How do I Become an Orthopedic Vet?

N. Madison
N. Madison

An orthopedic vet is an animal doctor who focuses on diseases and injuries that affect an animal's bones, joints, and muscles. The requirements you'll have to meet to become an orthopedic vet may depend on where you live. In most cases, you'll have to complete a veterinary program and then pass an exam to become a veterinarian. You may then have to complete a specialized training program that focuses on orthopedic surgery for animals. In addition, depending on the country in which you want to become an orthopedic vet, you may have to take a test to gain board certification.

Orthopedic veterinarians help treat animals suffering from musculoskeletal disorders.
Orthopedic veterinarians help treat animals suffering from musculoskeletal disorders.

Typically, completion of high school or earning an equivalency diploma is the first step you'll take toward becoming an orthopedic vet. Academic courses in math, science, and composition may provide a good foundation for college studies, but many colleges prefer applicants who are well rounded. This means your grades in electives and participation in extracurricular activities may also weigh heavily in gaining admittance to the college of your choice. In many jurisdictions, the results of standardized tests may be considered as well.

After you have completed high school or earned an equivalent diploma, you will usually have to earn a bachelor's degree in order to become an orthopedic vet. You can usually choose any major in preparation for becoming an orthopedic vet. You may, however, prepare for further education by choosing a science major. For example, majoring in biology, chemistry, or animal biology may help you prepare for post-undergrad veterinary studies. Earning high grades is typically important during college, but you may also boost your chances for admission to veterinary school by participating in internships that allow you to work with animals and learn more about their care.

Following college, you will usually have to take pre-admissions tests and complete a veterinary program to become an orthopedic vet. Veterinary school typically combines classroom work with hands-on, supervised experience working with animals. The length of the program may vary, depending on the jurisdiction in which you are enrolled. In many cases, however, veterinary school lasts for about four years.

You will likely have to pass exams after finishing school to become an orthopedic vet as well. In some jurisdictions, you may have to pass both a regional and a national exam to become a general veterinarian. Then, you may have to complete residency training to specialize in orthopedic surgical care of animals. In some places, this training may last for about three years, after which you may have to take another examination.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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