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What Is a Zoo Veterinarian and How to Become One

What Does a Zoo Veterinarian Do?

As a zoo veterinarian, you help to take care of animals at a zoo. Your primary duties entail providing treatment for sick or injured animals. You typically work with different species, though you may specialize in a specific area, such as mammals, aquatic animals, or avian species. Your responsibilities include performing an assessment of a new animal when it arrives. You also work with zoologists to help plan habitats and enclosures for animals, plan their diets, and develop daily care regimens. You usually have a regular workday, but you may also be on-call in the event of an after-hours illness or emergency.

How to Become a Zoo Veterinarian

The qualifications to become a zoo veterinarian include a veterinary degree, licensure, certification, and relevant skills to work with different animals. You can start out this career path by earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science, zoology, or a related field. Your undergraduate studies should include all prerequisites for veterinary school. You typically must study for four years in veterinary school before becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and then pass the NAVLE exam to become licensed in your state. Then, you can gain the skills for this position by completing an internship and residency program. Becoming board certified entails passing a two-day exam.