ORIGINAL QUESTION: What's it like be a veterinarian? If you want to be board certified in two things, is it possible to do both residencies at the same time?

By Josephine Reid

Life as a veterinarian is rewarding, but challenging and demanding, is the answer from most vets. To be a vet, you must have a passion for or a clinical interest in animals, have great interpersonal skills, and possess a strong work ethic.

There advantages including working with your passion and the fact that it is rewarding and fulfilling to diagnose, treat, and make animals feel better, and disadvantages such as animals being likely to protest being taken to the vet’s office. You might get bitten, scratched, or kicked, as well as neglectful, difficult, or emotional human caretakers.

Being a vet is similar to being a detective. “Veterinarian[s] must learn to conduct insightful interviews with the owners, observe and read animal body language, and use strong deductive reasoning and rational application of tests to figure out … the best course of action for the animal’s health,” says Jennifer Livesay, a DVM student at Oklahoma State University in an interview.

You’ll need to be a jack-of-all-trades in investigating the illness or treating the injury, especially as your patients cannot verbalize their condition. This contrasts with human medicine, where functions such as surgery or anesthesia must be referred to other doctors. While vets do refer more complicated cases to specialists, they can perform routine procedures on their own.

If you are interested in receiving another board certification in addition to the veterinary field; there are two primary reasons physician specialists may seek dual board certification. The first is that a young physician starting out in a career might decide that his or her interests lie along two paths, likely in related fields. These new physicians are determined to chart their own course, and they begin early by establishing their credentials in multiple fields of study.

Over the course of a career, the ability of a physician to demonstrate the knowledge and skill required to provide the best possible care in more than one field might position him or her for promotions and/or other, higher-paying and more prestigious jobs. In short, dual board certification might provide a leg up on the competition, as well as providing proof that a physician possesses a superlative level of skill and experience in not one, but two, fields of medicine.

I'm Josephine Reid and I work at Dressamed.com headquarters in Los Angeles. I have a B.S. in Retail Merchandising and Business from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I like to keep a beautiful balance of a creativity and business mindset.