People in veterinary science perform a range of jobs -- from working with pets, livestock or working animals to ensuring that the nation's food supply is safe and conducting research that helps animals and humans. A career in veterinary science requires completion of a high school diploma and a bachelor's degree at minimum. To prepare early, several high school-level courses will provide an essential foundation for future success in the field of veterinary science.
Biology is the most important class you will need to be a successful veterinary student. Biology, the study of life, encompasses many aspects directly related to veterinary science. In biology, you will not only learn about the vital processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration -- the processes that allow energy flow and use among organisms -- but you will also get your first taste of anatomy and physiology. While many topics will be covered in biology, successful completion is essential to understanding the basic processes that allow life on Earth.
While chemistry may not seem important at first, it is essential to preparing for a career in veterinary science. Enrolling in a high school-level chemistry course will provide you with a vital foundation for several chemistry courses that you will need to take to earn a bachelor's degree in science -- the first step on the path to practicing veterinary medicine. You will be required to successfully complete basic chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry to meet minimum requirements for qualifying for acceptance to a veterinary science program. Completion of a high school-level chemistry course will provide vital information that you can use to understand how the body works and the effects that medications have on patient physiology.
While anatomy is not always a required high school-level course for acceptance to a veterinary science program, the benefits are numerous. While high school anatomy most often focuses on human anatomy, many of the anatomical features of humans are similar if not identical to those of other species. Completion of a high school-level anatomy course will provide a strong foundation for understanding the structure and function of the body, which will in turn provide essential knowledge you will need for completion of college-level courses such as advanced anatomy and physiology.
A strong background in mathematics is important at the college level. Completing high school-level mathematics courses, especially calculus, will provide essential skills that will be necessary for successful completion of chemistry courses -- a requirement for admission to veterinary programs. Chemistry is heavily based on mathematics, and having a solid understanding of mathematical functions and an ability to solve advanced algebraic equations is imperative. Honing calculus skills at the high-school level will provide you with the necessary background to adequately tackle advanced-level mathematics.
Based in Northern Virginia, Jillian Wendt has been in science and teacher education for eight years. She has been writing education-related articles for practitioner and research journals for several years. She holds a Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Liberty University. Dr. Wendt is passionate about education and is a fervent reader, writer and researcher.