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Four Benefits of Not Going to Veterinary School and Becoming a Veterinarian

Updated on December 4, 2015
Reasons to Not Go to Veterinary School
It's stressful and consumes your life for four years.
You will be buried in debt.
Chances are, you won't be getting rich on the income anytime soon.
The unemployment rate could trap you with no money and too much debt.

From the age of five, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I sat down when I was in middle school and figured out exactly what path I needed to take, including what classes to take in high school and what college I needed to go to. I made it all the way through my junior year of college, applied for veterinary school, and didn't get it.

It was heartbreaking, right?


I spent six months leading up to the acceptance/rejection letter convincing myself that I wouldn't get in, so that if I didn't, it wouldn't hurt too much. You know what? Before those six months were over, I was okay with not getting in. Here's why.

Do you want to be a veterinarian?

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Not Spending Another Four Years in School

At that point, I had already spent three years in college. Four more years wasn't looking too appealing. That's four years where my life would be put on hold. I've heard all of the horror stories about veterinary school.

  • It takes over your life.
  • You're constantly studying.
  • You have to plan free time.
  • I wouldn't be able to go home to see my family very often, as they lived hours away.

All of this for four years was something I was not looking forward to.

Not Being in Some Serious Debt


There is a serious amount of debt associated with veterinary school. For example, the school I applied to would have left me about 150 thousand dollars in debt, and that's for the in-state tuition! That's the same cost as a house; my student loans would have left me basically pay another mortgage!

In 2012, according to the New York Times, tuition alone is $18 thousand in-state ($72K total) and $38 thousand out-of-state (152K total). Key word: tuition. That doesn't include living expenses, books, or extra expenses associated with certain classes.

This is a terrifying number. This is enough to scare anyone away from veterinary school. Consider all of the things you could have or money you could stash away if you aren't paying back those loans every month.

Not Working a Low Income Job

Depending on where you live, your income as a veterinarian may not be that great.

According to U.S. News, in 2013, the median veterinary salary was about $86 thousand. That sounds great, but that ranges anywhere from about $50 thousand to $150 thousand; the highest paid veterinarians work on the west coast (which is not a cheap place to live in).

When you break those numbers down, assuming $150 thousand in debt, you're debt to income ratio is anywhere from 1:1 to 3:1. Therefore, for every dollar you make, you owe anywhere from $1-3.

Not Dealing with Horrible Unemployment Rates


Finally, the unemployment rate in the veterinary field is challenging.

According to AVMA, in 2013, the national unemployment rate was 7.4%.

That means for every 14 licensed veterinarians, 1 is jobless, actively searching, and not having any luck. Granted, this again depends on where you live. For example, many highly populated cities are overrun with veterinarians, while some more rural areas might still need more hands.

Now, imagine being $150 thousand or more in debt and being jobless. Under these circumstances, many new graduates fall back on starting an internship to keep the student loan letters from showing up in the mail, even if they have no intention of specializing.

These are a few reasons to not go to veterinary school. It was enough to make me okay with not being accepted before I even got the rejection letter.

Do you get in to vet school? If not, how do you feel about it?


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