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Occupation Details

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Veterinary Practitioner / Surgeon

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience plus specialist training to be able to do their job.

Job Training
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. They may also require very specialist skills. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

€15k > 63
Veterinary Staff
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€15 - 63
Related Information:
Veterinary Surgeon: 27 - 59
Veterinarian: 29 - 63
Veterinary Nurse: 15 - 31
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

This group includes pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, radiographers, vets, and health services managers. While demand is strong for many healthcare professionals, shortages have only been identified for radiographers.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category

Other Healthcare Professionals

Also included in this category:

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 14%
Aged over 55: 16%
Male / Female: 29 / 71%
Non-Nationals: 11%
With Third Level: 87%
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At a Glance... header image

Examines and treats all kinds of sick and injured animals and advises on animal health and welfare.

Videos & Interviews header image

Follow the links below to watch videos related to this occupation:

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Go..Vets other jobs - from: YouTube Video

The Work header image

The Veterinary Surgeon's work is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of animals including farm animals, horses and domestic pets.  
Members of the profession are also concerned with food hygiene and inspection, the control of contagious and infectious diseases, and the promotion of healthy flocks and herds. Animals are carefully examined while alive and also after slaughter to ensure that the meat supply to the general public is wholesome and free of disease and that a high standard of hygienic handling is maintained.  
Most Veterinary Surgeons engage in private practice, but large numbers are employed in the government service and by local authorities. They also work in teaching and research in Universities and in the scientific field and small numbers are employed in the pharmaceuticals industry.  
All vets perform surgical operations and may undertake post-mortems to find out the cause of an animal's death.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Examine animals to detect and determine the nature of diseases or injuries.


Treat sick or injured animals by prescribing medication, setting bones, dressing wounds, or performing surgery.


Collect body tissue, feces, blood, urine, or other body fluids for examination and analysis.


Inoculate animals against various diseases such as rabies or distemper.


Counsel clients about the deaths of their pets or about euthanasia decisions for their pets.


Operate diagnostic equipment, such as radiographic or ultrasound equipment, and interpret the resulting images.


Advise animal owners regarding sanitary measures, feeding, general care, medical conditions, or treatment options.


Educate the public about diseases that can be spread from animals to humans.


Attend lectures, conferences, or continuing education courses.


Establish or conduct quarantine or testing procedures that prevent the spread of diseases to other animals or to humans and that comply with applicable government regulations.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Assisting and Caring for Others: Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.


Performing for or Working Directly with the Public: Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Medicine and Dentistry: Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.


Biology: Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.


Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a veterinary surgeon you must have a real concern for the welfare of animals and the capacity to deal effectively with people. You must not be squeamish, as you will have to work in the presence of blood and excrement. You must also have an objective attitude to animal welfare - sometimes you might have to put down an animal to prevent suffering.  
You also need good communication skills and the ability to be sympathetic and understanding when dealing with pet owners. This can be a very demanding profession so physical fitness and stamina are important.

Entry Routesheader image

A degree in Veterinary Medicine is required to register with the Veterinary Council. Only registered persons so  are entitled to practice as Veterinary Practitioners/Surgeons in the Republic of Ireland and other EU Member States.

UCD is the only college in Ireland offering the required degree programme - See DN300 - A 5 Year Level 8 honours degree programme. There are only 80 places available so entry is competitive.

There were 2,408 registered Veterinary Practitioners in the State at the close of 2014. A total of 145 new Veterinary Practitioners joined the register for the first time in 2014 - 81 of these were new graduates.

Of the 81 New graduates, 49 qualified in Ireland, 6 qualified in the UK and 26 qualified in other EU countries. Of the 26 EU graduate Veterinary Practitioners who joined the register, over 16 (60%) qualified in Hungary.

See also Study Abroad

Last Updated: January, 2016

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Veterinary Surgeon - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Veterinary Surgeon - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Veterinary surgeon/nurse - from: GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Veterinary Council of Ireland
Address: 53 Landsdowne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 668 4402
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Veterinary Ireland
Address: 13 The Courtyard, Kilcarbery Park, Nangor Road, Dublin 12
Tel: 01 457 7976
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Animals & Veterinary Science
Farming, Horticulture & Forestry

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