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Career Profile: Veterinarian

Dr.Perez (DVM)

Dr.Perez (DVM)

Yvette Venegas, Reporter

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Veterinary medicine is a 7 to 9-year career. Veterinarians treat, diagnose and research medical conditions and diseases of animals such as pets or livestock for example. Veterinarians also work on preventing diseases by vaccinating and checking patients. Furthermore, veterinarians also perform different surgeries to treat animals with certain medical conditions or injuries.  

There are not many public or private universities in Illinois that offer a Veterinary Medicine program, except the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As you may know, U of I is one of the nation’s top schools with an acceptance rate of 65% and is located in Champaign, IL, you’re forced to dorm. Instead of starting right away at such an expensive school you can go to Morton College or another community college to get your prerequisites. There is a nifty website called: Transferology that allows you to see which of your credits for the courses you take will transfer to your desired 4-year college. A good 4-year college that is affordable to attend is UIC. UIC’s tuition is about $13,000 per semester, given that it is in state and in our area, there is no need for paying room and board. UIC also provides students with Ventra cards to get to and from school via public transportation. UIC has a great pre-veterinary medicine program that prepares you for vet school. The Pre-veterinary medicine program is also a requirement to apply for Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. UIUC being the only university offering a Veterinary Medicine program in the state is the cheapest option for that career. For residents, the tuition per semester is around $13,789. There are no proprietary schools offering this program.  

Dr. Perez grew up in Chicago in little Village. He and his older brother would take in stray dogs and cats and together nursed him back to health. Through doing so he discovered his true calling. He now works at one of his three clinics, one being on Ogden in Cicero.  

Q:  Tell me about your job. Is what you do differently in any way from what others in your occupation do?  

 A: As a Veterinarian you must work with animals, treat, vaccinate, and perform surgeries on them. 

Q: Can you tell me about your background and how you got into this field?  

A: From Chicago, I grew up in Little Village. His older brother loved animals as well and together they would take in stray dogs and cats and they would nurse them back to health.   

Q: What personal characteristics are required for someone to be successful in your job? 

A: You need to be really determined, self-directed, self-motivated, and really committed.  

Q: How much job security is there for people in your field?  

A: There is a lot of job security especially because the pet care industry is a billion-dollar business. Pets are more often considered a part of the family. 

Q: What other jobs could you do with the skills you have gained in this field? 

A: You can teach at universities or do research, pharmacy for animals, work in a laboratory or specialize in something specific.    

Q: What do you think the future holds for people in your occupation? 

A: It is a growing occupation, many people especially millennials are adopting pets instead of having children.  

Q:  What are the biggest challenges in your job? 

A: When a family is unable to pay for their pets’ treatment, which happens so often. 

Q: Are there many opportunities in your field? What should people do to get started? 

A: Yes, there are. Volunteer in numerous Vet hospitals and aim to get good grades.  

Q: Do you feel like the path to your career was difficult?  

A: It was difficult but worth it. It is very rewarding. It was hard to get accepted. 

Q: If you could go back and do something differently what would you change? 

A: Nothing.  

Q: What are some things you would recommend someone going for this field should do? 

A: Volunteer at vet clinics, work hard for good grades and be self-motivated. 

Q:  What school did you attend? And why? Did you like it there?  

A: Western University and U of I. U of I is a great school and one of the only ones offering a Veterinary medicine program. They’re both great schools.  

Q:  Were you in a lot of debt with student loans after you finished school? 

A: Yes, around $150,000  

Q: What are some of the health benefits or retirement benefits your occupation offers? 

A: If you have your own private practice you must set up your own retirement plan. If you work for a corporation, they offer you insurance and a retirement plan. 

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Career Profile: Veterinarian