If you’re thinking about becoming a veterinarian, you’re probably wondering what it’s like to attend vet school in California. Attending a veterinary college in California can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
College is all about meeting new people and getting out there, exploring different perspectives and ideas, but at the same time, it’s a great way to dive into disciplines and see what you like the most.
For example, what if you find out you love animals so much that helping sick pets brings you so much joy that making them better is all you want to do?
Welcome to the world of being a veterinarian. Whether you are looking into vet school in California or anywhere else, there’s a lot of information in this post that can help you make the right decision.
We’ll give you some practical tips about how to select an appropriate veterinary school for your needs, the best vet schools in California as well as some information on what makes California such an attractive place for students who want to study veterinary medicine.
Related: Top 10 Best Vet Schools In Texas
The Benefits of Pursuing a Veterinary Career in California
1. An Abundance of Job Opportunities
The veterinary field is a highly competitive one, but the job market for veterinarians is expected to grow by about 17% over the next decade.
This is due in part to the aging baby boomer population, as many of these people have pets that need care.
Veterinarians are also needed in other areas outside of private practice, including research labs and pharmaceutical companies.
2. Flexible Schedule
Veterinarians can set their own hours and take time off when they want it.
One day you could be working with a dog or cat at a local clinic, and the next you may be traveling on an exotic vacation with your spouse while your assistant takes care of all your patients.
You may even decide to work from home and spend more time with your family.
3. High Salary Payment
The average salary of a veterinarian is $100,370 per year, which is much higher than other professions such as doctors, dentists, or lawyers.
The salary increases when the vet has more years of experience under their belt or if they work in a larger clinic or hospital where there are more clients requiring vet services.
4. Diversity in Career Paths
Being a vet allows you to explore different career paths within the field itself.
There are many areas of focus within this profession, such as surgery, medicine, and animal behavior just to name a few possibilities.
You can also choose to specialize in specific areas like small animals or large animals instead of working with both types at once like other vets do when treating their patients.
Related: Top 10 Best Vet Schools In Florida
5. It’s a Rewarding Career
Veterinarians are dedicated to providing high-quality medical care for pets and livestock, as well as contributing to community health by controlling zoonotic diseases such as rabies, distemper, and parvovirus (parvo).
Veterinarians are also involved in research that advances animal and human health care alike.
6. Veterinarians Can Also Choose to Be Self-Employed
One of the biggest benefits for veterinarians is being able to choose whether they want to work in private practice or as self-employed business owners.
When you’re self-employed, you get to decide your own hours and the location of your practice.
You also have more freedom when it comes to pricing your services and determining what services you provide.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Vet School in California
If you’re considering getting a veterinary school in California, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a school that meets your needs.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a vet school in California.
For example, you should research admission requirements, cost of attendance, and financial aid availability.
You may also want to consider what kind of experience you want from your education.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a vet school in California:
1. Investigate Accreditation Status
If you’re going to spend four years of your life studying veterinary medicine, it’s important that you find a school that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
This accreditation ensures that the program is up to the standards set by the AVMA and can guarantee you will be getting the best education possible.
The most commonly used accrediting body in veterinary medicine is the Council on Education (COE) of the AVMA.
All schools that have programs accredited by COE have been reviewed and approved by a team of experts from across the country in order to ensure that they meet all of their requirements.
2. Location of The School
Vet schools offer online courses as well as campus-based programs. If you’re interested in attending an online vet program, make sure that your preferred school offers this type of coursework before applying.
The location of the school may also be important depending on your personal situation and budget.
Distance learning programs may be less expensive than on-campus programs, but they may take longer to complete due to the lack of face-to-face interaction with instructors and other students.
On the other hand, if you plan on living close enough to campus and commuting every day during veterinary school, then attend a traditional on-campus.
3. Costs and Financial Aid
Tuition costs vary widely among veterinary schools and can be extremely high at some institutions.
In addition to tuition, you will need to consider the cost of books, laboratory equipment, and other materials needed for classes.
You may also want to budget for additional expenses such as housing and travel costs if you live far from campus or need to commute long distances each day.
Some schools offer scholarships and financial aid packages that could reduce your overall costs significantly — especially if you qualify as an incoming freshman with excellent grades and test scores.
