If you enjoy learning about interesting jobs, find this article and more like it on Your Hot Job, TFK's career-focused website for kids. What does your future hold?
Arvid Edward never heard of veterinarians until he was in ninth grade. Then his German shepherd, Master, was hit by a car. Edward’s father took the dog to an animal hospital, where a vet saved Master’s life. “That’s when my interest was piqued,” Edward recalls.
Edward went to veterinary school at Tuskegee University, in Alabama. He’s been in professional practice for 25 years. Now he’s the medical director at the North Springs Animal Clinic, in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
TIME for Kids asked Dr. Edward what advice he’d give young people who hope to join the veterinary profession. Here are the key takeaways.
Take an interest in science. Like many high school students, Edward took biology. And when he found out there was a course in zoology , he signed up immediately. Each animal has its own anatomy, its own habitat, its own way of life, he says. For people who love science, that diversity can be fascinating, so many vets work with all different types of animals.
Do your homework. It’s important to maintain good grades in high school and college, and to select a college that offers classes in pre-veterinary science and animal science. You’ll need these credits to apply to veterinary school.
Expect veterinary school to be challenging. At the best veterinary schools, there’s a lot of hands-on work. Be prepared to dedicate yourself to your studies. In veterinary school, “you have no time,” Edward says. “You’re studying all day.”
Know that people hold veterinarians to a high standard. When people bring in a beloved pet, they expect a veterinarian to be perfect, Edward says. “You have to be confident and stand firm in your conviction when you tell clients, ‘This is what I think, and this is the avenue I want to take as far as treatment goes.’” Sometimes, a client will challenge you, but that’s okay. “People are very protective when it comes to their pets.”
Take care of yourself. Being a veterinarian can be stressful. Many of the animals you treat will get better, but not all of them. “Being a veterinarian takes a lot of discipline and determination,” Edward says. “All you can do is go out there and do the best you can every day.”