By Ben Waterworth


  • DO be prepared to work with a wide variety of animals, from cats and dogs, mice and rats, right through to horses and cows and even animals such as wallabies and wombats, you will see it all as a vet! Read up constantly about different types of animals and all their relevant medical issues and it will make you a more confident and knowledgeable vet. Being an animal care worker or a person with experience in pet jobs will be an added advantage.
  • DO understand that you will be required to study a HEAP at university in Australia and be there for a long time. Just like you would have to train if you were to become a people doctor, becoming a vet requires a lot of study and a lot of commitment. You need to know every part of an animals body and it often makes it a lot harder due to their being so many different types and breeds of animals for you to potentially deal with.
  • DO get experience working in a veterinarian surgery by volunteering your time at your local vet. This may require pet care jobs such as general admin work, cleaning cages or feeding the patients. Jobs as a pet sitter or dog sitter would also help in a great way to become a vet. And while this obviously doesn't sound all the glamorous, it looks fantastic on your resume when it comes to eventually applying for your first veterinarian job. Starting off small is always a good idea and you can definitely do this by volunteering.
  • DO volunteer at other places such as your local animal shelter or rescue organisation. This will give you a chance to work with a wide variety of animals and see how they react under certain circumstances to truly prepare you for a career as a vet. You will often find by volunteering for this places you will be working directly with a lot of vets anyway due to their close proximity in taking the rescued pets and animals to a vet surgery, so it's also a great way to make contacts for the future. Many vets perform jobs as dog rescuer or dog trainer prior to their work as a vet.
  • DO remain committed as much as you can be to the industry! You will find that working with animals is as rewarding as it seems and you will also find that it changes every single day you are on the job and never gets old. You do need to seriously remain committed though as with the amount of hard work it requires it's something you will be doing for a long time so you should be prepared for the long road if you want to make it work!


  • DON'T be slack and lazy when it comes to study and your research. You might think it's a case of just passing the subjects to get by but you will be thinking wrong! A lot of the time established veterinarians will choose book smart people over people who have just passed and have experience with animals as they assume the book smart people will have more knowledge on the main things they require as a vet. Keep your head in the game and you will do well
  • DON'T assume that volunteering is pointless. It gives you great experiences around animals and will look favourably on your resume. Imagine in 20 years time you are an established vet and you have potential candidates coming in with their CVs and they didn't have any experience working with animals. What would you think of them? Never underestimate the power of having a bit of volunteer experience behind you.
  • DON'T have any fears of animals! This is obviously easier said than done, but what if one day a snake comes in with an emergency yet you have a dire fear of them? It wouldn't good for the owner or you, so try and seek help for your fear to see if you can fix this. If you can't, then maybe you should reconsider becoming a vet.
  • DON'T go into the industry with any black marks on your record in relation to animals. Being charged or convicted for any crime against animals will probably guarantee that you will never be able to work in the industry, and if you are the type of person who feels the need to do such things then definitely do not become a vet. If you are working as a pet sitter make sure you get good reference for the same.
  • DON'T go out and buy the lab coat just yet! Just because you want to become a vet doesn't necessarily mean you are cut out to be one or will want to be one once you begin your training. As we have mentioned becoming a vet requires a lot of dedication and hard work, so you should never just assume it will happen easily. Keep your head in the game and your chin up and you will get that coat before too long, and then you will be able to look back at how you got there with a massive smile on your face! Seek good experience in your pet job as a vet before going for a lab of your own.