Ask each college about their specific scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs so you know what options are available when planning for your education expenses.
4. The Size of The School
The size of the school is an important consideration, especially for students who want to get involved in extracurricular activities.
Vet schools come in all different sizes — from small community colleges with just a few hundred students up to large universities with thousands of students.
These two extremes offer very different experiences for prospective students. If you’re looking for a large university setting with lots of extracurricular activities, then a large university is probably best for you.
However, if you’re looking for an intimate learning environment where one-on-one time with professors is possible and student organizations are active on campus, then a smaller college may be more suitable for your needs.
5. Research on Admission Requirements
The admissions process for vet schools in California is competitive, so make sure that you meet the requirements before applying.
Many veterinary programs have minimum GPA and MCAT scores as well as specific coursework requirements for pre-requisite courses.
It’s also important to have strong letters of recommendation from faculty members or employers who can speak about your academic performance and work ethic.
6. The Reputation of the School
The reputation of the school is another important factor to consider. Reputation is often determined by accreditation status, pass rates on state licensing exams, graduation rates, placement rates, and other factors.
If you want to practice in California after earning your degree from a vet school in California, it’s important that the school be accredited by The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
7. The Curriculum
Vet school curricula vary from school to school, but there are some things that all schools have in common.
For example, every accredited veterinary medicine program requires students to take courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology (drugs).
Some schools also require classes in nutrition, epidemiology, and microbiology.
Pro Tip: look into whether or not there are any opportunities for hands-on experience while attending vet school.
This can be especially important if you plan on becoming a large animal vet or working with horses because these animals require extensive training before being able to perform basic procedures like vaccinations and deworming.
Best Vet Schools in California
1. The University of California
- Tuition per year: $32,127.25
- Graduation Rate: 99%*
- Acceptance Rate: 15%
The University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine is consistently ranked as one of the best veterinary schools in California.
The school offers a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, as well as graduate and postgraduate programs.
UC Davis has a strong research program, and the veterinary school is equipped with some of the latest technology and equipment.
The faculty are highly qualified and experienced, and the curriculum is geared toward preparing students for successful careers in veterinary medicine.
Students receive hands-on training from experienced professionals, and they are taught how to provide high-quality care for animals.
Graduates of UC’s vet school are highly sought after by employers, and many go on to successful careers in veterinary medicine.
2. Western University of Health Sciences
- Tuition: $59,600 per year
- Graduation Rate: 55%
- Acceptance Rate: N/A
The school has a well-rounded curriculum that prepares students for a successful career in veterinary medicine.
In addition to classroom instruction, students have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.
The faculty at Western University of Health Sciences is highly qualified and passionate about teaching veterinary medicine.
Western University also offers many extracurricular activities, which allow students to network with professionals and classmates.
3. Stanbridge University
- Tuition: approximately $12,352 per year
- Graduation Rate: 81%
- Acceptance Rate: 32%
If you’re looking for a college that will prepare you to be a veterinarian, then look no further than Stanbridge.
Stanbridge offers a wide range of degree programs in the field of veterinary medicine and animal science.
It has an excellent reputation as one of the premier vet schools in California and across the country.
The school offers undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and certificate programs that can give students a solid grounding in veterinary medicine or animal science.
These programs are designed to prepare students for careers as veterinarians or other types of animal professionals such as zoo keepers, animal trainers, or even zoologists who work with non-domesticated animals.
4. Platt College
- Tuition: $13,794 approximately per year
- Graduation Rate: 68%
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
Platt College is one of the best Vet Schools in California. The Veterinary Technician program at Platt College provides students with a solid foundation in veterinary science and prepares them for a career as a veterinary technicians.
This program is designed to meet the needs of students who desire an education that is both affordable and relevant to the industry.
This program offers hands-on training and is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Students gain hands-on experience working with animals from start to finish, from assisting veterinarians during surgical procedures to performing diagnostic tests on patients.
Graduates work in hospitals and clinics assisting veterinarians with patient care, diagnostics, surgery, laboratory work, animal behavior/training, and pharmacy services.
5. Carrington College
- Tuition: approximately $33,546
- Graduation Rate: 50%
- Acceptance Rate: 80%
Carrington College is a private, for-profit institution that offers an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree.
