the form of an internship and residency and then pass a rigorous examination.

Veterinarians assist in ensuring the quality, quantity, and security of food supplies by working to maintain the health of livestock and inspecting the meat itself. Veterinary scientists occupy important positions in biological, chemical, agricultural and pharmaceutical research.

In many countries, equine veterinary medicine is also a specialized field. Clinical work with horses involves mainly locomotor and orthopedic problems, digestive tract disorders (including equine colic, which is a major cause of death among domesticated horses), and respiratory tract infections and disease.

Zoologic medicine, which encompasses the healthcare of zoo and wild animal populations, is another veterinary specialty that has grown in importance and sophistication in recent years as wildlife conservation has become more urgent.

Today's Veterinarian

According to consumer surveys, veterinarians rank across the country as one of the most respected career paths. Veterinarians are encouraged to take an oath in which they swear to use their knowledge and skills for the overall benefit of society through protecting the health needs of every species of animal and also environmental protection, food safety, and public health. Many of today's veterinarians are dedicated to working long difficult hours to live out this oath in their respective practices"A Career in Veterinary Technology." Animal Health. 1 Apr. 2008. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2 Mar. 2009 / health/brochures/careers/technology_brochure.asp>..

There are many personal attributes that contribute to a successful career in veterinary medicine the most important being, a scientific mind, good communication skills, and management experience. Having a scientific mind consists of having an inquiring mind and a keen sense of observation. A career in veterinary medicine means a lifelong pursuit in scientific learning, so an interest in the biological sciences is a must and a genuine love and understanding of animals is crucial. Good communication skills are vital because veterinarians should be able to meet, talk, and work well with a variety of personalities and characters. Compassion is essential for success in the career field because they will be working directly with their animal client's human owners, who most likely have strong bonds with their pets. Many of the fields within the career require the veterinarians to manage other employees and businesses as a whole. These positions are made more rewarding and simpler if one has a background in basic management or leadership positions "A Career in Veterinary Technology." Animal Health. 1 Apr. 2008. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2 Mar. 2009 / health/brochures/careers/technology_brochure.asp>. .

A study was performed in attempts to discover professional identity and professionals' workplace learning based on a theoretical proposal. Veterinarians were found to approach workplace learning differently according to two key variables: perceived alignment with professional identity and perceived importance to professional practice. Differences were evident when comparing how DVMs approached learning about the medical aspects of their profession in contrast to practice management that consisted of non-medical disciplines that are a definite part of veterinary practice. It was common for these DVMs to associate their professional identity with scientific, medical, clinical disciplines but less common for these veterinarians to include the non-medical disciplinesSteele, Jim. Professional Identity and Professionals' Workplace Learning: A Theoretical Proposal (24 February 2008): 1-8. ERIC: Education Resources Information Center. George Fox University. Panama City, FL. 9 Mar. 2009 /> Path: Search Terms: Professional Identity in Veterinary Medicine; Entry #1..

For this study, two men by the names of Hoskin and Anderson-Gough in 2004 helped to lay a foundation with their explanation in the effects of disciplinary action on workplace learning. They found that educational systems that produce members of established disciplines tend to be highly specialized. This then resulted in significant influence on the type of content that is transmitted in the process of becoming qualified to practice a professional discipline. Furthermore, according to two men by the names of Lewis and Klausner in 2003 it was found that veterinary schools in the United States recognize that it is their role to be gatekeepers of the profession. They are beginning to understand the full responsibility for selecting candidates who have the skills to capitalize on their education and build a successful career. It is their responsibility because it is their institution that has a significant amount of influence in the type or personality of the individual that will then graduate with a degree to practice animal medicine. This personality is then directly correlated to whether or not the graduate succeeds in their profession or does not succeedSteele, Jim. Professional Identity and Professionals' Workplace Learning: A Theoretical Proposal (24 February 2008): 1-8. ERIC: Education Resources Information Center. George Fox University. Panama City, FL. 9 Mar. 2009 /> Path: Search Terms: Professional Identity in Veterinary Medicine; Entry #1..

