Best Equine Vet Schools

Last Updated on May 27, 2024 by Team College Learners

When it comes to pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, choosing the right school is crucial. With many prestigious institutions offering top-notch programs, it can be challenging to determine which are the best veterinary schools in the world. According to recent rankings, the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, the University of California, Davis, and Cornell University are among the top veterinary schools globally. These schools are known for their outstanding faculty, cutting-edge research, and state-of-the-art facilities.

For prospective students interested in attending one of the top veterinary schools, there are certain admission requirements that must be met. Typically, applicants are required to have a strong academic background in the sciences, with coursework in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. They may also need to submit letters of recommendation, personal statements, and standardized test scores, such as the GRE or MCAT. Previous experience working with animals, either through internships, volunteer work, or employment, is often preferred as well.

For those looking to apply to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the admission process is highly competitive. In addition to meeting the basic requirements, applicants must also demonstrate a commitment to the field of veterinary medicine through their academic and extracurricular achievements. The school places a strong emphasis on diversity, leadership, and teamwork, so applicants who can showcase these qualities in their application will have a greater chance of being admitted. The admissions committee reviews each application holistically, taking into account not only academic performance but also personal qualities and experiences.

Top Equine Veterinary Colleges

Equine veterinary medicine is a challenging and competitive field. Finding a job in this specialty is made easier by attending a top school. There are a number of schools that offer a top-rate education in equine veterinary medicine. These schools have challenging curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities and experienced faculty.

Top 4 Top Equine Veterinary Colleges

Institution Type
Royal Veterinary College, University of London
United Kingdom
University of California, Davis
United States
Cornell University
United States
Vetsuisse Faculty Bern and Zurich

Equine Veterinary Students Welcome New Learning Tool – The Horse

Cornell University

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University‘s College of Veterinary Medicine is widely renowned as a top graduate program for aspiring veterinarians. Ranked as U.S. News and World Report’s top overall school for veterinary medicine, Cornell has one of the best equine veterinary programs. Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine is home to the Equine Performance Testing Clinic, where students can get hands-on experience treating horses and researching equine athletic health. Admission into Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine is highly competitive. The cost of attendance for the 2009-2010 school year was $20,870.

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine S3 016 Schurman Hall Ithaca, NY 14853-6401 607-255-2000

University of Pennsylvania

Another program ranked as one of the top by U.S. News and World Report is the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is home to one of the largest equine surgical facilities in the world. The New Bolton Center Campus, which houses the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals that treats over 6,000 patients a year, offers veterinary students a chance to get real equine clinical experience. As of 2010, the cost of attending for Pennsylvania residents is $30,902 and $39,486 for out-of-state students.

University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine 3800 Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA 19104 215-898-6846?

A&M University

Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science is rated in the top five veterinary schools by both U.S. News and World Report and Located in College Station, Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences offers a number of equine veterinary studies and specialties.

The Large Animal Clinic at A&M University treats horses around the clock, with an emergency care facility that is open 24 hours a day. Students specializing in equine veterinary medicine have plenty of opportunities for hand-on learning from experienced faculty and veterinary doctors at the Large Animal Clinic. Tuition to attend A&M Veterinary School is $14,374 for Texas residents and $25,174 for non-residents as of 2010.

Texas A&M Veterinary School Suite 101 – VMA College Station, TX 77843-4461 979-458-2095

Vet school prepared equine surgeon for his life's work - WCVM Today -  Western College of Veterinary Medicine - University of Saskatchewan

Equine Veterinarian: Career Summary, Job Outlook and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become an equine veterinarian. Learn about education requirements, licensing, job duties and employment outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

What Is an Equine Veterinarian?

Horses can be seen everywhere from rodeos to dressage meets to Olympic competitions. Equine vets are specialty veterinarians for horses. They can have their own clinics or work for barns or organizations that take care of or board a large number of horses. They need a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, and they may complete a postgraduate internship in equine care. Their duties could include examining horses to diagnose health problems, treating injuries, performing surgery, prescribing medication, euthanizing sick or injured horses, providing vaccinations and advising owners regarding the care of their horses. The following chart gives an overview of what you need to know to enter this profession.

Equine Veterinary Assistant Certificate | Post University
Degree RequiredBachelor’s degree & Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an accredited school
Education Field of StudyVeterinary medicine with specialization in horses
Training RequiredOptional 1-yr. internship available post-grad
Key SkillsProvide medical treatment & healthcare for horses; provide information on horse nutrition, breeding & housing
Licensure/Certification RequiredNorth American Veterinary Licensing Exam required; state license required; board certification optional
Job Growth (2018-2028 )18% increase for all veterinarians*
Average Salary (2018)$105,240 for all veterinarians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Become an Equine Veterinarian?

Some professional veterinary programs will admit students that do not have bachelor’s degrees, but if you have not earned a bachelor’s degree, you may struggle to be admitted. All programs require students to complete at least two to three years of pre-veterinary coursework from an undergraduate program. Undergrad classes should include animal and general biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, genetics and physics.

