Alternative Careers for Veterinarians

For many veterinarians, working as a general practice veterinarian may have seemed like the only available path after finishing your studies. However, while it may be the most common direction taken by graduates, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an array of alternative careers for vets.

Veterinary graduates are extremely well-prepared to take on lots of different roles in society. They have a wealth of transferable skills allowing them to move into these different fields with ease. Knowing how to emphasise these skills is essential.

In order to give you a better idea of what’s out there, we’ll take a look at some alternative job ideas for former vets.

Alternative Jobs for Vets: Working with Animals

It’s no secret that people become vets for their love of animals. Perhaps, you’re looking for a change but still want to work with animals on a daily basis. We’ve compiled a list of some alternative careers for vets that allow you to stay in touch with animals.

Animal Nutritionist

As an animal nutritionist, you’ll use scientific knowledge to advise on how diet can affect the health and well-being of animals. You’ll most likely work with farm animals, however, it’s not uncommon to also work with animals in zoos or with pets. There are jobs available in animal charities, animal welfare organisations, government positions, research facilities, and even freelance positions.

Animal Physiotherapy

Animal physiotherapy, or veterinary physiotherapy, is an extremely important area of animal care. Its main purpose is to help animals restore and maintain mobility, function, independence, and performance. It’s possible to work with all animals, although horses, dogs, and cats are most common. You can specialise in areas such as hydrotherapy, small or large animal physiotherapy, or horse and rider physiotherapy.

Animal Chiropractor

Animal chiropractors specialize in the treatment of the neurological and musculoskeletal systems of animals. They perform adjustments to joints and vertebrae in an effort to alleviate pain, restore balance, and improve performance. You can expect to work with pets, zoo animals, livestock, and racehorses.

Alternative Jobs for Vets: Working in Other Industries

Although working with animals is a huge factor in the decision to become a veterinarian, some may want to steer away from direct animal work as time goes on. If this is the case, there are still plenty of other job ideas for former vets. Retraining may be necessary in many cases.


A veterinary pharmacist may be involved in dispensing medication that has been prescribed by a veterinarian, consulting on dosage and side effects, taking inventory, and supervising pharmacy technicians or other support staff members. Communicating with the owner of a pet or livestock animal is necessary so that they understand how to administer the medication.


If you’ve been working as a veterinarian for a long period of time, you may be interested in delving into teaching or lecturing. It is necessary to hold a PhD or MSc, however, it would open up many doors for veterinarians looking for alternative careers. In this line of work, you would work in universities or colleges writing and developing course content, planning and presenting lectures, tutorials, seminars, and workshops, and providing support for students.

Finding Alternative Careers for Veterinarians

If you’re looking for a career change, we’ve got some of the best jobs for veterinarians on our live job board. Be sure to check back regularly for updates and new job positions. Refreshing a Career is packed with support and advice for career changers.

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