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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Turning your hobby into a profession is probably the dream of many people. Children, in particular, are often heard saying: “When I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian!” The closeness to animals and the certainty of doing good and helping sick animals is undoubtedly a beautiful and honourable thought. But as with so many things in life, there are not only sunny sides to this profession. Studying veterinary medicine is long and hard, the daily routine is sometimes stressful and emotional, and the salary is comparatively low. You can find out everything you need to know about the profession of veterinary medicine here. 

What are the requirements for studying veterinary medicine in Austria?

Veterinary medicine is one of the most popular fields of study in Austria. The prerequisite is the university entrance qualification (Matura/Abitur). 

An alternative option is to take a university entrance qualification examination. By taking this examination, you can also obtain the entitlement to study a specific degree programme in a field of study at an Austrian university without the matura. 

The so-called examination for profession (Berufsreifeprüfung in german) represents a third option, through which people who have completed vocational training have the same rights as people with a university entrance qualification. 

In addition, successful completion of an admission procedure is required, in which, among other things, an aptitude test must be taken. This is a multiple-choice test on various questions from the fields of biology, chemistry and physics. The matura grade does not play a role in austria. 

Where can you study veterinary medicine in Austria?

The only university you can choose from is the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. On their homepage you can read all the important details about the requirements and more: https://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/de/studium/zulassung/

What are the requirements for studying veterinary medicine in Germany?

Veterinary medicine is also one of the most popular subjects in germany. The basic requirement is the “Abitur”. If you do not have an Abitur, there are also alternative ways to qualify for the degree in Germany (Examination for talented for employed persons, general university access for those with vocational qualifications, as well as the possibility of subject-linked university access).

In contrast to austria, admission to a german university is regulated by the abitur grade (average of 1.1 – 1.5). People with a comparatively higher abitur grade are given preference, all others have to fear for one of the much sought-after places or wait a very long time.  

Where can I study veterinary medicine in germany?

Compared to austria, you can study veterinary medicine at five different universities in germany. For the sake of simplicity, you can click directly on the links and you will come to the respective homepage. There you can find the requirements for studying veterinary medicine as well as all other important information.

BerlinFU: https://www.vetmed.fuberlin.de/studium/studieninteressierte/zulassungveterinaermedizin/index.html

Giessen: https://www.uni-giessen.de/studium/studienangebot/stx/tiermedizin

Hannover TiHo: https://www.tiho-hannover.de/studium-lehre/studium-der-tiermedizin/tiermedizin-studieren-an-der-tiho-video

Leipzig: https://www.vetmed.uni-leipzig.de/studium/studiengang-veterinaermedizin-staatsexamen/

Munich: https://www.vetmed.unimuenchen.de/studium/info_studieninteressenten/zulassung/index.html

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How long does it take to study veterinary medicine?

As a rule, studying veterinary medicine in germany and austria takes a relatively long time. You should expect at least 11-12 semesters, around 6 years of study. The study programme itself is divided into different stages. In addition to the acquisition of knowledge, the theoretical part, there is also a practical part. You also have to complete various internships, including one in a slaughterhouse. 

What is the title of the veterinary medicine degree?

After graduation, you receive the title Mag.Vet.Med. A doctorate is not a prerequisite, but you can obtain a doctorate by writing a scientific paper (dissertation). 

What is the professional profile of a veterinarian?

The main tasks of a veterinarian include the examination, care and medical treatment of sick and healthy animals. However, the profession encompasses many more tasks than many people think. Often, perception and reality are far apart:

  • Prevention of diseases, health maintenance
  • Vaccinations and blood sampling 
  • Transfusions, infusions, injections
  • Diagnostics using various medical devices
  • Blood tests, faecal examinations, laboratory diagnostics
  • Consultations, advice for animal owners
  • Wound treatment
  • Operations of any kind
  • Prescription of medicines
  • Calculation of dosages
  • Issuing certificates and expert opinions
  • Artificial respiration (especially for farm animals) and obstetrics
  • Euthanasia
  • Carrying out inspections
  • Business management tasks
  • And much more.

In which fields can a veterinarian work?

After graduating in veterinary medicine, there are various employment opportunities. On the one hand, you can set up your own clinic/office or you can take on an employment contract in an existing business or similar. The fields of activity include, among others:

  • Small animal medicine
  • Farm animal medicine
  • Public service, Official veterinarian
  • Business and pharmaceutical industry
  • Zoological garden
  • Research and teaching
  • Animal disease control
  • Animal welfare

Is the profession of veterinary medicine suitable for me?

First of all, the love of animals and the urge to do good are unfortunately not enough to become a successful veterinarian. The daily routine is usually stressful, unpredictable and sometimes quite emotional. So if you decide to take up this profession, you should meet the following requirements as far as possible: 

  • Mental and physical strength
  • Pleasure in dealing with animals, but also with people
  • Social and communicative skills 
  • Stress resistance
  • Fearlessness (there is always a risk of injury when working with living creatures)
  • Resistance to blood, dirt and foul smells
  • Willingness to work overtime, spontaneously, night and weekend shifts
  • Willingness to undergo continuous training and specialisation
  • High degree of self-discipline, perseverance, independence and determination
  • Analytical thinking
  • Accurate and clean work
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Ethical awareness
  • Cleaning activities
  • Basic computer + software skills

How much does a veterinarian earn?

Especially at the beginning and during the internships, the salary is very low.

In a salaried position, the average gross income is 2000-2700 euros. If you have your own practice, you can earn about 4000 € gross, depending on the practice. 

Student examining animal skeleton in classroom


The love of animals leads many people to the desire to gain a foothold as a veterinarian. However, the profession is not only characterised by moments of success, suffering of animals and humans are also part of everyday life. The challenges are high, but definitely worthwhile. Veterinary medicine is undoubtedly one of the dream professions, because having the certainty of alleviating suffering and saving lives is not only extremely satisfying, but also honourable.