The Veterinary field has become increasingly popular with Singaporeans, and there is a demand for manpower in the pet sector. Are you one such individual? While many opt to go abroad to pursue veterinary studies, Singapore currently has 3 veterinary-related courses you can consider.
Who should become a Vet?
Having a deep love of animals is a good start, but it definitely isn’t enough! Vets are surgeons, dentists, anaesthetists, radiologists, and obstetricians all at once. Accordingly, their studies are intense and do not lose out to medical degrees in any way. If you’re not ready for this, do rethink your decision.
Another important thing to note is that a key part of a vet’s job is human interaction; choosing this field in order to avoid talking to people would be a grave mistake. Of course, you must also learn to be comfortable with mess (we’re talking about bodily fluids, poop, pee, and the like).
To become a vet, you must complete a five or six-year undergraduate course (after high school for those entering British or Commonwealth Universities or in their education systems). Alternatively, you can read a two-to-four-year related undergraduate course before heading for a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine course (the system NUS currently adopts).
What type of Vet can I become?
There are many types of vets out there! Here are a few sample paths/specialisations you can explore.
1) Companion Animal Veterinarians
Also known as small animal veterinarians, these individuals care for your cats, dogs and more! They are the ‘family doctors’ in the industry who provide the primary care, from annual check-ups and vaccinations to sterilisations, that our furry friends need. They can be found in pet hospitals, clinics and private practices.
2) Veterinary Specialists
According to the Singapore Veterinary Association, these individuals are those who have “undergone extensive training in a chosen field of discipline”. They must have gone through a rigorous training programme, published studies in peer-reviewed journals, be involved in a set minimal amount of cases and pass an exhaustive examination process.
Some fields of specialisation include internal medicine, ophthalmology, dermatology, and neurology.
3) Food-Animal Veterinarians
These vets care for livestock or farm animals raised for food consumption and production. They are key to maintaining a healthy food supply but are less commonly found in Singapore due to limited demand.
4) Research Veterinarians
These vets may work in labs, universities (in research teams), or other research environments to prevent, treat and diagnose human and animal health problems. They may also be involved in ensuring that any animals involved in any tests are properly and humanely cared for.
Research veterinarians require extensive training; you can expect them to have Doctorates in Veterinary Medicine and higher-level qualifications (Doctorates/Master’s) in another field.
How to Become a Vet in Singapore
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) recognises degrees from the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as US veterinary schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Those with non-recognised degrees may still be eligible for licensing; do check the Singapore Veterinary Association’s website for further details.
Alternate paths for those who do not intend to practise include Research & Development (in academia, pet food companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.) and careers with the AVA.
If you’re unsure about taking this niche path, do take up a volunteering stint with an animal clinic or a student attachment first! The Singapore Veterinary Association (SVA) provides a list of AVA-registered vet clinics here.
What is a Vet’s average salary?
According to Payscale, the median annual salary of a Veterinarian is SGD 48,935. This increases as you grow in seniority.
Without further ado, here are your options should you want to read a veterinary course in Singapore.
I’m keen on a career in the Veterinary field, but I don’t want to be a Vet
You can become a Vet Tech! Vet Techs assist Vets in the diagnosing and treating of animals. Their duties include the administering of medications and vaccinations, collecting samples, wound care, basic lab work, procedures such as teeth cleaning, monitoring vital statistics, and so on. Generally, the terms vet tech and vet nurse are interchangeable in many places. Here in Singapore, Temasek Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic offer programmes to get you started in this career.
According to Payscale, the median annual salary of a Vet Tech is SGD 28,788, with this figure increasing as you grow in seniority.
Tired of searching and comparing various veterinary courses?
Here are the schools in Singapore offering veterinary courses!
*All course fees are for 2022/23 intakes and are subject to changes depending on the school. All fees are in SGD unless otherwise stated. This is merely a list and not an endorsement of the courses listed, do conduct sufficient research to make sure a course fits your needs!
- National University of Singapore – Concurrent Degree Programme with The University of Melbourne
Launched in 2018, this is Singapore’s first-ever offering for veterinary science at the degree level. Interested students must first gain admission into NUS’s Faculty of Science and declare their intent to major in Life Sciences. They can then apply for the programme within the stipulated time frame and await an interview if shortlisted.
Students in this Combined Degree Programme are expected to maintain a CAP of 4.00 or above for the first 5 semesters to gain admittance into the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programme. They will then head to the University of Melbourne in semester six when they begin studying for the DVM in earnest.
Students in this programme have the option of exiting and continuing with the default choice of study (BSc in Life Sciences). Graduates of the DVM programme will be able to practise in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Duration: 5.5–6.5 years in total
Fees (approximate): When broken down, local students have to pay approximately SGD 20,625 for the first 5 semesters in NUS, AUD $50,460 for the sixth and seventh semesters (first year of DVM that double counts toward the BSc), and AUD 232,032 for the remaining 3 years (paid as an international graduate student).
