Holistic Dog and Cat Care Certification Programs
While some organizations claim to offer certification programs in holistic animal care, there are no standard, industry-recognized certification programs in holistic dog and cat care. Those with a serious interest in this field should consider a program in veterinary medicine complimented by independent study in holistic medicine.
Doctorate Programs in Veterinary Medicine
As of 2013, there were 28 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programs in the U.S. accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). These programs train students to care for, diagnose and treat medical conditions in animals. Students who complete an accredited program are eligible to become licensed veterinarians.
While not all programs require a bachelor's degree for admittance, most applicants earn a bachelor's degree. Most programs require previous coursework in biology, chemistry, embryology, genetics, physics, physiology and zoology. Some programs require calculus and business courses. Students must also submit scores from a graduate entrance exam, such as the Veterinary College Admission Test.
Veterinary medicine programs require four years to complete, on average. Curriculum combines classroom learning with clinical practice. Some programs allow for study in a specialty area, such as small animals or equines. Students interested in holistic care might consider programs that include courses in alternative and complementary therapies. Typical courses might include:
- Veterinary immunology
- Veterinary ethics
- Anatomic pathology
- Radiology techniques
Job Outlook and Salary Information
Prospects are expected to be excellent for all veterinarians for the 2010-2020 period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a projected job growth rate of 36%. Pet owners are increasingly willing to pay for advanced care and medical services for their animals. The BLS found that the average salary for veterinarians in May 2012 was $93,250.
Licensing, Certification and Continuing Education
All states require veterinarians to complete an accredited Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. Those interested in holistic practices might consider joining the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), an organization that provides information on holistic veterinary medicine as well as continuing education opportunities. While there are no industry-recognized certification programs in holistic care, the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy offers a certification program in the related area of homeopathy.
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