To become an equine veterinarian, you must obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from a college or university accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). A DVM program takes four years to complete. Generally, the first three years of the program involve coursework useful for all types of veterinary practice, such as anatomy, histology, veterinary neurobiology and reproductive physiology. The fourth year is dedicated to clinical rotations through several areas of veterinary care like large animal medicine, surgery, critical care and ambulatory care.

Many graduates of a DVM program opt to pursue a 1-year internship to gain further hands-on experience before entering practice. Organizations like the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians can connect you with an internship under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

After completion of your internship, you can specialize further by applying to a residency program for a subspecialty like sports medicine, radiology, theriogenology, large animal surgery or equine internal medicine. A residency program lasts 3-5 years and will prepare you to take a certification exam in your subspecialty.

What Licensing or Certification Do I Need?

Following graduation from a DVM program, you must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, which is provided by the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. You’re also required to obtain a license from the state in which you intend to practice. After you become a practicing veterinarian, you can become board certified in equine practice through the AMVA without a residency.

What Would My Job Duties Include?

As an equine veterinarian, you might provide assistance with reproduction and birthing, as well as medical care, including vaccinations, wound dressing, surgeries and procedures to repair mild bone breaks. You could care for all types of equines, like farm, ranch, race, performance or reproductive horses.

Equine veterinarians often travel to farms or ranches to perform their duties. You might also consult with ranchers and farmers regarding the feeding, housing and breeding of horses. You could also opt to work in a veterinary teaching hospital, where you would research new methods used to prevent and treat equine illnesses.

A day in the life of a veterinarian - Study Work Grow

What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for all veterinarians is expected to increase at a rate of about 18% from 2018-2028, which is much faster than average for all U.S. occupations ( The need for vets who work with farm animals, like equine veterinarians, may hold the best prospects since most veterinary graduates will enter small animal practices. In 2018, about 14% of veterinarians in private practice worked solely with horses. The BLS also reports that in May 2018, the average yearly salary for veterinarians in general was about $105,240.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include vet assistants and service workers who normally feed, groom and exercise farm or vet animals. These careers require a high school diploma or the equivalent. Bachelor’s degrees are needed for agricultural scientists, zoologists and biologists who all work in research and animal studies. Doctorates are needed if the alternative career of choice has to do with being a medical doctor, physician or surgeon.

Equine Veterinarian Schools and Colleges in the United States

There are many veterinary schools in the United States that can prepare students to become equine veterinarians. Prospective students should look for D.V.M. programs that offer specializations in equine medicine and opportunities for hands-on work with horses.

Top 10 Veterinary Schools

The following veterinary schools can prepare students to become equine veterinarians:

College/UniversityLocationInstitution TypeTuition (In-state, 2016-17)*
University of California – DavisDavis, CA4-year, Public$31,324
Cornell UniversityIthaca, NY4-year, Private$33,732
Colorado State UniversityFort Collins, CO4-year, Public$57,766 (non-sponsored)
North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, NC4-year, Public$18,516
Ohio State UniversityColumbus, OH4-year, Public$31,148
University of Wisconsin – MadisonMadison, WI4-year, Public$22,762
Texas A&M University – College StationCollege Station, TX4-year, Public$22,224
University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA4-year, Private$51,384
University of Minnesota – Twin CitiesMinneapolis, MN4-year, Public$31,420
Tufts UniversityMedford, MA4-year, Private$47,010

Source: *School websites

Equine Veterinarian |

School Selection Criteria

Here are some considerations for students who are choosing between veterinary schools:

  • Students who wish to specialize in horses should look for a school with residency options in equine medicine, equine surgery and equine theriogenology.
  • Schools in areas with large horse populations may be more attractive to those pursuing an equine specialization in veterinary medicine.
  • Ask about the student-to-faculty ratio as well as student pass rates and job placement rates.

Pre-Veterinary Programs

As there is no ‘pre-vet’ bachelor’s degree, many undergraduate schools offer a two- to three-year track that fulfills the prerequisites for admission to a veterinary medicine school. Tracks like these don’t award a degree in ‘pre-veterinary science’, but can be incorporated into another major such as biology, chemistry, zoology, animal science or biochemistry.

Master’s Degree Programs

Students can expect course work, research and possibly a thesis paper in an equine science master’s degree program. This 2-year program focuses on the particular specialization chosen, such as equine physiology, industry management or equine education.

D.V.M. and D.V.M.-Ph.D. Programs

Veterinarians will need to complete their D.V.M. in order to practice medicine on animals. D.V.M. programs typically include two to three years of lectures, labs and research, and then residencies diagnosing and treating animals alongside instructors. Total time required is approximately four years.

A combined degree of D.V.M.-Ph.D. includes the requirements for passing the veterinary board exams in addition to biomedical research skills, which students use to conduct research for a doctoral dissertation. Degrees chosen relate to the desired career paths of veterinary doctors and scientists.

Aspiring equine veterinarians can get relevant training at schools that have strong programs in clinical horse care.Next: View Schools.

Veterinarian (Equine): How Does One Become an Equine Veterinarian?

