Alternative titles for this job include Veterinary surgeon, veterinarian

Vets diagnose and treat sick or injured animals.

Average salary (a year)

£30,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 45 a week

You could work

on call as customers demand

How to become a vet

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course


You'll need to complete a veterinary degree approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Full-time veterinary degrees usually take 5 years.

If you already have a degree in a related subject, you may be able to take a 4-year graduate entry veterinary degree course.

You could serve as a vet in the British Army. You can join up during your degree. Find out more at:

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry

More Information


You'll need to get experience of working in a veterinary practice, plus experience of handling different animals from small domestic pets to larger livestock.

You could volunteer with a vet, a local kennel or animal welfare centre, or with animal charities like the PDSA or RSPCA.

More Information


Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Veterinary Association and British Small Animals Veterinary Association for professional development and networking opportunities.

You could join the British Equine Veterinary Association if you work with horses.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a vet from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Veterinary Association.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of animal medicine and dentistry
  • knowledge of biology
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

You may need a driving licence for some jobs.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In general veterinary practice you could:

  • diagnose and treat sick and injured animals
  • perform operations
  • carry out tests such as blood analysis, X-rays and scans
  • provide care for an animal in veterinary hospitals
  • carry out regular health checks and give vaccinations
  • check farm animals and advise how to stop diseases spreading
  • supervise veterinary nurses and support staff
  • keep records of treatments
  • communicate with pet owners and insurers
  • neuter animals to stop them breeding
  • put severely injured or terminally ill animals to sleep
  • follow public health and hygiene laws

Working environment

You could work at a veterinary practice, in remote rural areas or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors some of the time.

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

You could focus on treating particular animals, or specialise in areas such as dermatology or cardiology, by taking RCVS-approved postgraduate courses.

Experience in veterinary surgery could also help you to get a job in environmental conservation.

You could also move into a career in research and teaching with a university or research body.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a vet right now.

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