Personalise this site:

Default Cats Dogs Small Mammals

Veterinary Surgeons

Veterinary Surgeon

A career as a veterinary surgeon is a popular and highly rewarding profession, but also very demanding!

A veterinary surgeon has to offer a 24 hour service 365 days a year. More recently though, cover for out of hours work by companies who provide a dedicated night service has become more common leading to a better quality of lifestyle for veterinary surgeons.

Six universities offer training courses.

These are:

  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Liverpool
  • and London.

The degree courses are 5 years in length – 6 years at Cambridge.The number of applicants for places is high and the quality of applications is also of a high standard. Entry to university exceeds the number of places available, so meeting the entry requirements does not necessarily guarantee a place.

Entry Requirements

Vet operatingFor comprehensive information on the requirements for a career as a veterinary surgeon, the RCVS website explains in broad terms the commitment and pre-entrance required and is regulary updated.  As a general guide, AAB at A level, AAABB at SCE level (usually including Biology and Chemistry) are required but full details can be found on the RCVS website.

Work Experience

All university veterinary schools require applicants to show evidence of their interest by having gained work experience at a veterinary practice and worked with and handled animals including livestock.

Applications and Further Information

All applications for places on veterinary degree courses need to be made through the Universities and College Admission Service (UCAS) –

Further career information can be obtained from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons website – - in the visitors section of their website.

Skills and Knowledge

Clipping nailsRequired by a Small Animal Veterinary Surgeon include:

  • Consultations – client communication
  • Diagnostic procedures and interpretation
  • Routine and complex surgical procedures
  • Dentistry
  • Treatment of in-patients with longer term illness
  • Radiography (x-rays)
  • Familiarity with all species from cats and dogs to birds and reptiles
  • Pharmacology
  • Promotion of preventive health care eg vaccinations and nutrition 
  • Team work with veterinary nurses and receptionists