Overview of Veterinary Medicine

As in the human health field, veterinary medicine (in practice) requires a diverse group of individuals to meet the needs of patients. In the year 2006, veterinarians held about 62,000 jobs. According to the America Veterinary Medical Association, about 3 of 4 veterinarians were employed in either an individual practice or a group practice. The other 1 of 4 was employed within the various other veterinary practices. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data that the Federal Government employs around 1,400 civilian veterinarians. These federally employed veterinarians were mostly placed into the US Departments of Agriculturemarker, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security. State and local governments also employ veterinarians within the following departments, colleges of veterinary medicine, medical schools, research laboratories, animal food companies, and pharmaceutical companies"Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition: Veterinarians." Bureau of Labor Statistics. 18 Dec. 2007. United States Department of Labor. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

Employment is expected to increase more than average and much faster in comparison to other career options, ensuring job opportunities in the field of vet medicine. It has been stated that this expected increase in near 35% over the next decade. This increase is a direct result of the increase of certain pet populations such as cats, the increased amount of pet owners willing to purchase pet insurance, which then increases the amount of treatment that the owner is willing to fund. Additionally, modern veterinary medicine has caught up to human medicine in many areas such as cancer treatment, preventative dental care, hip replacements, transplants, and blood transfusions. These medical advances have encouraged pet owners to take advantage of these new medical possibilities, likewise increasing the need for veterinary because of the increased demand. One other area of increased demand for veterinarians in seen in the continued support for public health and food and animal safety, national disease control programs, and biomedical research on human health problems"Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition: Veterinarians." Bureau of Labor Statistics. 18 Dec. 2007. United States Department of Labor. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

These job opportunities can be expected because there are only 28 accredited Veterinary medicine schools in the US, creating stiff competition for admittance into veterinary school. This small number of schools results in a limited number of graduates each year averaging around 2,700 each academic year"Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition: Veterinarians." Bureau of Labor Statistics. 18 Dec. 2007. United States Department of Labor. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

There continues to be a steady trend in the different fields of veterinary medicine, which doctors go into these respective fields, and what hours they usually take on to work. New graduates continue to be attracted to companion-animal or small animal practice because they prefer to work with pets and live/work in metropolitan areas. Therefore, employment opportunities are good in cities and suburbs but tend to be better in rural areas because fewer veterinarians compete to for work in those areas. Beginning veterinarians may take positions requiring evening or weekends to accommodate the extended hours of practice that many places offer. Then there are some veterinarians that take salaried positions in retail stores offering veterinary services whereas others that are self-employed have to work long and hard to establish a good client base. The number for large animal veterinarians is much less than that of companion or small animal veterinarians. This is directly correlated to the simple fact that most people do not want to live/work in rural or isolated areas. Nevertheless job prospects are great in the large-animal practice because of the previously stated tendencies. Finally, veterinarians with training or qualifications in food safety and security, animal health and welfare, and public health and epidemiology should have the best opportunities for a career within one of the departments of the Federal Government "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition: Veterinarians." Bureau of Labor Statistics. 18 Dec. 2007. United States Department of Labor. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

Threatening Veterinary Shortage

A shortage of veterinarians who treat farm animals is stressing the nation's food inspection system. This shortage is becoming so severe that it is prompting the federal government to offer bonuses and cover moving expenses to fill hundreds of empty employment opportunities. The result of this shortage is mainly due to veterinarians choosing to live in metropolitan areas and pursue a practice specializing in pets or small animals. The main scarcity is seen in veterinarians who treat farm animals or work as government inspectors. This then results in the shortage is most severe in the USA's Farm Belt, which is in the rural areas of the Midwest that is responsible for much of the nations meat productionCauchon, Dennis. "Vet Shortage Threatens Food System." USA Today 28 Feb. 2008. USA Today. 2 Mar. 2009 /usatoday.printthis, action=cpt& _N.htm&partnerID=1660>..

The American Veterinary Medical Association reported that there are roughly 500 counties that have large populations of food animals but no veterinarian to treat these animals. The common concern of a lesser salary in the farm animal field was disproven by the statistics showing that starting salaries for private practice veterinarians are generally higher than that of public practice veterinarians but after about 10 years of practice they roughly even out. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the number of veterinarians needed will just continue to increase to 22,000 by the year 2016. This would make it one of the fastest growing professions. The nations 28 veterinarian schools provide around 2,700 graduates a year, something that hasn't changed in three decades. However, something that has changed is the fact that the baby boomer generation, the generation that fills the employment for farm animals mostly, is retiring fast and therefore hastening the shortage Cauchon, Dennis. "Vet Shortage Threatens Food System." USA Today 28 Feb. 2008. USA Today. 2 Mar. 2009 /usatoday.printthis, action=cpt& _N.htm&partnerID=1660>..

