Although it's assumed that animals are predisposed to repopulate their species, there are times when help is needed to reproduce. This is where a Veterinary Theriogenologist steps in. Doctors of Veterinary Medicine specialize in advanced knowledge of reproductive surgery and medicine for both equine and small animal species. For those that have a desire to become a Veterinary Theriogenologist, the path requires extensive educational and practical training. However, once the candidate successfully navigates these hurdles, the career can be quite rewarding.
What is a Veterinary Theriogenologist?
A Veterinary Theriogenologist is considered a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine specialty that focuses on reproductive surgery and medicine. Individuals who choose this vocation focus their efforts on the pathology and physiology of female and male animal reproductive systems. This includes advanced study into veterinary gynecology, obstetrics and andrology. This profession is also one of the specialist categories of Veterinary medicine that can become board certified.
Some of the typical job duties of a veterinarian that specializes in Theriogenology will include:
Typically, a Veterinarian Theriogenologist will work in private practice, become a teacher at a college or university with a veterinary specialty, complete research and publish reports, create new medical techniques, diagnostic testing or devices to solve reproductive issues in animals.
These medical specialists also have the opportunity to specialize in individual animal species including:
The Educational Requirements for Becoming a Veterinary Theriogenologist
A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree is required for any veterinary theriogenologist. The educational path typically begins by obtaining a Bachelor Degree in applied sciences. After being accepted to a veterinary medical school, the candidate must complete four years of additional education and pass examinations in order to be classified as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. However, the path to becoming a theriogenologist is not yet complete.
After graduating from veterinary college, a candidate must enroll in a residency program that leads to receiving board certification in the veterinary specialty of theriogenology. This residency program consists of two years of in-the-field training and an additional year of clinical studies that is supervised by a current Theriogenology diplomate. The program is administrated and reviewed by the American College of Theriogenologists (ACT).
After completing this residency program and passing the board certification examinations, a candidate finally becomes a Diplomate of Veterinary Theriogenology. According to the American College of Theriogenologists (ACT), in 2011 there were 379 active ACT diplomats in the United States.
Step by Step Educational Path of a Veterinary Theriogenologist
Pre-Graduate School Bachelor Degree
A Bachelor's Degree is the first educational requirement of any veterinary theriogenologist. During the candidates first four years of study, they will focus on mathematics, biological sciences, physics, and chemistry. Due to the fact that all veterinary medical schools have different entrance requirements, it's advised that the candidate for a Theriogenology degree contact many veterinary colleges to ensure their core course study is applicable and transferable.
During pre-graduate education training, it is also advised that potential veterinarians focus on adding interpersonal skill courses in communications, business and marketing. This is especially helpful for future theriogenologists who wish to open their own private practice.
Earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Once a candidate has graduated with their bachelor degree, the next step in the educational track is being accepted to, and graduating from, veterinary college. This is a four-year program, with specific focus during the first two years on general animal sciences and education, including anatomy, physiology, virology and nutrition. During a candidate’s third year of veterinary college, she or she will transition their skills in a clinical setting. During the final year, the candidate will combine classroom and clinical studies with onsite education, typically completed at veterinary hospitals, or colleges that work in conjunction with the veterinary college.
This is also where the licensing exam is taken. In order to practice veterinary medicine, a candidate must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. Most states require additional certification to practice theriogenology, and the requirements vary by state.
Complete a Veterinary Theriogenologist Residency Program
The American College of Theriogenologists oversees and approves the residency program for becoming a Veterinary Theriogenologist. This program is an extension to the prerequisite six to eight years of education required to become a DVM. The residency program is designed to provide recent graduates of veterinary college extensive on-hands training with a current theriogenologist, and prepare them for board certification examinations.
The program consists of one year of clinical training along with two additional years of residency. The criteria for eventually becoming an ACT diplomate include:
Understanding the Career Path of Becoming a Veterinary Theriogenologist
Career Options for Veterinary Theriogenologist
Career options for a Veterinary Theriogenologist range from working in a private practice, private testing facilities, zoos and animal parks, to pharmaceutical companies, veterinary hospitals and academia. It is common for new diplomats of theriogenology to begin their careers working for existing practices. However, it is also fairly common for these individuals to open their own private practice.
The primary consideration regarding which career path to follow mainly falls on which specialty the candidate selects. For recently appointed board certified theriogenologists who specialize in small animals, working in private veterinary offices or clinics is extremely popular. For those that specialize in large animals or equine, finding career options within a research facility and with existing breeders is the primary choice.
For all veterinarians, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) outlined a median annual wage of $82,900, in the most recent survey, dated May, 2010.
Although the BLS does not separate specific salary information for each veterinary specialty, the lowest ten-percent of all veterinarians earned less than $50,480 per year. The highest ten percent earned a salary of well over $141,680 each year. Board certified specialists would earn salaries near the top of this range because of their extensive experience and qualifications.
As reported in the DVM Newsmagazine, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Biennial Economic Survey of 2009 outlined that on average, theriogenologists earned a mean salary of $109,618. Among all veterinary board certified specialties, theriogenologists ranked near the bottom on the salary scale.
In 2011, the AVMA Report on Veterinary Compensation revealed that board certified theriogenologists earned between $121,000 and $132,603 annually.
Aspiring theriogenologists can also earn anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000 per year while completing their residencies. This compensation, however, is much less than a veterinarian would earn in clinical practice.
According to the BLS, (Bureau of Labor Statistics) the field of Veterinary Medicine should experience significant growth in the next five years. In fact, career options in the Veterinary sciences are expected to increase by nearly thirty-five percent — and at a much faster rate than the average growth for all professions. Whether or not this translates into the specialty of Veterinary Theriogenology has yet to be determined.
The educational and practical training required to become a Veterinary Theriogenologist is extensive. The fact that less than thirty candidates in the specialty pass board certification annually in the United States indicates the competitive nature of this profession. However, with more private pet owners seeking the expert advice of veterinary specialists, including theriogenologists, the career outlook for this profession appears to be solid.