If you love animals and have an interest in science, you may be a good candidate for a career as a veterinarian. Veterinarians care for sick and injured animals -- domestic and exotic -- as well as provide routine checkups and preventative health care. Successful veterinarians possess a considerable amount of special skills and talent that sometimes come naturally, or can be learned with proper training.
To become a veterinarian you will need to successfully complete all necessary college-level training. Typically, veterinarians attend eight years of college to earn a doctorate in veterinary medicine. You must obtain competent skills in all scientific areas of animal care including chemistry, nutrition, biology, animal anatomy, physiology and numerous other aspects of science related to animals. A solid knowledge of animal behavior and characteristics is also required to succeed in the veterinary field of medicine.
Veterinarians perform a number of procedures -- including surgery -- on animals. It is imperative that you have a steady hand to successfully apply medical techniques to live animals. This is particularly true when performing uncomfortable procedures on pets who are not sedated. In surgery, you will need to exhibit finely-tuned, hand-eye coordination to perform procedures on tiny veins, nerves, bones, arteries and organs. Stellar manual dexterity is an absolute requirement for veterinarians. Many veterinary students use typing or playing piano as an exercise to improve their manual skills.
Good communication skills are a must for veterinarians. Veterinarians are required to thoroughly explain ailments, procedures and proper prescription use to clients in a manner that is easily understood. Making sure your clients understand the conditions and treatment of their pets is crucial in ensuring that pets are cared for properly when discharged from an animal hospital. In some instances vets are required to deliver sad news to clients about their pets and must exhibit compassion while doing so. As a veterinarian you may frequently negotiate with pharmaceutical distributors which also requires good communication skills.
Though the main focus of being a veterinarian is to love and care for animals, you will need a good amount of business skills to operate a profitable -- or nonprofit -- veterinary clinic. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, courses in career development and general business management are increasingly becoming a more common inclusion in the veterinary college curriculum. You will need administrative skills -- such as filing, computer knowledge, bookkeeping and price scheduling -- to keep a smooth running operation. Some knowledge of basic marketing and networking procedures may also help to build a following of loyal clients.