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Meet Arvid Edward. He first heard of veterinarians in ninth grade. He had a German shepherd. Its name was Master. Master was hit by a car. Edward’s dad took the dog to an animal hospital. A vet saved Master’s life. “That’s when my interest was piqued,” Edward recalls.
Edward went to veterinary school. He attended Tuskegee University, in Alabama. He’s been working as a vet for 25 years. Now he’s a medical director at the North Springs Animal Clinic. That’s in Sandy Springs, in Georgia.
TIME for Kids asked Dr. Edward what he’d tell young people who want to be veterinarians. Here are the takeaways.
Take an interest in science. In high school, Edward took biology. Then he found out there was a course in zoology . He signed up right away. Each animal has its own anatomy, he says. Each has its own way of life. He finds that fascinating. Many vets do. So they work with different types of animals.
Do your homework. It’s important to get good grades in high school and college. And pick a college that offers classes in pre-veterinary science and animal science. You’ll need these credits. They’ll help you apply to veterinary school.
Expect veterinary school to be hard. At the best veterinary schools, there’s a lot of hands-on work. Be prepared to study a lot. In veterinary school, “you’re studying all day,” Edward says.
People count on veterinarians. People love their pets. So when they take a pet to a veterinarian, they expect the veterinarian to be perfect, Edward says: “You have to be confident. Stand firm in your conviction when you tell clients, ‘This is what I think.’ People are very protective when it comes to their pets.”
Take care of yourself. The job can be stressful. “All you can do is go out there and do the best you can every day,” Edward says.