VMD Vs DVM: Make a Choice for a Better Veterinary Career

Published on Apr 26, 2023 12:00 AM
VMD Vs DVM: Make a Choice for a Better Veterinary Career

Veterinary professionals may encounter multiple degrees when looking for their education options. The two most common veterinary degrees include the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and the Veterinary Medical Doctor.

Although both degrees help you become a veterinarian, there are some notable differences. 

In this guide, we’ll have insights into VMD Vs DVM and discuss different types of veterinary degrees. 

Apart from that, we’ll talk about the curriculum, career paths, and professional opportunities available to graduates of veterinary programs. 

Whether you want to become a vet tech or a practicing veterinarian, this comprehensive guide will help you decide about your veterinary education.

Understanding the Difference: VMD Vs DVM

doctor of veterinary medicine and veterinary nurse examing a pet

In veterinary education, there are two main types of degrees. These are Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD). 

Although both degrees have the same values, there are some key differences. 

•  What Does DVM Stand for in Veterinary Education?

DVM stands for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Accredited veterinary schools offer this four-year degree program. 

Typically, this program covers several topics, such as animal anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, surgery, and clinical practice.

•  What Does VMD Stand for in Veterinary Education?

VMD stands for Veterinary Medical Doctor. Although this program is not as offered as the DVM degree, it is equivalent in training and licensure. 

Actually, the University of the Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is the only accredited school that offers the VMD degree. 

•  Curriculum Differences: VMD Vs VMD Program

DVM and VMD programs cover similar topics, both requiring four years of study. 

However, there are some differences in their curriculums. The University of Pennsylvania’s VMD focuses on research and public health.

On the other hand, DVM programs are more clinically oriented. However, both degrees provide training for graduates to become licensed veterinarians.

•  Career Paths for DVM and VMD Graduates

Both DVM and VMD graduates have many career opportunities in veterinary medicine. 

Some common career options include working in private practice, in the research and development sector, in animal hospitals, with government agencies, or teaching at veterinary schools. 

What is a DVM Vet, and What Do They Do?

A DVM vet, or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, is a licensed professional who has completed a degree program in veterinary medicine.

Moreover, they have special training to diagnose and treat different animal species. 

Factually, DVM vets work in a variety of settings ranging from private clinics, animal hospitals, and research facilities to government agencies.

•  Responsibilities of a DVM Vet

The responsibilities of a DVM vet can vary depending on their specific area of practice.

Typically, the duties include 

  • Performing physical exams
  • Diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries
  • Prescribing medications
  • Performing surgical procedures

Apart from that, DVM vets are responsible for advising pet owners on animal care and nutrition.

Besides, they provide preventive care to animals, including vaccinations and routine check-ups.

•  Specializations Available for DVM Vets

For DVM vets, there are several specialized areas of veterinary medicine. The most common include surgery, dentistry, oncology, and cardiology. 

However, the specialization requires additional training and certification beyond the DVM degree in addition to the completion of a residency program.

•  How to Become a DVM Vet

To become a DVM vet, students must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program from an accredited institution. 

They have to complete a four-year undergraduate degree followed by a four-year DVM program. 

Not only this, after graduation, individuals need to pass a licensing exam to become licensed veterinarians.

•  Challenges and Rewards of a DVM Vet Career

There’s nothing wrong with saying that a career as a DVM is rewarding and fulfilling; however, it has some challenges. 

  • DVM professionals may have to work long hours, including weekends.
  • They may be called for emergencies outside regular duty hours. 
  • The job can be hectic both physically and emotionally.
  • They may have to make difficult decisions regarding animal health and welfare.

•  Advantages of Pursuing a DVM Degree

A DVM degree is more widely recognized and accepted than a VMD program. 

This helps professionals while seeking employment and applying for licensure and certification. 

Additionally, compared to VMD, DVM programs offer a broader range of specializations, including public health. 

•  Drawbacks of Pursuing a DVM Degree

One of the main challenges of pursuing a DVM degree is the program's competitiveness.

DVM programs are highly selective, and the admissions process can be hectic. 

