Knowing the Veterinarian’s guide in France

In France, the veterinary profession has very good job prospects. According to a recent survey, it indicates that the veterinary sector has an employment rate of eighty percent. This percentage places veterinarians in the third position of graduates most likely to find work. But there are several questions that must be asked before starting to know the veterinarian´s guide in France, for example: Do you like animals? Do you have a vocation for the health professions? Are you good at science? Are you interested in research, observation and have critical thinking? If your answer to all the questions is affirmative, then you are on the right track and when you read this article, you will discover if this is the profession in which you want to work in France.A veterinarian must feel, above all, a vocation for this wonderful profession, since it is not only about being in contact with the affective side of the animals, but also about being able to make critical decisions and being able to act in situations of disease, prevention and care. After knowing that this is the profession you want, we must know in depth the different fields of the professional sector in France (health, science, disease control, etc.) while focusing your training and career towards that field within the veterinary science that is more motivating for you.

In France, the studies, of a minimum duration of seven years after the baccalaureate, end with an exercise thesis that entitles the State diploma of veterinary doctor. Since the full course begins with two years of scientific studies, at the end of which students must enter a national contest to gain entry into a veterinary school in which the studies continue for five more years. France is well known as it was the first country in which the teaching of veterinary medicine has been institutionalized through the creation of the first veterinary schools in the eighteenth century. In addition to professional training, there are additional courses that will help to specialize, such as the veterinary technical assistant course, the emergency room and operating rooms, the control of animal reproduction and transport of animals, training in exotic animals or training as zookeeper.

What kind of preliminary studies exist before the entry to a veterinary school in France?To be able to study in a veterinary school in France you must do it through a national competition accessible after two years of scientific studies. The available places to get into a veterinary school in France are approximately 550 annually (the exact number is established each year by the Ministry of Agriculture). The contest is organized by the department of agronomic and veterinary competitions. You will only have two attempts to try to enter to study veterinary science in France of whatever was the chosen contest. There are five possible competitions after which the admitted students make integration wishes in the four schools in order of preference; the places are filled then by order of merit.

Before continuing to talk about the training of a veterinarian in France, you ask yourself: How could you work as a veterinarian?

The first profession that is related to veterinary studies is that of a doctor in a clinic. But did you know that the veterinarian can work in many other areas? Besides being able to work in a clinic as a doctor or surgeon, you can also dedicate yourself to the field of sanitary control and the production of animals in farms, farms, aquaculture farms and fish farms. Another function of the veterinarian is to take care of hygiene and inspection of foods of animal origin, for example in slaughterhouses, markets, food industries, etc. The veterinarian can also work in genetic engineering and bio-feeding laboratories. Finally, as a veterinarian you can travel around the world. In many parts of the world, qualified personnel are required to work in zoos and animal reserves and to guarantee the optimal conditions of the animals. Interesting, right?

How to be well prepared to be taken into account for the great veterinary schools in France?

After the scientific baccalaureate in France you can apply to large schools, for example the BCPST course (acronym for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Sciences). It is accessible after a selection based on the results of the last two years of high school. These two years of training are not specific to the training of veterinarians, but also allow competitive entrance examinations in engineering schools in agronomy, food, horticulture, geology, chemistry and physics, and in the higher normal schools (biology or professional geology). Therefore, all students receive extensive training in various fields, which may not be directly related to veterinary medicine, such as botany, physics, chemistry, geology and mathematics. Each year, approximately half of the students admitted to the BCPST entry contest had to try twice and, therefore, follow three years of study in a preparatory class to enter the major schools.

The B contest is available for students registered in the second or third year of the biology degree. The second year must be approved to allow entry into schools. In France there are universities that offer additional training to first and second year students to prepare this contest, this training consists of additional courses to study the parts of the program of the contest that are not subject of study in the degree and small intensive courses of preparation for written and oral tests. These additional formations offer a limited number of places. Around three quarters of the places in this competition are achieved each year by students from three universities: the University of Paris VI, the University of Paris XI and the University of Toulouse III. These universities have the highest number of students in the contest.

What are veterinary schools in France?

  • Oniris, National Veterinary, Food and Food School of Nantes-Atlantico
  • Alfort National Veterinary School
  • National veterinary school of Toulouse
  • VetAgro Sup Lyon

These schools in France are public institutions and depend on the Ministry of Agriculture. The only existing classification of these schools is indirectly given by the rank of the last calls at the end of the entry contest. This classification reflects only the popularity level of these schools for the students who passed the contest, it may be consistent with reality or not. The schools of Lyon and Alfort are often the two schools that enjoy the greatest prestige for these students. This can be explained by the age of these schools that were founded in the eighteenth century, as opposed to the Tolosa and Nantes schools, newer and therefore less marked the collective imagination. The duration of the studies in these veterinary schools is 5 years. The registration fee is the same in each school and is set annually by the Ministry of Agriculture, for the academic year is approximately € 2,150 for students who do not have a scholarship and free for students who have a scholarship.

