Veterinarian made the U.S. News and World Report's list of the 50 Best Careers of 2011. According to the Department of Labor, in 2009 there were over 54,000 veterinarians with earnings ranging from $47,000 to over $100,000. With just 28 colleges accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, acceptance into a doctorate program is competitive. Candidates should have rigorous undergraduate preparation and exposure to the veterinary profession is strongly recommended.

University of Florida

The College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, Florida has over 300 students enrolled in their doctorate of veterinary medicine program. The school offers assistantships with initial salaries of $25,000 to $35,000 per year for qualified students.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The School of Veterinary Medicine admits only 80 applicants each year, with non-residents comprising less than 20 of these spots. The selection process weighs letters of recommendation, academic scores and the candidate's goal statement. Tuition for Wisconsin residents is $17,180.

Oregon State University

The Graduate Record Exam is required for veterinary medicine school.
The Graduate Record Exam is required for veterinary medicine school.

There were 210 students enrolled in the 2010 program at the College of Veterinary Medicine in Corvallis, Oregon. The curriculum is heavy--more than 17 to 21 credits per term. Science prerequisites include biology, animal nutrition and organic chemistry. Tuition is $19,541 for residents.

Michigan State University

Founded in 1855, the College of Veterinary Medicine has 464 doctorate candidates and an alumnus of over 6,000. Selected applicants have an outstanding Scholastic Indicator Score: a student's Graduate Record Exam and cumulative grade point average in prerequisite undergraduate courses. Tuition is 11,561 and $23,900 for non-residents.

Tufts University

Located 35 miles west of Boston on nearly 600 acres, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Massachusetts has an early acceptance program for qualifying sophomore students. Space is limited, but candidates are guaranteed a slot in the doctorate program upon completion of undergraduate studies. Tuition is $39,426.

Cornell University

Veterinary school candidates need excellent scores in chemistry, biology and physical science
Veterinary school candidates need excellent scores in chemistry, biology and physical science

The College of Veterinary Medicine is part of the State University of New York in Ithaca. There are 335 students in the DVM program and a faculty of over 700 professionals. An estimated 19,000 cases per year are treated at the Cornell Hospital for Animals. Tuition for residents is $28,400.

University of California-Davis

Established in 1948, the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has a widely acclaimed program. As of 2011, there were 524 students enrolled and a 300-member faculty. Selection process is slanted heavily toward academic performance and candidates need a minimum of 180 hours of veterinary experience. Tuition: $30,246.

Colorado State University

The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is located in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado. Basic biomedical and clinical sciences comprise the bulk of study. The University also has three-year programs. Tuition is $21,696.

University of Pennsylvania

School of Veterinary Medicine applicants are encouraged to volunteer at a veterinary clinic and include this experience in their submission. Tuition for Pennsylvania residents is $32,450.

North Carolina State University

The College of Veterinary Medicine is located on 107 acres in Raleigh. Its first graduating class was in 1985, making this program one of the newest on the list. There are currently 313 DVM students and about 175 faculty members. Tuition for in-state residents is $11,989.