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The Best Veterinary Schools in California

Best Veterinary Schools in California: A rewarding professional path might include promoting the health and well-being of animals. The general welfare of animals is a concern for many individuals as well since for many people, a pet is like an additional member of the family. Animal enthusiasts can turn their love and compassion into a profession that enhances the quality of life for both animals and people, whether they are taking care of the tiniest creatures or watching over horses at a stable.

See: 10 Best Veterinary Schools in the World

Veterinarian Salary and Job Outlook

To become a veterinarian, there are numerous motivations. In addition to a possibility for high earnings (veterinarians make $89k on average annually), the vocational prognosis appears to be highly positive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that within the next ten years, the number of jobs in this industry will increase by 16%, exceeding growth in many other fields.

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Skills Required and Career Preparation

Compassion, outstanding interpersonal abilities, problem-solving abilities, good communication skill and a thorough science education are all necessary for being a successful veterinarian. A great veterinary school is required to gain the scientific expertise and clinical skills required for a successful career in veterinary medicine. These qualities take years to develop and hone.

Aspired vets can find sufficient preparation for this career at a select few schools across the country. California already has a reputation for having top-notch educational institutions. Two of the nation’s top veterinary schools are located there as well. We give a brief overview of these colleges as well as some advice on how to differentiate yourself from other applicants; admission to these schools is tough.

Best Veterinary Schools in California

1. UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (Davis, CA)

Best Veterinary Schools in California
Best Veterinary Schools in California

The National Institutes of Health will grant $36.9 million in funding to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2020, making it the largest veterinary school in the country. The grant demonstrates the school’s influence and contribution to cutting-edge studies targeted at promoting the health and well-being of people, animals, and the environment. Future prospects for students starting their studies at the School of Veterinary Medicine are bright and gratifying.

The dual DVM/PhD, the master’s in preventative veterinary medicine, and the graduate studies track are the three main options available at Vet Med for an advanced degree in veterinary medicine. The D.V.M/Ph.D. track is the most alluring choice for future veterinarians because it offers the best career prospects. Before deciding on their species-specific training and programs, DVM students are given a solid foundation in comparative veterinary medicine.

Immunology, hematology, and nutrition are some of the foundational subjects covered in the first year, along with instruction in a clinical setting. Beginning in the summer after their second year, students are gradually exposed to working in a clinical setting as they go through the program. The fourth year offers a wide variety of clinical rotation options, including Small Animal Radiology, Zoologic Medicine, Equine Surgery and Lameness, and more.

Experiential learning possibilities abound at Davis. The most advanced technology is present in both the labs and classrooms. The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, which treats over 50,000 patients annually across a variety of species, is one of the top veterinary educational facilities. It serves as the clinical environment for student training. A terrific residency matching program is a requirement for any high-quality medical institution.

With at least one opening each year, the residency program at Davis offers residencies for both large and small animals. Due to rising donations from individual donors and businesses in recent years, the house officer program, which supports residencies, internships, and fellowships, is the nation’s largest program. The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is the program’s host. For licensure, a residence requirement must be fulfilled.

Davis is famous for producing a lot of excellent research. The faculty members actively participate in a variety of initiatives throughout the year and are world-class researchers and practitioners in a wide range of veterinary specializations.


Only 165 of the 1012 applicants who met the prerequisites for admission were given the opportunity to attend medical school, making the admission rate for the most recent class approximately 16%. An out-of-state applicant has a significantly harder time getting into the school than someone who lives in California. The average GPA and GRE scores for in-state candidates compared to out-of-state applicants who were awarded admission serve as proof of this.

For the incoming class of 2024, the average GPAs for in-state and out-of-state candidates were 3.62 and 3.96, respectively. In addition to having strong GPAs, applicants had GRE quantitative section scores that were above average. The majority of enrolling students had strong undergraduate science backgrounds, primarily in the animal and biological sciences, but a few students with liberal arts/humanities majors also made the cut.

Although it is not necessary to have studied the hard sciences as a major in college, applicants must take the necessary prerequisite courses. One semester of statistics, two semesters each of lower-division physics, chemistry, biology, and organic chemistry, as well as a few upper-division courses, are included in the prerequisites. There are many well-known pre-veterinary programs available, especially for high school students thinking about a career in veterinary medicine.