Research the requirements to become an equine veterinarian. Learn about the job description, and read about the step-by-step process to start a career in veterinary medicine.

Should I Be an Equine Veterinarian?

Equine veterinarians are animal doctors who provide medical care for horses. They examine, test and occasionally operate on or euthanize the animals. Travel to ranches and farms is often necessary, and equine vets may have to work outdoors in various types of weather conditions. In addition, surgeries sometimes have to be performed on site under dubious levels of cleanliness.

Career Requirements

Degree LevelDoctor of Veterinary Medicine
Licensure (Certification)Licensure required; certification available through the American Veterinary Medical Association.
ExperienceInternships or residency programs
Key SkillsCompassion; decision-making, communication, management, and problem-solving skills; manual dexterity
Median Salary (2018)$93,830 (for all veterinarians)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), O*Net Online

Equine veterinarians are known for their compassion for animals. They are capable decision makers and problem solvers. Communication skills are important, as are management skills and manual dexterity. In May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that veterinarians in general earned a median salary of $93,830.

Steps to Be an Equine Veterinarian

The education and training required for a career as an equine veterinarian are fairly rigid.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

While no specific major is necessary for pre-veterinary degrees, it is helpful to have undergraduate training in the sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, genetics, zoology and nutrition. Prerequisites for veterinary school may include coursework in math, English, humanities, social science and business. Most equine veterinarians hold bachelor’s degrees before entering veterinary school. However, some veterinary colleges admit students with only 45-90 undergraduate credits.

Complete an internship.

According to the BLS, equine veterinarians who complete an internship program before entering the practice generally experience greater employment opportunities and higher pay later in their careers. Internships typically last one year and offer paid, practical experience in equine medicine.

Step 2: Earn a Veterinary Medicine Degree

According to the BLS, admission to veterinary school has become increasingly competitive in the past few decades because the number of applicants has outgrown the number of colleges. Those with bachelor’s degrees have the best chances for admission. Admission requirements vary by school, but all applicants must sit for a standardized test, such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) or VCAT (Veterinary College Admission Test).

Veterinary school generally lasts four years and results in a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree. The first two years of veterinary school typically take place in the classroom and focus on biomedical science courses and preparation for clinical practice. In the last two years, students usually participate in clinical clerkships, gaining hands-on, animal care experience under the supervision of licensed veterinarians. During the fourth year, students can choose to complete clinical rotations in equine medicine, among other specialties. Some veterinary school graduates choose to enter clinical practice directly after earning a D.V.M. or V.M.D and obtaining state licensure.

Step 3: Obtain a License

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require veterinarians to be licensed. The requirements to earn a license vary from state to state, but all aspiring veterinarians must complete a veterinary training program and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. The exam is offered by the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME).

Step 4: Consider a Specialty

Some equine veterinarians pursue advanced training in a specialty, such as internal medicine, surgery, neurology, dentistry or preventive medicine. To become specialists, veterinarians must complete 3-4 years of residency training in an area of expertise approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Equine veterinarians are then eligible to apply for board certification in their specialties.

Equine veterinarians typically hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field, with an emphasis on science and math, although some schools will consider applicants who have earned a minimum number of undergraduate credits. Veterinary school takes four years to complete and includes a combination of classroom and clinical training. State licensing is required, and with additional training and testing, board certification in a specialty, such as equine care, is available.

Equine Veterinarian Career Profile and Duties


college of central florida: Equine Program

Study in the Horse Capitol of the World!

The Equine Studies Program provides opportunity and training for students passionate about horses and seeking employment opportunities. Beginning with a love of horses, students at CF learn about the industry, visit prominent farms and veterinary clinics, participate in labs at the college’s Vintage Farm and develop life skills. The program is not specific to any equine discipline, nor are riding lessons part of the curriculum. However, students are encouraged to work part-time at local farms or arrange working student positions with top trainers to expand their experiential learning.

Course work is a mix of science and business skills. The equine faculty at CF have Master’s degrees or Doctoral degrees in equine, animal science or veterinary medicine. Faculty are also engaged in the horse industry outside of the classroom. Everyday topics such as nutrition, health care, handling skills and equine behavior are part of the equine core curriculum.

Explore Degrees and Certificates

Equine Assistant Management, C.C.C.

The Equine Assistant Management certificate program is ideal for students who want to focus on only equine classes in a shorter program than the Associate in Science degree. This 24-credit program can be completed in a year and focuses on science and business skills essential to managing a horse farm or other equine business. The program has a core of six classes with two equine electives.

Upon completion of these programs, you should gain these skills:

  • Demonstrate employable skills of communication, ethics and responsibility
  • Understand controversial issues within the horse industry
  • Safely handle horses in various situations
  • Groom and care for horses
  • Provide health care and first aid for horses
  • Understand anatomy and physiology, especially as it pertains to performance horses
  • Perform essential barn skills, including inventory, staff training, record keeping, feeding and housing
  • Be knowledgeable of horse sports and competitions
  • Understand financial management of equine business
  • Know natural behaviors of horses and basic learning theory
  • Recognize lameness and poor health

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