The Vet Assistant program at Carrington College has been approved by the California State Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.
This means that you can be eligible to take the Vet Assistant exam after completing all of your coursework.
The Vet Assistant program at Carrington College is designed for students who are interested in becoming veterinary assistants or veterinary technicians.
The program provides students with hands-on experience in an animal care setting, as well as classroom instruction.
Students will learn about basic anatomy and physiology, nutrition, animal behavior, medical procedures, and more.
6. San Joaquin Valley College
- Tuition: approximately $16,606
- Graduation Rate: 55%
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
San Joaquin Valley College is one of the best Vet Schools in California. The school has a long history of educating students in the field of veterinary medicine.
The college was established in 1977 and has been offering quality education to many students who want to be veterinarians.
The college offers a variety of programs for students to choose from including Associate’s Degrees, Certificates, and Technical Certificates.
It also offers online courses so that students can earn a degree without having to spend time away from their families or jobs.
The Vet Tech program at SVC is designed to prepare students for entry-level employment as veterinary technicians in private practice settings, as well as public and private animal hospitals, animal control facilities, research laboratories, and pet shops.
Students also complete hands-on laboratory sessions that focus on animal anatomy, physiology, and pathology.
Students have the opportunity to work with live animals during clinical rotations at local animal hospitals or veterinary clinics throughout California’s Central Valley region while still enrolled in a class at SVC.
7. California State Polytechnic University
- Tuition: approximately $7,353 per year
- Graduation Rate: 71%
- Acceptance Rate: 30%
California State Polytechnic University is one of the best Vet Schools in California.
It is an excellent place for students who love animals and want to become veterinarians.
The college has a great campus and offers some of the best programs in the country.
This college has been around since 1901 and has been providing its students with quality education ever since.
The university offers a wide range of courses including Animal Science, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Business Administration & Economics, Environmental Studies & Geography, Sociology & Anthropology, etc.
Students can pursue their degree at the undergraduate level or graduate level depending on their field of study.
In addition to its outstanding undergraduate program, Cal Poly also offers graduate programs for those who want to become veterinarians or pursue another advanced degree in veterinary medicine.
Students who wish to become veterinarians may pursue their degree through either a master’s or doctoral program at Cal Poly.
These programs can be completed on campus or through distance learning courses in an online format.
8. Pima Medical Institute
- Tuition: approximately $10,830 per year
- Graduation Rate: 55%
- Acceptance Rate: 31%
Pima Medical Institute is one of the best Vet Schools in California.
It is a private career college that provides students with a variety of career-oriented programs, including an associate’s degree program in veterinary technology.
The Vet Technology program at PMI is designed to prepare students for careers as veterinary technicians and aides.
This two-year program focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level employment in veterinary clinics and hospitals.
The curriculum emphasizes clinical experiences, which are provided through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on learning opportunities in PMI’s state-of-the-art Veterinary Technology Lab.
9. Central Coast College
- Tuition: $12,800 estimated per year
- Graduation Rate: 48%
- Acceptance Rate: 96%
Central Coast College is one of the best vet schools in California.
The college has veterinary programs that are designed to help you prepare for a career in animal care and management.
They understand that each student has different goals and aspirations.
That’s why they offer flexible class schedules, so you can choose the program that best fits your needs.
The college’s vet school courses are taught by experienced instructors with hands-on experience in their fields.
They know what it takes to succeed as a veterinarian because they’ve been there themselves.
You’ll learn from experts who know exactly what it takes to be successful in this field.
10. Foothill College
- Tuition: approximately $1,527 per year
- Graduation Rate: 13%
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
It’s easy to see why Foothill College is one of the premier vet schools in California.
Their curriculum is designed to prepare you for your future career as a veterinarian, while also ensuring that you have a complete understanding of animal science.
Foothill College offers both an Associate of Science Degree and an Associate of Arts Degree in Animal Science.
Both options will prepare students for careers in the veterinary field, but if you are more interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree, then you should consider enrolling at UC Davis or UC Berkeley.
Students attending Foothill College can expect to receive an excellent education that prepares them for their future careers.
They offer many different classes related to animal science.