Becoming a vet in South Africa involves many years of hard work and dedication. It will also involve a lot of patience, as it can take up to 6 years before you’re allowed to practice as a veterinarian in this country.
How To Become A Vet In South Africa
Register with the South African Veterinary Council.
The South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) is the governing body of the profession in South Africa. To become a vet, you must register with them.
The first step to becoming a registered vet is to complete and submit an application form (available here). Once you have filled out this form, you must pay R7 000 as registration fee at any bank to the SAVC. If you can’t afford this amount, there are other options available on their website at no cost to you; see [link] for more information about how this works. This fee covers your first year’s membership of the association as well as being able to practice as a veterinarian in South Africa for one year after being registered by SAVC
Complete your BVSc degree.
The next step is to complete your BVSc degree. BVSc stands for Bachelor of Veterinary Science and is the basic degree required to become a vet. The course is a full-time 5 year programme in veterinary science taught at South African universities by lecturers who are experts in their field, making it an ideal place for you to learn about your chosen career path (as long as you don’t mind being surrounded by energetic puppies and kittens!).
The curriculum includes all aspects of veterinary science, from animal behaviour to genetics and everything in between! This means that once you’ve completed the course, you’ll have acquired knowledge about every aspect of animal health care – including diagnosis, treatment options and disease prevention – which makes getting into practice all that much easier.
Expose yourself to as many different types of vet practice as possible.
You’ll be exposed to different types of vet practices and this will help you choose what kind of vet practice you want to specialize in. For example, working in a small animal practice will give you a better idea of what being a small animal vet is like compared to working in a zoo where there are no animals that need treatment.
Work for a set period in an area defined by the SA Veterinary Council.
To be eligible to practice in South Africa, you need to have completed a veterinary degree and have an internship period of at least one year (365 days) under your belt.
It is also possible to apply for an exemption from the SA Veterinary Council, which will allow you to work as a vet during your intern period if you:
- Are not able to find employment as part of your final year of university because of circumstances beyond your control; or
- Were unable to complete a mandatory internship because your academic institution did not offer it.
Consider pursuing further studies.
If you want to become a vet in South Africa, and are still in high school or college, it’s important that you consider pursuing further studies. There are several options available for those who wish to study veterinary medicine:
- You can do a Masters degree in veterinary medicine.
- You can do a PhD in veterinary medicine.
- You can do a Masters degree in animal science or animal health (with an emphasis on zoology).
- Finally, if you would prefer not to take your bachelor’s degree first but rather go straight into higher education upon completion of secondary school or college (as many people do), then there are also opportunities available for this kind of coursework as well–for example through the University of Pretoria’s Animal Health Sciences Program (http://www-124.up.ac.za/AnimalHealthScience/) or Rhodes University’s BSc (Hons) Degree Programme (http://www-124.up.ac.za/AnimalHealthScience/).
Get ready to study hard!
You’ll be required to study hard and work even harder. In order to become a vet, you will need to commit the next 5 years of your life to studying and training while working full time as well.
The reason why it’s so expensive is because veterinarians have one of the highest pay scales in our country, which means that you’ll be able to earn more money than most other professions with your degree. However, this also comes at a price — after paying for tuition fees and books (which can cost up to R50 000), living expenses are usually high enough that many students need loans from banks or government institutions like FNB Student Finance.
Becoming a vet is not easy. You must be prepared to work hard, study for years and learn about a wide range of animals before you can begin your career. But if you are passionate about caring for animals and helping them feel better when they’re sick, then becoming a vet might just be the perfect career choice for you!