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    Hi, I'm 14, in year 10 and currently working towards my GCSEs. I have always wanted to be a vet (equine vet) or a doctor. For my GCSEs I have been predicted 7A*s and 5As but that's a very rough prediction, I could easily get higher or lower, but I'm obviously aiming for higher
    I have begun to think about work experience as it is very important. My older brother is currently in Imperial College studying medicine and he didn't do a huge amount of work experience, but I know for Veterinary it is different. I would like to do work experience as a doctor/vet to keep my options open when I get to picking out universities and so on.
    My school is giving us a week off this October to do work experience. At the time of the placement I will be 15. I have just emailed 3 veterinaries near me asking them if I can do work experience with them and I'm hoping for a reply soon. But where else should I do work experience for a vet? I've done some research, but I thought here would be a good place to ask! If you are currently a veterinary student then what work experience did you do? If not, what work experience do you think will help me?
    Sorry it's so long, and thank you for helping
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    Hi,
    make sure you outline the pros and cons of the career choice, and your reasons for it, then look at what you need, as there is a difference between medicine and vetinary, and if anything evaluate the negatives and see if the negs dont put you off, then go for it!
    Firstly, with work experience being under 16 may make it more difficult, but contacting them now, gives you an edge when you are 16 and everyone applies, they'll remember that you contacted them previously.
    Secondly, grades the best you can get!

    try work experience on a farm, cattery, kennels, vets surgery or vet hospital (if they say they cant give it to you, even ask if they will accept you at 16 so they know you are keen) stables, at 16 you can get a part time job at the zoo, aquarium maybe?
    INFACT you can volunteer! My brother volunteered in a pet shop from the age of 13 because he loved animals so much
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    Basically if it involves animals its work experience but basically try to find farms (dairy, sheep etc.), stable yards, kennels,catterys and animal rescues or sanctuaries there always good to start with but if your also considering been a doctor maybe do a placement at a vet practice and one at a hospital before doin loads of vet work x hope this is helpful
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    Being a vet and a doctor are two very different things, there are a lot of cross overs, but ultimately they will involve different things and lead to different career paths, there are a few fundamental differences between the careers but they often seem to be lumped together as being similar.

    You will need to decide within a couple of years which route you want to take, whilst the GCSEs you are doing/a-levels you chose will probably be the same for both courses, like you say work experience requirements for vet med are high and different to med, so you need to decide where to spend your time.

    At the moment you probably are best trying to spend some time in both areas - finding work exp at a dr's will probably be difficult, but try for any healthcare setting. Ultimately when you are applying for vet med you will need experience in vets, farms (dairy, lambing), kennels, stables etc...so time in any of those sort of places would be good.

    Obviously one of the main areas that is different will be your patients - vets treat animals (but also have to deal with people, so not a option if you don't like people, as some people seem to think!) and doctors treat humans. So which can you see yourself wanting to treat/work with? Some people prefer the fact there seems to be more 'worth' in treating people to animals, other people couldn't deal with operating on a person etc. Are you going to get frustrated that there are options that are technically available, but you can't offer them to an animal patient as they aren't available for animals yet, or the costs are too much - whereas for a human you can do as much as possible. Equally though, medicine has to deal with the NHS and the issues that can bring with it. Lots of possible +ves/-ves to think about what you would be happier working with. Personally I am happy dealing with people (farmers/pet owners), but would not want to operate on or deal with sick/ill people.

    Vets tend to end up being more of a jack of all trades. yes, there is chance to work in one field and increasingly more and more vets are specialising. But when a vet qualifies they are a consultant/GP, surgeon, give health advice, nutrition advice dentists, podiatrists, oncologist, radiographer and so on. Whereas doctors will end up more limited in the areas they work in, but are very skilled in that area. Again, which would you prefer?

    There are other differences as well, but it is really down to where you can see yourself being. Try and arrange a week with a vet and a week in a healthcare setting. Hopefully that will help you lean towards one or the other. What sort of placements can you see yourself doing? A week on a farm covered in cow poo, trod on by numerous cows, working outside in the cold, dark and pouring rain, chasing sheep around a field, up 3/4 times during a night in a cold sheep barn up to your elbows in a sheep with a rotten, stinking lamb, cleaning up a kennel of dog diarrhoea at a vets etc. Or in an old peoples home and all that entails, bed bathing people, dealing with feeding tubes, people dying, helping people go to the bathroom etc. Most people will realise pretty soon which career they would be ok doing - and which they wouldn't!

    One other point I would say as well...bear in mind there is a huge differences in salaries. If money is something that would make your mind up (esp if you compare it to what your brother will earn as a doctor). Even at the highest earning point of their career vets will be earning a lot, lot less than a mediocre doctor.

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Updated: April 16, 2012
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