What We Do

Veterinary officers in the Commissioned Corps have the flexibility and freedom to pursue a diverse and fulfilling career. Day-to-day responsibilities of veterinary officers may include:

  • Carrying out cutting-edge biomedical research to improve human health
  • Testing and regulating the safety and effectiveness of veterinary medical drugs and devices
  • Ensuring that meat and poultry products are safe and healthy through carefully monitored inspection programs
  • Quarantining and inspecting animals brought into the country to prevent the introduction of new diseases
  • Managing programs to eradicate and control the spread of diseases that pose threats to animal and human health
  • Monitoring the development and testing of new vaccines to ensure their safety and effectiveness
  • Enforcing laws for the humane treatment of animals
  • Developing and enforcing standards for laboratory and clinical studies
  • Helping to ensure the safety of food processing plants, restaurants, and water supplies
  • Studying the health effects of pesticides, industrial pollutants, and other contaminants on animals and people

The work of veterinary officers in the Commissioned Corps goes beyond the routine of a traditional private practice. Being a veterinarian in the Corps is different for everyone. Many apply their clinical skills to prevent disease, respond to disease outbreaks among animal and human populations, and provide state-of-the-art care and use of laboratory animals. Some officers work with world-class researchers and technicians to conduct cutting-edge medical investigations. Others serve in more general public health roles such as administration, planning, and coordination, and are responsible for facilities with large staffs and multimillion dollar budgets.

In addition, veterinary officers have the opportunity to advance their careers while providing much-needed public health services to underserved communities. Consistent with the One Medicine Concept – the study of health and disease regardless of species differences between human and animals – their activities focus on improving the health of both animals and people.

As a veterinary officer in the Commissioned Corps, you can work throughout the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and in other Federal agencies and programs. Below is a list of the Federal agencies and programs where veterinarians have the greatest likelihood of finding an assignment – the order is based on the number of veterinary officers that are presently assigned. See duty station map for more details.