High GPAs and GRE scores alone do not speak for a student’s passion in animal science and medicine; they must be demonstrated. Having any pre-DVM experience during your undergraduate years, such a summer internship, is a sign that your application is strong. Hours of veterinary experience will be highly helpful, at the very least.

Prospective students must submit a personal statement and three letters of recommendation as part of the secondary application process. The top 180 candidates are chosen for an interview after the applications are ranked according to the most recent semester hours for the overall GPA, the GPA for science courses, and the quantitative GRE score. The top 25% of applicants from California and the top 10% of applicants from outside the state are chosen for this stage by the admissions committee. Candidates are evaluated based on qualities and features that cannot be sufficiently expressed by GPA or GRE results during the interview.

2. Western University College of Veterinary Medicine (Pomona, CA)

Best Veterinary Schools in California
Best Veterinary Schools in California

The traditional lecture-based curriculum is notably abandoned by the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western in favor of a method that emphasizes problem-solving. With this method, vet students actively monitor their own learning as they move through the curriculum by working in small groups and determining their own strengths and weaknesses. Students are assigned to small groups by chance for the first two years, and a faculty facilitator leads each group and provides a weekly clinical case narrative.

Through lab work and seminars, students learn to apply fundamental concepts from the medical and general sciences to recognize and resolve issues in these weekly vignettes. Under the supervision of faculty members, students are exposed to clinical work and patient care over the last two years at specific clinical sites. In the fourth year, problem-based learning and hands-on patient care culminate in six-week clinical rotations. There are numerous settings and geographical options available to students.

Students learn surgery and anesthesia utilizing computer simulations, inanimate models, and cadaver supplies through the Willed Deceased Animals for Veterinary Education (WAVE) program because of the college’s reverence-for-life principle. This strategy upholds one of the college’s fundamental ideals while ensuring proper and thorough hands-on training.

Students have access to numerous and varied possibilities for applying the knowledge and skills they acquire from the curriculum because of the school’s close proximity to downtown Los Angeles. Banfield Pet Hospital, the LA Zoo, and other veterinary clinics and hospitals in LA all collaborate with Western University.

Additionally, there are numerous volunteer opportunities and clubs for veterinary students, from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. These organizations help students find a wide range of volunteer activities in LA and elsewhere.

High-caliber researchers and practitioners in a variety of veterinary medicine specialities have been attracted to Western. For instance, Dr. Peggy Barr is a well-known subject matter expert in animal microbiology and immunology. She has written textbook chapters on animal virology and mentors both undergraduate and veterinary students. Barr has actively participated in outreach activities geared at enticing girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM sectors in addition to being an outstanding researcher.


The veterinary medical program has an extremely competitive admissions process. Having said that, it is crucial for applicants to go above and beyond the prerequisites. The minimal prerequisites include submission of the principal application, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a minimum GPA of 2.75. Some of the hard sciences, including organic chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, and microbiology, require prerequisite courses. Applicants should be aware that these courses also need on-site laboratories, which are an essential addition.

The average GPA and GRE score were 3.24 and 151, respectively, while the acceptance rate for Fall 2020 was 11%.

What else is necessary to enter? The most selective admissions panels see candidates as more than just a collection of figures, numbers, and letter grades. The admissions committee for Western University’s veterinary medical department seeks out energetic, caring, and principle-driven veterinary students who are ready to learn. The matriculated applicant exhibits the ability and willingness to take an active approach to their education and training given the distinctive, problem-solving focus of the curriculum.

Best Veterinary Schools in California
Best Veterinary Schools in California

Frequently Asked Questions

In California, how many veterinary colleges are there?

There are two accredited veterinary medical schools in California: one public (UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine) and one nonprofit private school (Western University of Health Sciences).

How long is the California vet school program?

The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree is the culmination of a four-year academic study program and clinical skills training in California's professional veterinary curriculum.

Is veterinary school particularly difficult?

Long training – You must complete the necessary training to become a veterinarian. This is typically a five-year, full-time program leading to a degree in veterinary science. grueling work — Physically and intellectually taxing is being a veterinarian. You probably put in a lot of overtime, especially if you're on call.

Who among veterinarians earns the greatest money?

The industry's highest paid specialty is ophthalmology, with AVMA reporting annual incomes of $199K+. Average veterinary salaries vary. With average earnings ranging from $157K to $169K, pathologists and lab animal specialists weren't far behind.


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