Below you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about the AAVMC and academic veterinary medicine. Should you not find answers to the question(s) you have below, please feel free to contact us and we will be pleased to help you.
Do you provide discounted or free veterinary care?
No. AAVMC is an association of institutions of higher education, and does not provide any kind of veterinary services. Please contact your state veterinary medical association for a list of care providers in your area. You may also look at our membership page to see if there is a veterinary college near you.
Does AAVMC accredit colleges offering the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree?
AAVMC does not accredit DVM or equivalent educational programs. This is done by the AVMA Council on Education. AAVMC is, however, responsible for appointing a portion of the council’s membership. For more information, see the AVMA website.
Does AAVMC rank the veterinary medical colleges?
The AAVMC does not rank veterinary medical colleges. Please see our policy on third party ranking systems in the AAVMC Policies and Procedures Manual.
How is AAVMC different from AVMA? Are they part of the same organization?
AAVMC is an association of institutions of higher education, whereas AVMA is an association of individual veterinarians. While AAVMC and AVMA have many areas of common interest and collaboration, each is an independently incorporated organization.
Which members of congress are in the Veterinary Medical Caucus?
A Veterinary Medical Caucus roster is located on Kurt Schrader’s website. If you do not see your representative listed, we strongly encourage you to get involved in making sure they join. For more information about the caucus, please contact Kevin Cain, Director of Governmental Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is my representative in congress? What about my state legislature?
To find your representative to the U.S. congress, please use your school’s zip code in the Find Your Representative page on the House of Representatives website. For information about your state legislature or any other questions, please contact Kevin Cain, Director of Governmental Relations at email@example.com.
Where can I find information about applying to veterinary school?
Please visit the Students Applicants and Advisors section of our website for information about the application process, including pre-requisites, for each AAVMC member college. You may also contact VMCAS directly through the Student and Advisor Hotline at 617.612.2884.
Where can I find a list of veterinary colleges?
I’d like a copy of the Comparative Data Report. Could you send this to me?
AAVMC provides a paper and electronic copy of the annual Comparative Data Report to the institutional representative for institutions participating in the data collection process. It is typically distributed in mid-December. A copy can be obtained through the office of your institutional representative. AAVMC Members with access to the Comparative Data Report are expected to maintain the confidentiality of the report, and treat it as an internal Association document. For more information, please see the Comparative Data Report Access Policy in the AAVMC Policies and Procedures Manual.
Non-member entities wishing to obtain data contained within this report should contact Lisa Greenhill, Associate Executive Director for Institutional Research and Diversity at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any distribution of data from the report is considered on a case by case basis.
I’d like to email an announcement or job posting to all of the colleges. How do I go about doing this? Does AAVMC have a listserv?
AAVMC provides a key contacts directory to each member institution, which is updated yearly and includes contact information for the institutional representative, their administrative assistant, and associate deans at each member institution. It also has information on other associate deans, department chairs, center/lab directors, admissions officers, advancement professionals, business officers, financial aid officers, legislative points of contact, librarians, and teaching hospital directors. This list can be obtained through your institutional representative, which is the dean of a college or the chair or head of a department. For more information, please see the key contacts policy in the AAVMC Policies and Procedures Manual.
The AAVMC Key Contacts List may be made available to non-members for use in communications that are germane to academic veterinary medicine. Any person or organization requesting access to the Key Contacts List must demonstrate that such use is relevant and beneficial to AAVMC members, and must agree to be bound by the terms and conditions imposed by AAVMC.
AAVMC also has a jobs board. Any posting to our jobs board is automatically posted to other jobs boards in the Veterinary Careers Network, which includes the AVMA and participating state VMAs.
I’d like to send a survey to member institutions. What is the process for this?