In addition, this program is intense and requires a significant time commitment.

•  Alternative Veterinary Programs to Consider

No doubt, DVM programs are widely recognized, but some alternative degrees are also available to consider. 
These include veterinary technician and technologist programs. 

These programs offer a shorter and less expensive path to a career in veterinary medicine.

Additionally, these are good alternatives for students who may not want to pursue a DVM or VMD degree.

Role of VMD Professionals in Veterinary Medicine

As discussed above, Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris (VMD) is a degree offered by the University of Pennsylvania. It’s equivalent to the DVM degree offered by other universities in the US. 

VMD professionals are licensed veterinarians who have training and duties similar to that of DVM practitioners. 

•  What Do VMD Vets Do?

DVM professionals are trained to provide medical care to various animals, including 

  • Domestic pets
  • Livestock
  • Wildlife

Besides that, they 

  • Perform routine check-ups
  • Diagnose and treat animal’s illnesses and injuries
  • Perform surgeries on animals
  • Provide preventive care such as vaccinations and parasite control

All these duties and responsibilities are like that of DVM professionals.

•  Specializations Available for VMD Professionals

Like DVM practitioners, VMD vets can also specialize in various areas of veterinary medicine, including

  • Dermatology
  • Cardiology
  • Oncology
  • Dentistry and others

Specialization after the VMD program requires additional training, certification, and experience. 

All veterinary specialties are under the authorization of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), including 41 different areas of practice. 

Specialization can provide VMD professionals with advanced skills and knowledge, making them more competitive in their careers.

•  How to Become a VMD Professional

In order to become a VMD professional, students have to complete a four-year veterinary medicine program at the University of the Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. 

To get admission, applicants should have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and meet the school's admission requirements. 

After graduation, to get a license to practice veterinary medicine, VMD degree holders must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE).

•  Pros and Cons of Pursuing a VMD Degree

Pros of pursuing a VMD degree include:

  • The prestige of graduating from one of the top-ranked veterinary schools in the country
  • Access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment
  • Opportunity to work with world-renowned faculty members.

Cons of pursuing a VMD degree include:

  • The high cost of tuition
  • Limited geographic mobility due to the school's location
  • Competition for admission to the program.

Choosing between DVM and VMD Degrees: Factors to Consider

Veterinary medicine is a diverse, as well as challenging, field. It requires special training and education to become a competent professional. 

veterinarians examing a dog at veterinary clinic - vmd vs dvm

Students interested in veterinary medicine must have knowledge and research about VMD Vs DVM. 

Although both degrees offer a career in veterinary medicine, there are several factors to consider before choosing one.

•  Accreditation: DVM Vs VMD Programs

The program's accreditation is one of the most critical factors to consider. 

Both programs must meet specific requirements to receive accreditation from the AVMA. 

Basically, the accreditation ensures that the program meets specific academic and clinical standards.
It also evaluates that graduates have the potential to seek a career in veterinary medicine.

•  Geographic Location of DVM and VMD Programs

The program's location is another significant factor to consider while looking into VMD Vs DVM. 

Students should make sure that the location of the institute is in their desired area and that it is easy to access. 

The reason for desired location is that it can affect:

  • The cost of attendance
  • Available resources
  • The animal species and diseases that students will come across during their studies. 

•  Cost Factor: VMD Vs DVM Program

When choosing between DVM and VMD programs, the cost of attendance is a critical factor to consider.

Veterinary programs can be expensive. 
Therefore, students should calculate the cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, and living expenses. 
This would help them determine if they can afford the particular program.

Additionally, to compensate for the cost of attendance, students should consider financial aid options, such as scholarships and grants.

•  Personal Interests and Career Goals: DVM Vs VMD

Personal interests and career goals are also essential to consider when pursuing DVM or VMD programs. 

Students must be aware that both programs offer different specializations and career opportunities. 

Before getting admission, they should research each program's curriculum and career options.
This way, they can determine which program best aligns with their interests and goals.

Different Types of Veterinary Degrees

Except for the DVM and VMD programs, there are other veterinary degrees that students can pursue.