Gender Distribution

Historically, veterinary medicine used to be a man's world. Nowadays most students in veterinary school are women and it was in 2005 that women become the majority. For instance, out of the 77 new doctors from Tufts Universitymarker 62 of them are women, 75 percent of 2002s graduates were women, and 81 percent of those from the University of California at Davismarker were women. According to the Employment Policy Foundation, the number of female veterinarians since 1991 has more than doubled the number to 24,356, while the number of male veterinarians has fallen 15 percent to 33,461. This trend will continue based on the statistics of the applicant pool and the gender distribution in the various veterinary schoolsZhao, Yilu. "Women Soon to be Majority of Veterinarians." New York Times 9 June 2002. Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care Collection. 2 Mar. 2009 /www.anapsid. org/vets/vetdermos.html>..

Women have also made these increased strides in other professions such as law and medicine, where the distribution is half and half but the number of women in veterinary medicine is shocking. Many veterinary students have reported that the reason for this is because veterinary salaries are not as competitive as those of other medical professions. Veterinarians average $70–80,000 a year whereas physicians can easily average $150,000 a year. This shift in gender distribution can also be attributed to the personality of this career and the qualities that would result in the most successful practice. Additionally, women are attracted to the flexible scheduling and part time physicians are not very common but part time veterinarians areZhao, Yilu. "Women Soon to be Majority of Veterinarians." New York Times 9 June 2002. Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care Collection. 2 Mar. 2009 /www.anapsid. org/vets/vetdermos.html>..

The shift of women becoming the majority in veterinary medicine have some negative effect in areas such as farm animal and food industry veterinarians causing them to suffer. This is because women tend to not go into these fields and consequently the shortage that is produced has negative effects on the community as a whole Zhao, Yilu. "Women Soon to be Majority of Veterinarians." New York Times 9 June 2002. Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care Collection. 2 Mar. 2009 /www.anapsid. org/vets/vetdermos.html>..


Veterinarians' incomes continued to increase from 2005-2007 but this increase is not expected to continue as much in the years of 2007-2009 Burns, Katie. "AVMA Survey Measures Income Trends to 2007." AVMA Journals (1 January 2009): Javma News. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2 Mar. 2009 />.. Salaries in the field of veterinary medicine vary depending on the individuals experience, responsibility, location geographically, and field of employment "A Career in Veterinary Technology." Animal Health. 1 Apr. 2008. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2 Mar. 2009 / health/brochures/careers/technology_brochure.asp>.. In particular at the end of 2007, veterinarians who worked in private practice earned more in comparison to many other areas of public practice and men still earned more than women Burns, Katie. "AVMA Survey Measures Income Trends to 2007." AVMA Journals (1 January 2009): Javma News. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

Furthermore, according to the survey done by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average starting salaries of new graduates in 2006 depended upon their respective fields of practice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition recorded the following
Large animals, exclusively: $61,029
Small animals, predominantly: 57,117
Small animals, exclusively: 56,241
Private clinical practice: 55,031
Large animals, predominately: 53,397
Mixed animals: 52,254
Equine (horses): 40,130

In addition in May 2006 the annual earnings of veterinarians was $71,990. This data ranges between fields, specialties, experience, and many other factors but the middle 50 percent noted in the data provided earned $43,530 and $94,880. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,530 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $133,150. In particular, the average annual salary for veterinarians in the Federal Government was $84,335 "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition: Veterinarians." Bureau of Labor Statistics. 18 Dec. 2007. United States Department of Labor. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

Veterinary incomes are up across the board, but some areas of employment are doing better than others, and the reasons for this were explored.

::From AVMA Survey, Katie Burns

The average income for private practice rose from $105,510 in 2005 to $115,447 in 2007. These increased values exceed those of public practice including uniformed services and government Burns, Katie. "AVMA Survey Measures Income Trends to 2007." AVMA Journals (1 January 2009): Javma News. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

::From AVMA Survey, Katie Burns

On almost the same scale of income disparities between specialists and non-specialists are men and women.

::From AVMA Survey, Katie Burns

The Road to Becoming a Veterinarian

The road to becoming a veterinarian is long and hard. Veterinarians must obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a state license. There is ample preparation one must complete before one is able to achieve this, and the competition for admission into veterinary school is steep. Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine must graduate with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree from a 4-year program at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. There are currently only 28 colleges in the US that meet the accreditation standards set by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). These colleges are as follows:Auburn Universitymarker, Colorado State Universitymarker, Cornell Universitymarker, Iowa State Universitymarker, Kansas State Universitymarker, Louisiana State Universitymarker, Michigan State Universitymarker, Mississippi State Universitymarker, North Carolina State Universitymarker, Ohio State Universitymarker, Oklahoma State Universitymarker, Oregon State Universitymarker, Purdue Universitymarker, Texas A&M Universitymarker, Tufts Universitymarker, Tuskegee Universitymarker, University of California, Davismarker, University of Floridamarker, University of Georgiamarker, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignmarker, University of Minnesotamarker, University of Missourimarker, University of Pennsylvaniamarker, University of Tennesseemarker, University of Wisconsin-Madisonmarker, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State Universitymarker, and Western University of Health Sciencesmarker

