Veterinarians (Vets) diagnose, treat and help to prevent disease and injury in animals. They advise on measures to prevent the occurrence or spread of diseases and on ways to improve the health and productivity of animals, and supervise safety standards on food supplies.

Where veterinarians are employed

Most vets concentrate on a specific area of work such as small animals, horses or livestock. They generally work by themselves or in a small business that typically supports up to six veterinarians. Much of their private practice work in urban areas involves pet dogs and cats, while practices dealing with farm animals are usually based in country towns. Vets may also be employed by government departments in monitoring, controlling and researching animal disease.


Full-time veterinarians in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scale for Veterinarian

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 334 people employed full-time as veterinarians in South Australia, compared with 301 in 2006.

How to become one

To become a veterinarian you usually have to complete an accredited veterinary science degree at university. Alternatively, you can complete a relevant degree such as science, animal science or veterinary bioscience, followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your SACE.   

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SACE).

Check South Australian Universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities, visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

Licensing or registration requirements

To work as veterinarian you must be registered with the Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia.

Recognition of qualifications and skills obtained outside Australia

Unless applicants have gained their veterinary degree from prescribed institutions in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or have gained admission to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London by examination, applicants must pass the National Veterinary Examination (NVE) conducted by the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Incorporated (AVBC). The AVBC is the assessing body for the profession of veterinary science for the purpose of migration.

If you have overseas gained qualifications and your qualifications are not immediately eligible for registration, you will need to successfully complete the National Veterinary Examination offered by the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Inc.

For information about assessment of overseas qualifications, and looking for work in Australia visit Recognition of overseas qualifications or contact Skilled Arrival Services on 08 8303 2420 or email

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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