•  BVMS vs. DVM: Basic Difference

BVMS stands for Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. Veterinary schools in the UK and some other states offer this five year degree program. 

The curriculum of the BVMS program is the same as that of the DVM program. However, it strongly emphasizes animal science and husbandry.

•  MVetMed vs. DVM: Which One is More Valuable?

MVetMed stands for Master of Veterinary Medicine. A few universities offer this degree program, which requires two years of study beyond the DVM or BVMS degree. 

In comparison with the DVM, the MVetMed program provides additional training in specific areas of veterinary medicine, such as surgery, pathology, or epidemiology. 

It is more valuable for those who want to specialize in any area of veterinary medicine.

•  Veterinary Courses and Programs: An Overview

Typically, veterinary courses and programs cover various topics related to animal health and welfare. 

These topics include anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, pathology, surgery, and diagnostic techniques. 

In addition, there are a few other courses in animal behavior, nutrition, and husbandry.

Most of the veterinary programs involve clinical rotations or externships for hands-on experience in various veterinary settings. 

Primarily, this practical experience helps students develop the skills to succeed as veterinary professionals.

Besides traditional degrees, many schools also offer several certificate programs for specializing in veterinary medicine, for instance, equine or exotic animal medicine. 

Commonly, these programs have a shorter duration and are designed for practitioners who wish to improve their skills in a particular area

Career Paths and Opportunities for Veterinary Professionals

•  Job Prospects in Veterinary Profession

Graduates of DVM and VMD programs have many job opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the employment of veterinarians will increase by 16% from 2019 to 2029. 

This growth is much faster than the average for all occupations. 
Basically, this growth is owing to the increasing demand for veterinary services and the need to keep pets healthy. 

Besides, in the near future, job prospects will be good for graduates specializing in food, animal medicine, public health, or research.

•  Employment Settings for Veterinary Professionals:

DVM and VMD graduates can work in various settings, including private practices, research facilities, zoos, animal shelters, and government agencies.

Most veterinarians work in private practices, either in general veterinary medicine or in a specialized area such as surgery, dentistry, or emergency and critical care.

•  Salary Expectations for Veterinarians:

The BLS reports, in May 2020, the average annual wage for veterinary professionals was $99,250 

The lowest 10 percent earned was less than $60,690, and the highest 10 percent earned was more than $164,490. 

The salary expectations for DVM and VMD professionals depend on several factors.

  • Level of experience
  • Specialty
  • The geographic location of their practice

•  Continuing Education and Professional Development 

Continuing education and professional development are essential for veterinary professionals to stay current with the latest advancements in veterinary medicine. 

CE courses can help veterinarians learn about new treatments and techniques, as well as stay informed about changes in regulations and laws.

Many professional organizations, such as AVMA and AAHA, offer continuing education opportunities for veterinary professionals. 

Additionally, veterinarians may choose to pursue board certification in a specialty area, which advances their knowledge and expertise in that field.


Choosing between a DVM and VMD degree can be a challenging decision. Several factors need to be considered before making a choice. 

A DVM degree, compared to a VMD program, offers several advantages. However, challenges are also there.

Ultimately, it's important to research VMD vs DVM, considering all options to make a wise decision.  

Students should also explore alternative veterinary programs that align better with individual goals and interests.

If you’re looking for CE courses, educational programs, or free webinars, we offer all of them. Vet and Tech’s multiple veterinary programs are all-inclusive for students as well as professionals. 

Explore our pages for Vet Resources and Webinars


Q: What is the basic difference between a DVM and a VMD degree?

The DVM and VMD degrees are both equivalent veterinary medical degrees but are offered by different schools. 

Schools accredited by the AVMA award the DVM degree, while the University of Pennsylvania offers the VMD degree.

Q: What are some career paths for DVM and VMD graduates?

DVM and VMD graduates have a variety of career paths. These include working in private practice, research, academia, public health, and animal welfare organizations.

Q: What factors should I consider when choosing between a DVM and VMD degree?

When choosing between a DVM and VMD degree, you should consider the accreditation of the program, the geographic location of the school, the cost of tuition, and your personal interests and career goals.