Investigators seeking approval of the AAVMC for dissemination of surveys to the AAVMC’s member institutions must provide the study information to Lisa Greenhill, Associate Executive Director for Institutional Research and Diversity at email@example.com. Submissions should be received by the AAVMC prior to seeking Institutional Review Board approval. Submissions should also be received for review at least one month prior to the anticipated start of data collection. For more information and a list of what study information needs to be reviewed, see the survey submission and review policy in the AAVMC Policies and Procedures Manual.
I’m interested in getting involved with AAVMC committees. Where can I find more information, and how do a sign up?
For information on each of AAVMC’s committees, please visit our committee webpage. If you are an employee of an AAVMC member institution interested in volunteering, a call for volunteers is sent out each summer to contacts at member schools. New committee members’ terms begin after the Annual Meeting of the Assembly each summer, and terms of appointment vary. To make sure you are on an appropriate AAVMC mailing list, please email Lawann Blunt at firstname.lastname@example.org
When do I pay my institution’s dues?
Dues are billed in April and are due July 1 of each year. AAVMC sends the dues invoice to the institutional representative as well as the financial contact for the institution. For more information, please contact Mark Stodter, Controller and Systems Administrator at email@example.com.
Where can I find the dates and locations of AAVMC meetings?
Which AAVMC meetings should I attend?
The AAVMC Annual Conference is open to any individual to attend, whether or not they are a veterinarian or are employed by a member institution.
While only member institution representatives may fully participate and vote in Assembly meetings, these meetings are open to the public and anyone interested in the business of the association is welcome to attend as an observer.
There are also several Board of Directors meetings held throughout the year. These meetings are also open to the public. In-person Board meetings are held annually in January before the Deans Conference, in March before the Annual Conference, and during the AVMA Convention each summer. Additional meetings are conducted via conference call.
The Deans Conference is held annually in January, and the Advocacy Summit is held annually in March, just before the Annual Conference. Both of these events are open by invitation only. For more information about AAVMC meetings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the AAVMC?
The member institutions of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) promote and protect the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment by advancing the profession of veterinary medicine and preparing new generations of veterinarians to meet the evolving needs of a changing world. Founded in 1966, the AAVMC represents more than 40,000 faculty, staff and students across the global academic veterinary medical community. Our member institutions include veterinary medical colleges and schools in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand as well as departments of veterinary science and departments of comparative medicine in the U.S.
How many veterinary medical schools are there in the United States?
There are 32 schools or colleges of veterinary medicine (CVMs) in the U.S. that are accredited or have accreditation pending and all of them are AAVMC members. Members also include all five Canadian colleges of veterinary medicine, five U.S. departments of veterinary science, six U.S. departments of comparative medicine, 15 accredited international veterinary schools and 15 non-accredited international veterinary schools.
How many veterinary students graduate from U.S. schools each year?
About 3,200 students graduate each year from U.S. CVMs.
Is there a shortage of veterinarians?
There is a geographical shortage of veterinarians in some mostly rural areas that varies by state.
The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies released a report that concluded that there are sectors of unmet need for veterinarians, but the researchers found little evidence of current, widespread workforce shortages.
Are most veterinary medical schools public or private?
Since there are only 32 CVMs in the U.S. is it difficult to get into veterinary school?
There’s a pervasive myth that getting into veterinary medical school is much more difficult than getting into human medical school, but that’s not supported by the data. Nearly 50 percent of those who apply to veterinary medical school end up attending, a percentage that is comparable to human medical school. Individual acceptance rates vary greatly between schools.
Do you have to have a pre-vet major or animal science degree as an undergraduate to get into veterinary medical school?
No, you just need to complete the prerequisite coursework, which includes math and science, and do well. Learn more here.
What kind of classes should students take if they want to become veterinarians?
