By Rebecca MacMillan BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS
The face of the veterinary industry across the world has changed over recent years. In the past, mixed practices were commonplace with vets regularly treating an array of large and small animals daily. However, now many more practices treat specific species e.g. small animals or equine patients only. Owner expectations are also higher, which means a rise in the number of referral practices and vets who are training for additional qualifications. As well as a shift in the way that we work in a clinical setting, there are also more and more flexible working opportunities available. This allows vets to use some of their other unique skill sets while still making a difference in animal welfare.
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This is the job that most people envisage doing when they train to be a vet, and the vast majority will work in general practice at some point in their careers. Some mixed practices do still exist and are a good option for vets who are unsure what their preferences are yet. Some vets will stay in mixed practice for their entire careers, enjoying the diversity the role brings. Others quickly find that small animal practice suits them better, or they might want to carve out a farm-only role. There are both independent practices and those run by corporates. Some first-opinion practices are quite small, run by one or two vets, whereas others are much larger with multiple branch surgeries. So, if one type of general practice doesn’t work out, then trying something different can help.
Some vets choose to work at referral hospitals, specialising in a particular field of veterinary medicine. They will usually have gone down an internship and residency route, gaining additional qualifications in their area of interest. There are now many different referral centres, so work is not just limited to the vet school hospitals.
Many general practices use an out-of-hours service to provide emergency cover in the evenings and at weekends. This is particularly the case for many of the smaller general practices that we mentioned earlier. Vets that work at an out-of-hours provider often have an interest in emergency medicine but may also find that shift work suits their lifestyle better. Here at The Vet Service, we offer a large range of Emergency Veterinarian Jobs globally, to find one that suits you contact us, as we would love to help you find your next job.
As well as a rise in referral centres, there are now more peripatetic vets. These vets have a keen interest or additional qualifications in their chosen field and will travel from practice to practice to offer their services. Examples include ultrasonographers who will come to different general practices to perform detailed ultrasound exams for them, or orthopaedic surgeons who will be able to see cases in a first opinion practice that would otherwise need referring.
With vets looking for more flexibility in their roles, perhaps to fit around family life or to help manage their mental health, locum work can be attractive. Locum vets provide much-needed cover for practices when their own employees are on leave or sick. Many locums build a rapport with their local practices and often end up revisiting the same ones over and over.
Check out the locum vet jobs available on our website.
Jobs exist as government vets, who are responsible for safeguarding animal and human health. They are involved in projects such as antimicrobial resistance or the emergence of exotic/imported diseases e.g. brucellosis.
Working at a charity hospital suits many vets. These busy charity hospitals provide care to pets whose owners qualify for help. The hours at charity hospitals can be more sociable than those in private practice and there is usually a large, interesting caseload. Opportunities exist in management and advisory capacities for charities too.
Teaching the next generation of vets, vet nurses or animal care assistants is something that some vets choose to do. Opportunities exist at the vet schools but also local colleges. Some vets decide to retrain altogether and use their science-based degrees to teach school students.
Vets that want to take a step back from clinical practice might investigate other roles, including telemedicine. The advantage of telemedicine is that you can work from home, triaging cases over the phone or on video calls.
Writing content for websites, such as blogs and advice articles, is something that many vets do now. A veterinary professional gives credibility to a website, boosting its profile and making it a more trusted source of information for owners. Some vets also write for magazines or edit other people’s work. The advantage of this role is that it can be done remotely (even from a different country!) and is much more flexible than a clinical job.
Some vets enjoy lab work so decide to pursue a role as a pathologist. Microscope work is a big part of this job, as well as writing reports for the vets that have sent the samples in. Some lab vets may also discuss cases and provide advice to fellow professionals over the phone.
Vets provide advice in a variety of capacities. For example, if an animal is involved on a film set then a vet will need to be available to ensure the working conditions are suitable and that the health of the animal is forefront. Veterinary advice and supervision are also needed at large animal sporting events, shows etc. Working for an insurance company to help advise in the claims department is another example of how vets can use their professional experience. Vets may also be called upon as professional witnesses in court cases.
High-end pet food brands employ veterinary nutritionists to help formulate their diets and oversee their quality. Some nutritionists also provide services to owners and fellow vets who want to formulate their own home-cooked diets.
There are so many job opportunities that exist for vets nowadays! This list isn’t inclusive by any means. Countless vets work all across the world in zoos, at wildlife hospitals, in conservation, as meat inspectors, as pharmaceutical reps and much more! It is worth noting that it is not uncommon for vets to do a mixture of roles as well. For example, a specialist vet working in a referral centre may also lecture, a vet in general practice might do freelance writing on the side and a locum vet could be doing some telemedicine in their spare time.
Are you looking for a different route to go down with your veterinary degree? Check out our blog, “How Do You Know It’s Time to Change Your Vet Job?” Dr Becky Nicholson gives some tips and tricks on your personal and professional goals and how you can find a career path that suits you.
Regardless of their role, all vets working will need to be registered with the governing body in the country they are working in, for more information on appropriate governing bodies get in touch with us at any time. Public liability insurance is recommended too (some employers will help to cover the cost of this). Hopefully, we’ve helped you to see that there is something to suit everyone, now you just need to choose which way you would like your veterinary career to go!
Get in touch with The Vet Service today to see how we can help you with your veterinary career. We can help you find tailored options globally including Vet jobs in the USA, Vet Jobs in Canada, Vet Jobs in Australia, Vet Jobs in New Zealand, Vet Jobs in the UK, and Vet Jobs in Ireland.