There are so many ways to prepare for a career as a veterinarian, but for teens, those options are often much more limited. Because veterinarians must undergo years of medical training in order to become established within the profession, some think high school age is too young to start down the path in this field. However, here at GLA, we're well aware that high school students can be some of the most ambitious and driven people around. So to help you achieve your ambitions, we've put together three ways you can prepare to be a vet, starting in high school.
Plan your high school curriculum around your future goals
Purdue University recommends high school students consider a course load consisting of:
- Four years of math (calculus, algebra, geometry, & trigonometry)
- Four years of lab science (physics, biology, & chemistry)
- Four years of English
- Veterinary projects completed under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian
- Extracurriculars and volunteering in an animal-related field
Get unique volunteering experience that sets you apart
If you want to succeed in the competitive field of veterinary medicine, you might want to consider summer vet programs for high school students or other animal-centered programs for teens. GLA provides one route: an international experience that's similar to standard vet camps for high school students, but focused on working to improve the habitat and sustainability of fauna unique to certain areas of the world (think elephants in Thailand, or tortoises in the Galapagos). Or you can find a volunteer opportunity closer to home to supplement your growing expertise.
Talk with real veterinarians about their experiences in the field
Sometimes, the best way to prepare for a future career path is to speak directly to those who have followed it. Real vets will have real stories they can share about their own experiences, including what they did starting in high school to end up in the career they have now. Plus, you might luck out and find a mentor who can help guide you in the long run, which will be an incredible asset to have as you navigate the career path of becoming a vet!