How To Become A Vet Later In Life

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

It’s absolutely going to be worth it reading through the article below as it gives you valuable information on how to become a vet later in life, becoming a vet as a second career, graduate entry veterinary medicine & how long does it take to become a vet.  All you just have to do is read on to get the full details.

What’s more? You will find out related posts on how to become a vet nurse, youngest age to be a veterinarian & how to become a veterinarian on collegelearners.

When it comes to a career in the veterinary profession, we expect that most people will have dreamed about it from a young age. They had a passion while they were at school, chose the appropriate A-Levels, completed a veterinary science degree and then started out on their career path.

However, some people might not consider becoming a vet until later in life. A career change can be really refreshing, and what better career to choose than one where you’re caring for animals on a daily basis?

In this blog, we take a look at some tips for those wanting to become a vet later in their life, including the process you need to take and things to consider before making this important decision. It’s important to bear in mind that becoming a vet is very competitive and challenging, but if you believe you’ve got the potential, it’s worth reading more!

Becoming a Vet later in life UK

The first step in the process is having the relevant A-Level (or equivalent) qualifications so that you can apply to be a mature student on a veterinary science course. You may have already achieved these at school or, if not, there will be opportunities for you to study for and sit these exams at a local college.

UK universities that offer veterinary science will have a number of places available to mature students as they wish to show diversity in their intake. However, their entry requirements are very high and require academic rigor; most courses will accept a minimum of AAB at A-Level, with an average offer of AAA.

If you already meet these requirements, or you believe you have the potential to, this next step is to gain some relevant work experience while you are studying. You can find work experience at veterinary practices, farms, stables and more – anywhere that involves caring for animals.

Once you have the experience and the relevant qualifications, you can try applying to veterinary science courses in the UK. Only 9 universities in the UK offer veterinary medicine, which does make it a competitive course!

The application typically involves the usual application through UCAS including a personal statement relating to why you want to study on the course, an admissions examination and an interview. Then, it’s simply a process of waiting to see if you’ve been successful! If you don’t get any offers the first time around, universities welcome previous applications so you can always try again. 

The veterinary medicine course itself is usually 5 or 6 years and involves both academic and practical applications of knowledge. Once you graduate, you will need to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Things to consider before making your decision

Costs of studying

First of all, it’s important to be aware of the financial implications of studying to become a vet. The veterinary profession does offer excellent salary opportunities, but you will need to spend money on education in order to get there.

You will need to pay to sit your A-Level exams and the university tuition fees are also a large cost to consider. You might be eligible for a loan or even a grant, so make sure to do your research into funding options for university. 

Academic demands

If you are already considering becoming a vet, you likely have the dedication needed to complete all the relevant exams and studies. It’s important to realise that you will need to commit a lot of time and energy to your studies in order to be successful in gaining a place on a veterinary medicine course.

Even after that, the course itself is five or six years long! So you need to be certain that you are ready to go back to the world of academic learning for a long period of time.

Long hours on the job and physical demands

Once you qualify as a vet, you will be entering a career which demands a lot of your time. If you are passionate and dedicated, as we’re sure you are, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. However, as we get older, it can be harder to keep up with long working hours, so this is something to bear in mind before you make your decision.

We hope this blog has helped you understand a little more about the process requirements for becoming a vet in later life. This hasn’t been intended to put you off, just to explain what is required for this demanding career choice. 

Many vets do qualify in later life and, if you have the intelligence, passion and determination needed, there is no reason not to give it a try!

How Long to become a Vet

Vet school takes about eight years of higher education to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM), including four years of relevant study in college or university and four years in veterinarian school

How to become a Vet Nurse

Here are some steps you can take to become a veterinary nurse:

1. Graduate from high school

In order to attend veterinary school, complete your high school education or earn a GED. While in school, focus on science and math since those subjects can be important in the veterinary field for various tasks such as weighing animals and measuring medicine dosages.

2. Gain experience with animals

Because work experience is usually a requirement for finding a job as a veterinary nurse, it is helpful to gain experience with animals early on. This can help you learn if being a veterinary nurse is a job you would be interested in and want to pursue an education for. Besides volunteering at a veterinarian clinic, consider other animal environments such as your local animal shelter or kennel.

3. Attend a nursing program

You can earn a veterinary nursing degree through a college accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Veterinary nurses can earn either a two-year degree to become a veterinary technician, or a four-year degree to become a veterinary technologist. Classes cover related topics, such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Small animal nursing
  • Preventive health care

3. Get licensed

Most veterinary nurse positions require being licensed. Research the requirements for your state so you can prepare to get your license to practice as a nurse.

4. Earn a certification

Depending on where you are located, you may also want to earn a related certification in animal studies, veterinary nursing or another related field. Earning a certificate can help you specialize your knowledge in the industry and become more marketable for jobs. You can earn a certificate online, and it typically takes less than a year to complete.

Skills for a veterinary nurse

Below are some skills needed to help a veterinary nurse excel:

  • Communication: A veterinary nurse works with a veterinarian, other staff and talks with an animal’s owner about the animal’s condition and treatment plan, so being able to communicate clearly is helpful.
  • Teamwork: Veterinary nurses work with a veterinarian and other veterinarian employees together to accomplish the overall goal of helping animals.
  • Animal anatomy: To help veterinarians work on a particular part of an animal’s body, a veterinary nurse learns and is knowledgeable about animal anatomy.
  • Compassion: Veterinary nurses may often have to give disappointing or concerning information to an animal’s owner so it’s important to be compassionate and understanding.
  • Patient care: An understanding of patient care, or how to prevent and treat diseases and injuries can help veterinary nurses in their role of assisting veterinarians.
  • Physical stamina: To perform tasks, veterinary nurses use physical strength when lifting animals to examination tables and working on their feet all day.

Graduate Entry Veterinary Medicine

BVM&S Veterinary Medicine (Graduate Entry Programme – 4-year programme)

UCAS code: D102

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

College: Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Accreditation Placements

Introducing BVM&S Veterinary Medicine (Graduate Entry Programme – 4-year programme)

The Graduate Entry Programme (GEP) is a four-year programme. It allows graduates with a relevant first degree in a biological or animal science subject to attain a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVM&S) degree and register as a veterinary surgeon.

Graduation from this programme will make you eligible for registration with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). You will then be able to practice veterinary medicine in the UK.


This programme is accredited by:

  • The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)
  • The European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE)
  • The Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Inc (AVBC)
  • The South African Veterinary Council (SAVC)

Our graduates can practise veterinary medicine in:

  • The UK
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Australasia
  • South Africa

The BVM&S is the equivalent of the North American Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), with the same standing worldwide.

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