Practice or something alternative?

Students at RVC
A veterinary degree opens many doors. Whilst many new graduates look to small animal practice for their first job, and often rightly so, this is far from the only option and will not be the best choice for everyone. For those that do choose small animal practice as a stepping off point there are still many career paths to consider.

An alternative to practice

Graduates who choose to stray from the traditional path might pursue a career in research, academia, industry or government work, for example. The BSAVA has a number of articles, taken from student issues of Companion, that explore the myriad possibilities open to new graduates.  

‘In the footsteps of…’ collates advice from a second opinion/referral vet, a senior lecturer in Small animal Medicine, a clinical resident in Cattle Herd Health and Production, the clinical director of a large hospital and 5 smaller practices, a veterinary advisor for a pharmaceutical company and a specialist surgeon for a zoological society. Each of these vets uses their qualifications and knowledge on a regular basis in a way that suits them, and provides their unique angle on how best to approach life as a new graduate.

Eight alumni from UK vet schools recount their experiences at and since their time in education in ‘Where they went’. These successful vets, who all work in different environments, share the unique paths that got them where they are today and what they wish they didn’t have to learn the hard way. Each interviewee also shares the top tip they would give a new graduate.

BSAVA Past President Freda Scott-Park has had a varied and interesting veterinary career, proving that graduation will open more doors than that of a life in small animal practice. ‘An alternative to practice’ considers some of the more common non-clinical routes veterinary graduates take, including a career in research and studying for a PhD. Freda Shares her own experience of gaining a PhD in cardiology, which allowed her to offer referrals in a Glasgow practice. With the introduction of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and decisions by licensing authorities that ECGs from experiments should be analysed, Freda was able to become a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry. Freda advises new graduates to embrace a start in practice, but remain open to other opportunities.

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