Becoming an Aquatic Veterinarian

Aquatic Veterinarians are specialized to provide health care services to variety of aquatic species such as fish, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine mammals.  Their key responsibilities include conducting basic exams of aquatic animals, drawing samples of blood or other bodily fluids, evaluating health conditions, providing vaccinations, recommending medications, observing behavior, suturing wounds, performing surgical procedures when necessary, suggesting dietary changes, conducting follow-up exams after treatment, and supervising veterinary technicians or other support staff.

The expertise of the Aquatic Veterinarians can be a great use at a marine animal rescue facility, where they treat animals injured by passing boats, predator attacks, or natural disasters. These professionals may also help to check massive disease outbreak at a fishery, or tend to a pod of dolphins following an oil spill. The can also help in repopulating endangered aquatic species.

Work Environment

Aquatic Veterinarians may work in private sectors as well as public sector. They can be employed at aquatic animal facilities, zoos, environmental research facilities, consulting firms, educational institutions etc. Most of these professionals work full time. They often work additional hours. Some work nights or weekends, and they may have to respond to emergencies outside of scheduled work hours.

Educational Requirement

To become an Aquatic Veterinarian, the aspiring candidates must earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. The D.V.M. program generally takes 4 years to complete and includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components. The course work includes pharmacology, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, animal behavior etc. In addition, practical exposure and hands-on experience with aquariums and marine researchers are always an advantage to find job.

Aquatic Veterinarians must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) to become licensed to practice veterinary medicine. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers certification to these professionals.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities for Aquatic Veterinarians may rise 9% from 2014 to 2024. The average annual salary of an Aquatic Veterinarians was $ 88,490 in 2015.

Penn Foster College
A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology
Penn Foster College - Distance Learning Program
Become a vet tech in as little as 1 year. The Penn Foster Veterinary Technician associate degree program is fully accredited by the AVMA.
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