Curriculum: The DVM at the University of Melbourne has 4 tracks: the Small Animal Track, the Production Animal Track, the Equine Track, and last but not least, the Government, Industry and Conservation Health track. The last year of the DVM will involve industry placements.
- Temasek Polytechnic – Diploma in Veterinary Technology
The first polytechnic to offer a full-time course in Veterinary Technology, Temasek Polytechnic has the added advantage of having its own veterinary clinic (called the TP Animal Clinic and licensed in 2011) that serves as a learning enterprise for student training. With Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Diploma in Veterinary Bioscience no longer accepting students, the Polytechnic is currently the only one to offer a full-time Veterinary Science related course. Students will have to undertake an internship locally or overseas in their final year, and one of their internship partners is the Mars Veterinary Health Group, which the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty (VES) Hospital is part of.
Duration: 3 years
Fees: SGD 3,000 per annum for Singaporean students (with Study Grant), SGD 6,200 per annum for PRs (with Study Grant), and SGD 11,400 for International students (with Study Grant)
Curriculum: Students will read modules such as Basic Microbiology, Animal Anatomy & Physiology, Aquatic Care, Health & Diseases, Veterinary Pharmacology & Toxicology, as well as Fundamental Subject modules and a Major Project.
- Temasek Polytechnic – Specialist Diploma in Veterinary Wellness Care
This course is a Work-Study Post-Diploma programme for fresh polytechnic graduates (within 3 years of graduation) with full-time applied sciences-related courses of study (mentioned below) who are interested in becoming a Junior Veterinary Technician. Only those who are hired successfully and placed on this programme by participating companies will be invited to apply.
The relevant feeder courses include Veterinary Technology, Veterinary Bioscience, Biomedical Science, Biotechnology, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Occupational Therapy.
Duration: 12 months
Fees (payable per PDC): SGD 500.76 for Singaporeans 40 and below, SGD 333.84 for Singaporeans 40 and above, SGD 1,335.36 for PRs, SGD 344.76 for those under Enhanced Training Support, SGD 3,338.40 for others
Curriculum: Modules include 1) Animal Communication, Behaviour and Enrichment, 2) Animal Nursing Care and Health, 3) Animal Rescue Care, 4) Fundamentals of Complementary Veterinary Medicine and Care, 5) Animal Rehabilitation and Wellness Techniques, and 6) Animal Rehabilitation and Wellness Techniques
- Ngee Ann Polytechnic – Specialist Diploma in Veterinary Clinical Practice
Offered by NP’s School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology, this programme consists of 2 Post Diploma Certificates: the Post-Diploma Certificate in Clinical Procedures and the Post-Diploma Certificate in Professional Practices. Applicants should have a local Polytechnic Diploma or Degree in a relevant discipline or at least 5 years of relevant working experience. There will be an interview and/or an entrance test.
Duration: 12 months (lessons held thrice a week per semester in the evenings, 4 hours each time)
Fees (per semester): SGD 448.53 for Singaporeans 40 and below, SGD 299.01 for Singaporeans 40 and above, SGD 1196.04 for PRs, SGD 308.79 for those under Enhanced Training Support, SGD 2990.13 for others
Curriculum: Modules studied include Clinical Diagnostic Techniques, Emergency and Critical Care, Pain Management and Anaesthesia, Veterinary Products and Services, Shelter Management, as well as Clinical Applications
- Ngee Ann Polytechnic – Diploma (Conversion) in Veterinary Clinical Science
This course is conducted via blended learning, with both face-to-face and online lessons. It consists of two PDCs: the Post-Diploma Certificate in Essentials of Veterinary Clinical Science and the Post-Diploma Certificate in Fundamentals in Veterinary Clinical Science.
You will need a local Polytechnic Diploma or a recognised Degree to enrol for this course. If you do not have the former, you may be accepted if you have at least 5 years of relevant working experience or supporting evidence of competency readiness. There will be an interview and/or an entrance test.
Duration: 1 year (lessons held thrice a week per semester in the evenings, 4 hours each time)
Fees (per semester): SGD 398.69 for Singaporeans 40 and below, SGD 274.48 for Singaporeans 40 and above, SGD 1063.15 for PRs, SGD 272.51 for those under Enhanced Training Support, SGD 2657.89 for others
Curriculum: Modules studied include Veterinary Professional Essentials, Veterinary Diseases & Pathology, Veterinary Anatomy & Physiology, Veterinary Clinical Pathology & Immunology, Veterinary Pharmacology & Toxicology, as well as Veterinary Diagnostics, Surgical & Treatment Procedures
We wish you all the best in your future veterinary career!
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