An alternative to becoming a licensed veterinarian with a doctorate is becoming a veterinary technician. Veterinary technicians are, essentially, veterinary nurses and are graduates of two or four year college-level programs and are legally qualified to assist veterinarians in many medical procedures. Veterinary assistants are not licensed by most states, but can be well-trained through programs offered in a variety of technical schools.

The prerequisites for admission to veterinary programs vary from school to school. But, interestingly enough, many programs do not require a bachelor's degree for entrance. Instead they require a number of credit hours that range from 45 to 90 semester hours at the undergraduate level. However, most of the students admitted have completed an undergraduate program and earned a bachelor's degree. So despite the fact that a bachelor's degree is not required, applicants without a degree are at a disadvantage.

Pre-veterinary courses should emphasize the sciences. Veterinary schools typically require applicants to have taken classes in organic and inorganic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, general biology, animal biology, animal nutrition, genetics, vertebrate embryology, cellular biology, microbiology, zoology, and systemic physiology. Additionally, some programs require calculus. On the other hand, some require only statistics, college algebra and trigonometry, or pre-calculus. Most veterinary schools also require some courses in English or literature, other humanities, and the social sciences as a basic background education. Furthermore, courses in general business management and career development are more and more becoming a standard part of the curriculum.

In addition to satisfying pre-veterinary course requirements, applicants must submit test scores from standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Examination , the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), or the Medical College Admission Test . The decision as to which test should be taken depends solely on the requirement of the college to which the applicant is applying. As of 2007, 22 schools require the GRE, 4 require the VCAT, and 2 accept the MCAT.

Admission to veterinary school is highly competitive with the number of qualified applicants admitted varying from year to year "A Career in Veterinary Technology." Animal Health. 1 Apr. 2008. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2 Mar. 2009 / health/brochures/careers/technology_brochure.asp>.. This is due in large part to the fact that the number of accredited veterinary colleges has remained largely the same since 1983, but the number of applicants has risen significantly. As a result, only about 1 in 3 applicants were accepted into veterinary school in 2005.

Approximately 80% of admitted students are female. In the early history of veterinary medicine of the USA, most veterinarians were males. However, in the 1990s this ratio was nearly even, and now it has been reversed. Most veterinary schools require their applicants to submit application through the Veterinary Medical College Application Service "A Career in Veterinary Technology." Animal Health. 1 Apr. 2008. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2 Mar. 2009 / health/brochures/careers/technology_brochure.asp>..

New graduates with a DVM cannot begin to practice veterinary medicine until they have received their license. In order to be licensed one must receive a passing grade on a national board examination, the North America Veterinary Licensing Exam. This exam must be completed over the course of eight hours and consists of 360 multiple-choice questions. This exam covers all aspects of veterinary medicine as well as visual material designed to test diagnostic skills. Unlike physicians of whom an academic internship is generally required (and 85% eventually board certify in one of a large number of specialties and subspecialties)veterinarians can enter practice after graduation and licensure. The percentage electing further study has increased, from 36.8% to 39.9% in 2008. 25% of those or about 9% of graduates were accepted into traditional academic internships. (2008 -696 graduates accepted a position in advanced study, 89.2% (621) accepted an internship (private practice, 74.5%; academic, 25.3%; and other internship, 0.2%). An additional 6.0% (42) accepted a residency). Approximately 9% of veterinarians eventually board certify in one of 20 specialties. reference/marketstats, JAVMA.233.7.1067,American Board of Medical Specialties web site>

Interns receive a small salary but often find that their internship experience leads to better paying opportunities later. Veterinarians who then wish to pursue board certification, in medical or surgical specialties (such as internal medicine, oncology, surgery, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology ), must complete a 3- to 4-year residency program that provides intensive training. Other specialties, such as epidemiology, toxicology, require a PhD training.>

When the application committee sits down to decide who gains admittance and who doesn't, many schools place heavy emphasis and consideration on a candidate's veterinary and animal experience. Formal experience is a particular advantage to the applicant. Formal experience consists of work with veterinarians or scientists in clinics, agribusiness, research, or some area of health science. Less formal experience is also helpful for the applicant to have and this includes working with animals on a farm or ranch or at a stable or animal shelter, basic overall animal exposure "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition: Veterinarians." Bureau of Labor Statistics. 18 Dec. 2007. United States Department of Labor. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

Admittance Comparison Between Veterinary and Medical School

It is common knowledge that admittance into either one of these professional schools is a definite struggle and the competition is stiff. However, one would be interested to know the similarities and differences between the admittance rates of these highly competitive medically focused professional schools.