Then what? What to do after graduating from veterinary in France? Where to start finding a job?

Once you have graduated as a veterinarian in France, your job search will begin, since it depends on all of us who leave the university with our degree and then we do not know where to begin to develop in our career and put into practice all our acquired knowledge throughout the study period. The most popular cities to find employment as a veterinarian in France are:

  • Paris (capital city)
  • Marseille, Lyon,
  • Toulouse
  • Nice
  • Nantes
  • Strasbourg
  • Montpellier
  • Bordeaux
  • Lille

The approximate salary for a veterinarian in France is € 3500. The job benefits that a veterinarian can acquire in France are:

  • Pension plan: yes
  • Health insurance: yes
  • Training courses (internal and external): yes
  • Career plan for the employee: yes

Requirements to get a job for a veterinarian in France:

  • Educational level: university degree.
  • Computer literacy: it is not necessary
  • The trial period: generally not
  • Knowledge of a foreign language: Necessary
  • Driver’s license: Necessary
  • Work experience: there´s a medium impact on salary.

Type of employment for a veterinarian in France:

  • Full time
  • Half-day (Part-time)
  • Work contract
  • Self-employment (Self-employed)
  • Others

Working time and paid vacations for veterinarians in France:

  • Work week: Monday to Friday
  • Hours of work per week: 35
  • Extra hours of work: Yes
  • Holidays paid: 20
  • Holidays paid: 11
  • Lunch break: Yes
  • Lunch time: 30 minutes
  • Flexible work hours: Generally not

How do you start being a veterinarian in France?

The majority of graduates of veterinary schools in France begin to work as an assistant in a veterinary clinic which is a very interesting job option for animal lovers. The concern for the well-being and care of our pets is a growing phenomenon that is assuming a clear incentive for both the veterinary sector and that of pet establishments. In this work context, the veterinary assistant has an interesting range of job opportunities that makes it a profession of the present and, above all, with a great future.

What are the main functions of an assistant in a veterinary clinic in France?

As previously discussed, the professional activity of the veterinary assistant is developed in various functional areas of the veterinary clinic such as customer service, sales, reception of animals, support in hospitalization, clinical analysis laboratory, consultation, operating room, etc. This implies the possibility of dealing with sick or injured animals, the care of hospitalized animals, the preparation and maintenance of surgical equipment, assistance in the application of treatments or in the performance of examinations and diagnoses, among other functions. All this will prepare you on your way to having your own veterinary clinic. Additionally in France you could work in hospitals, clinics or veterinary centers, the veterinary assistant can develop your work in animal establishments, associations, organizations or institutions of protection and animal welfare, as well as in public institutions or institutions, teachers and researchers, such as veterinary faculties or animal research centers, among others.

Competences of the veterinary assistant and keys to success in France

Having attended university is unquestionably a fundamental element to become a good veterinary assistant or veterinarian. However, this is not everything. The veterinary assistant, in any of its profiles, besides a solid formation, must have a series of competences to carry out their work effectively. The main knowledge you must possess are: animal nursing, as well as therapeutic care, preparation of consultations, exploration and restraint, as well as other knowledge related to the maintenance of equipment and devices for the care and care of animals or the control of drugs, among others. The more extensive and detailed this knowledge is, the better it can perform its work and the more competitive it will be in the labor market.

  • Customer orientation: Many professionals in the veterinary field dedicate themselves to it for pure vocation and for their love of animals. However, we must not forget that in the veterinary clinic, patient care is as important as dealing with the client, that is, the owner. The veterinary assistant must have an attitude of client orientation, which means knowing how to adequately treat and satisfy their needs (both), as well as having sufficient verbal fluency and richness to convey their messages clearly and accurately.
  • Empathy and understanding: the veterinary assistant must know how to listen and understand the client’s concerns, as well as being able to provide personalized attention to each one.
  • Ability to work in a team: the veterinary assistant must not lose sight of the fact that he is part of a team of professionals in which each one has his obligations and that this team has a hierarchy that must be respected.
  • Concern for quality and work well done: a job well done is the key in the quality of the service. To do this, the veterinary assistant must be able to optimize resources and work in accordance with the protocols and guidelines established by the veterinarian, always seeking to offer the best service and also taking care of the needs and interests of the company, including the image and its experience. Objectives.
  • Adaptability and flexibility: the veterinary assistant must be able to adapt quickly to the needs of the moment and be flexible to carry out the function entrusted to him.