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Veterinary Careers

Career possibilities in veterinary sciences are many and diverse - even within the confines of Singapore. Within the membership of the SVA, majority are in private clinical practice with the rest in commercial enterprises, government services and research institutions.

Clinical Practice

This is perhaps the most familiar of the veterinary careers, as direct   contact with the general public is routine. Veterinary surgeons, either   in private practice or employed by organisations such as Singapore Turf   Club, Zoological Gardens, Jurong Bird Park and Underwater World are involved in preventative medicine programmes and the treatment of a variety of animal species.

Those veterinarians in small animal practice generally are presented with the more common domestic animals, such as cats, dogs, birds, fish, rabbits and terrapins. These "general practitioners"   are involved in all aspects of animal care and encounter medical situations in many different animal species on a daily basis. They routinely medically examine and provide treatment for these animals, when needed. They also vaccinate them against preventable diseases, perform a variety of surgical procedures, assist to prevent disease transmission from animals to people, and give advice to animal owners on how to maintain the health of their pets.

Some veterinary surgeons in Singapore may confine themselves to a single species or aspect of veterinary medicine such as equine, avian, marine or zoo animal medicine. They are also involved in multi-discipline medical & surgical treatments of their patients. Given the relative small size of Singapore, it is likely that employment opportunities in these fields would be limited, although there is often a demand for such services in   other countries in the region.

Agri-food & Veterinary Authority

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) is one of the largest employers of veterinarians in Singapore. AVA veterinarians have duties in a number of different areas, these include:

  • Ensuring a continuous supply of quality and safe food through an integrated system of accreditation, inspection and testing.
  • Safeguarding the health of animals by administering animal health programmes to prevent and control diseases of economic and public health importance.
  • Enforcing animal welfare standards, licensing of dogs and pet establishments, investigating animal cruelty and nuisance cases and conducting education programmes on responsible pet ownership.
  • Developing tropical agrotechnology, farming systems and technologies.
  • Developing policies for and administering public communication programmes with the population of Singapore.

Other Veterinary Career Paths

As there is no veterinary college in Singapore, the third "traditional" veterinary career of research & academia is relatively limited (although many opportunities exist in the Asia-Pacific region).   Veterinarians may work in local research facilities involved in preventative medicine, diagnosis and treatment of animals used for research, research activities and enforcing the welfare of animals used for research. However, graduates have found both career opportunities and business success in other fields.

Veterinarians   may be found with large companies and multinational corporations involved in the manufacture and supply of pharmaceuticals, biological products (e.g. vaccines), medical and veterinary technologies, pet foods or specialised feeds for primary producers (e.g. fish, pig or poultry farmers). Veterinarians are also employed in research & development, field trials, extension services or use their expertise in management   positions or consultants.

Veterinary Education

Having decided on a career in Veterinary Science, students may be disconcerted to find there is no veterinary school in Singapore.  Training and undergraduate qualifications must be obtained overseas. Thus a number of factors must be considered when searching for an university offering a veterinary degree program: 

  • whether the university qualification obtained will be acceptable to the authority issuing veterinary licences in Singapore - Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority;
  • the academic requirements of these universities for admission into their undergraduate courses;
  • financial considerations not only for tuition costs, but living & travelling expenses for a period of between 5 to 8 years;
  • Employment prospects on graduation;
  • proximity to Singapore - with regard to family, social & other obligations.

Licensing Requirements & Veterinary Schools

Veterinary degrees from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and veterinary degrees from US veterinary schools that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) are generally acceptable and recognised by AVA. AVA does not recognise veterinarians who have obtained Membership to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) by virtue of EU Directive 2005/36/EC.

Veterinarians who hold veterinary degrees from non-recognised universities may still be eligible for licensing based on passes in the RCVS Statutory Examination for Membership; North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE); Australian National Veterinary Examination (ANVE) or the New Zealand Veterinary Examination (NZNVE).

Academic Requirements

As the demand for admission to veterinary schools exceeds the number of places available, the competition and academic prerequisites are of a very high standard. Many universities require the prospective student to have had some experience with animals and  exposure to the veterinary profession. Frequently, there may be an interview phase to the application.

Students entering a British or Commonwealth university can do so directly from high school, and complete a five or six year undergraduate course. Most of these universities require high achievements in matriculation (GCE   A-levels, SCE Highers, International Baccalaureate etc.) in English,   chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology and perhaps other subjects in various combinations. Examples of the requirements of this system are the universities of Melbourne, CambridgeEdinburgh and Massey.

The veterinary schools in North America require the student to enter a college for a 2 to 4 year "pre-veterinary" undergraduate science degree program prior to application and admission. This is then followed by a four year DVM course. The following sites display the typical requirements of the US & Canadian systems: - Cornell UniversityUC-Davis (California) and Guelph (Ontario Veterinary College)

Expenses & Finance

An overseas course of 5 or more years can be a heavy financial burden. Consideration must be given to not only the tuition fees, but also accommodation, living expenses, books, personal expenses and travel. Estimates of total annual living & tuition expenses run from A$70,000 to US$60,000 and UK34,000.

The following links provide an overview of estimated annual outlays for students studying veterinary science:  SydneyCambridgeEdinburgh, CornellWashington State

Scholarships to pursue overseas veterinary studies are available from the AVA.

Countries - Veterinary Schools

The degrees conferred by the universities listed below are usually accepted by the AVA for registration as a veterinary surgeon in Singapore. However, this is subject to approval by the Chief Veterinary Officer of Singapore.

Further enquiries should be addressed to:

 Ms Cheryl Inguito Daludado

Veterinary Section

Agri Establishment Regulation Group

Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority

52 Jurong Gateway Road #09-01

Singapore 608550

Email: Cheryl_Inguito_Daludado@ava.gov.sg

 Tel (65) 68052521

Please refer to the AVA website for the updated list of veterinary schools.

As a guide, veterinary degrees from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and veterinary degrees from US veterinary schools (AVMA-accredited) are generally recognizable.

Please note that AVA does not recognize veterinarians who have obtained Membership to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) by virtue of EU Directive 2005/36/EC.”

Australia 

 For a full list, visit Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC)

United States

For a full list of AVMA accredited American veterinary colleges, click here.

Veterinarians who hold veterinary degrees from non-recognised universities may still be eligible for licensing based on passes in the RCVS Statutory Examination for Membership; North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE); Australian National Veterinary Examination (ANVE) or the New Zealand Veterinary Examination (NZNVE).