Course prerequisites vary among schools, as illustrated by our prerequisite comparison chart located on our website
High school students need to pursue a college prep curriculum. Undergraduate students, regardless of major, need to be able to bear science coursework up to the biochemistry level in order to be reasonably prepared for the rigor of the DVM science curriculum. Advanced math courses are also expected. An increasing number of schools are also requiring communications and writing courses that provide a solid foundation for the development of non-technical skills that contribute to being a successful professional. Nearly all schools require and/or expect a minimum of 400 hours of animal-related experience, which can be obtained in a variety of ways, including, for example, working in a veterinary office, shelter, or research lab.
What qualities do CVMs look for in applicants?
Veterinary colleges are looking for a different sort of applicant than in the past. CVMs have no trouble attracting animal lovers, but they’re also looking for students who know how to run a business, communicate with clients, conduct research, and work in areas that the public doesn’t usually associate with veterinary medicine, such as biomedical research, food supply veterinary medicine, and public health. Veterinarians receive training across species, so that makes them uniquely qualified to fill a variety roles in medicine, health, and research.
How much has class size increased over time?
Class size has risen by an average of 2 percent a year for the last 30 years.
What is the curriculum like in veterinary medical school?
The DVM curriculum generally consists of four years comprising a combination of basic science courses and clinical education. Basic science courses include subjects that might include (but are not limited to) histology, physiology, pathology, and immunology. Students also take courses on subjects such as anatomy, nutrition, pharmacology, reproductive medicine. Courses increasingly become more systems based, encompassing systems such as gastroenterology, neurology, ophthalmology. The latter part of the curriculum is generally focused on clinical education, where students begin to practice operationalizing their basic science and systems knowledge. Students also take courses in professionalism, including ethics, practice management and communication.
The curriculum is similar to that a human medical program in topics and structure, though DVM students have course exposure to multiple species.
What is the average veterinary medical school tuition?
Median annual tuition is about $53,000 for out-of-state students and $32,000 for in-state students.
What’s the average amount of debt for a veterinary medical graduate?
The mean indebtedness in 2019 of veterinary medical students who have debt is $176,920. That does not include about 20 percent of students who graduate with no debt.
What loan forgiveness, grants or financial aid programs are in place for vet students/graduates?
Options specific to veterinary medical students include:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) that will pay up to $25,000 each year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve for three years in areas where there is a designated shortage of veterinarians. Here is a link to other options that are available by state.
Options that are available to all students include the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, where borrowers can have payments forgiven after 10 years in exchange for working full-time in certain public service jobs, and income-based repayment which is a new way to make paying loans more manageable where payments are calibrated to income.
Is it worthwhile for a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) to pursue advanced education, for example, in research?
Each situation is different. Sometimes, greater specialization leads to higher salaries, so it would pay off. As with any financial decision, it requires a cost-benefit analysis. Is there a demand for that particular area of specialization? Are there any scholarships, loan repayment programs, or residencies? What is the person’s ultimate career goal? Do they want to attain the most lucrative position possible? Is work/life balance a primary concern? How flexible can the graduate be in terms of location? There are so many variable factors that it’s difficult to make a general statement.
What are the career options for veterinary medical graduates?
Many veterinarians, of course, provide care for companion animals through private medical practices, but veterinarians also do many other kinds of jobs. They make sure the nation’s food supply is safe. They work to control the spread of diseases. They conduct research that helps both animals and humans. Veterinarians are at the forefront of protecting the public’s health and welfare.
Outside of companion animal practice, the largest employer of veterinarians in the United States is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, but veterinarians are found throughout government in roles where they contribute to public health, the environment, and even homeland security, as well as working in research and public policy.
How much money can a veterinarian make?
Veterinarians made a median salary of $93,830 in 2018. The best-paid 25 percent made $122,180 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $73,580.
Veterinary medical salaries can vary greatly. Do you want work as a part-time associate while you raise a family, or do you want to own your own practice? Do you want to compete as a small companion animal business owner, or pursue research? Even those who end up with debt that is typical for medical professionals can minimize the impact of that debt by choosing career paths that either take advantage of loan repayment and forgiveness programs, or that offer more lucrative salaries.
Click here for an overview.