The preparation for veterinary school is immense and the likelihood of acceptance is not in favor of the applicant. Nationwide in 2007, approximately 5.750 applicants competed for the 2.650 seats in the 28 accredited US veterinary schools. This statistic results in nationwide acceptance rate of 46 percent, less than half Griel, Lester C. "Advising Notes." Division of Undergraduate Studies. 7 Apr. 2008. The Pennsylvania State University. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

Likewise the preparation for medical school begins long before one fills out an application and the chances of gaining admission is slim. The seats are filled on a first come first served basis, so getting the application in as early as one can helps tremendously. Meaning as applications come in and interviews are given spots are filled. Therefore as the competition continues to increase, the number of seats continues to decrease. Medical school applications have decreased by about 8,000 from 45,000 applicants in 1994 to 37,000 applicants in 2005, while enrollment numbers have stayed consistent. Acceptance rates have increased from 38% to 48%, resulting in almost half of all applicants gaining admission to medical school but still having the odds of less than half "Medical School Application Process." 1 2007. 2 Mar. 2009 />..

Similarly both professional schools require mostly the same science and mathematic based prerequisites and emphasize importance in the same areas, such as academic record, experience, scores on standardized tests, and letters of recommendation. However, the difference lies in the level of competition. For admission in veterinary school the numbers competing are much smaller but the seats available are also much fewer than in comparison with medical school. Despite that fact, the overall acceptance rates are very similar. Both are less than half and they only vary by two percentage points.

WICHE: Veterinary School Financial Alternative

The Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) is one of three exchange programs of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Western states, in particular, can place their residents who are pursuing professional, graduate, and undergraduate programs, which are not available to them in their own state, at a financial disadvantage. These exchange programs are designed to help students in these disadvantageous situations another financial option and placing them on a more fair and even playing field. This is done so by providing the outbound students and their families the option to save money through reduced tuition arrangements.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education is based out of Boulder, Colorado and works hand in hand with 15 states to expand educational access and excellence for all of the citizens in the West region. WICHE promotes innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy among states and institutions. WICHE strengthens higher education's contributions to the region's social, economic, and civic life. The states that participate in WICHE include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

If selected to receive support, WICHE exchange students pay reduced levels of tuition. This usually consists of paying resident tuition in public institutions or reduced tuition at private schools. The home state of the students then pays a support fee to the admitting schools to help cover the cost of the students' education. Another advantage that WICHE students receive is that they are given some preference in admission selection process. Each state determines just how many fields and students they are willing and able to support. The fields that are to be chosen from are as follows dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry, and veterinary medicine.

In further detail for veterinary medicine in particular, a maximum WICHE support is limited to four academic years. The following states are in compliance with the WICHE program and will support students who wish to pursue a DVM Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. States with additional support arrangements include North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. The following veterinary Schools are those who are willing to receive students under support of the WICHE program University of California Davismarker, Colorado State Universitymarker, Oregon State Universitymarker, and Washington State Universitymarker.

Applying for support from the WICHE program is a technical process. If the field of study one wishes to pursue is supported by their state, they would then want to contact their state certifying officer for an application Certification by their individual state. This confirms only that they are a resident according to the definition established by their state, making them eligible for the exchange if sufficient funds are available in their state. This certification is important because some schools will not consider applications from nonresidents without this certification.

In most states, the deadline for receiving completed applications for this certification is October 15 of the year preceding their admission. However, a few states have earlier deadlines or accept late applications. In order to be sure of when their respective state deadline is, one would need to contact their state-certifying officer. In addition to applying for certification, they must also apply for admission to the schools of their choice that participate in WICHE's Professional Student Exchange Program and then follow all the necessary steps to be considered a certified WICHE student at their schools of interest.


  1. Thrusfield, page 2
  2. Finger, page 12
  3. Talmud Bably, tractate Chulin
  5. "Professional Student Exchange Program and WICHE." (21 February 2008): 1-25. ERIC: Education Resources Information Center. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Boulder, CO. 2 Mar. 2009 Path: Search Terms: Wiche Program; Entry #3.

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