So You're Thinking About Vet School?
As a kid, did you spend your summers on your grandpa's farm, snuggling all the cats and dogs (and a horse every now and then)?
Maybe you had a pivotal moment as an undergraduate biology student, or perhaps a trip to your local veterinary clinic got you hooked on veterinary medicine.
No matter how you discovered your passion for animals, you need to go to veterinary school to offer the highest degree of care for pets. Cost remains an important factor when it comes to choosing the right fit. Check out our tips for choosing the right veterinary school for you and also maximizing the best opportunities for your future career.
How Much do Vet Schools Cost?
The average cost of four years of veterinary school has jetted above $200,000 for in-state and $275,000 for out-of-state institutions. It's not cheap, so you want to make sure you get the best combination of a sound education and the lowest cost possible.
Take a peek at Vet School Bound, a comprehensive website which covers the most current information available on U.S. and the Caribbean veterinary school costs. You can learn more about the class sizes at each institution and all of the requirements for admission.
Manage the Cost of Vet School
Despite the hefty out-of-pocket costs of vet school, know that you can combat those expenses as you go through school.
Step 1: Manage undergraduate costs.
If you know early on that you plan to go to vet school, you can manage the costs of your undergraduate education. Choose to attend a less expensive institution, graduate early, and/or apply for many scholarships and grants, which you don't have to pay back.
Consider getting a job while you're an undergraduate student (if you can manage to devote enough time to your studies) to reduce the costs. Try to minimize the number of loans you take out as well.
Step 2: Choose an affordable vet school.
Compare financial aid awards at the vet schools to which you apply. Never assume that you'll pay the full cost shown on the school's website. What looks like a really expensive school based on sticker price might end up costing you less once the school adds in scholarships and other financial aid.
Also, have a conversation with the financial aid office at the vet schools on your list. Many colleges and universities list only the direct costs on financial aid awards, but ask about other fees as well, such as lab fees.
Look carefully at a school’s costs page online or call the financial aid office so you consider each and every cost.
Step 3: Look for outside scholarships.
Many veterinary schools offer scholarships for deserving students through private endowments. However, you want to look into outside scholarships as well. This means that you want to check into scholarships offered through local and national organizations.
You can even take a look at scholarships that don't explicitly explain that they cater to veterinary students. For example, you might want to apply to scholarships like this:
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), which aims to improve the treatment of animals everywhere, offers a scholarship through the Animal Welfare Institute Scholarship fund. The organization wants to invest in leaders working to improve animal welfare.
What is a Vet's Average Salary?
You might wonder what's waiting for you after vet school, which can also affect how much you spend on school. The median annual wage for veterinarians was $99,250 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $60,690 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $164,490.
Another thing to keep in mind: You'll need to consider your money needs after school ends — including setting up a practice and also hiring vet technicians and receptionists to get your practice up and going.
Take a look at the supplies and human power you’ll need to start your own business, plus the costs involved:
● Medical and surgical equipment: $40,000
● Lab equipment: $30,000
● Kennel equipment: $5,000
● Waiting rooms and examination rooms setup: $10,000
● Clerical and bookkeeping setup: $2,000
● Practice management software: $3,500
● Insurance: $2,000
● Marketing materials: $2,300 to $8,000
● Vet techs and other employees: Can range from $22,952 to $35,703
Are You Ready for Vet School?
If you choose a veterinary school, you want to make sure you have a passion for the field, because it can get very expensive.
Then, once you have your veterinary degree, you want to provide the best service possible to your clients. Share the value of pet insurance and let clients know they can visit SPOT to learn about how a policy can help them keep up with vet visits and support happy, healthy pets.
Melissa Brock is the founder of College Money Tips and a full-time freelance writer and editor. She loves helping families navigate their finances and the college search process. Check out her essential timeline and checklist for the college search!