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Old 06-21-2011, 11:13 AM
Location: Pagosa Springs, CO/North Port,FL
666 posts, read 1,334,415 times
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Originally Posted by jonathangraham87 View Post
my name is jonathan and im tring to move out to montana with my fiance and our little boy but i also need to find work [Mod cut] please i need to support our family
The Medical field is your best bet. We moved back to MT(Bozeman) from CO last Jan.

Me: BS Degree in Chemistry/Natural Resources 10+ years of experience-Unemployed

Her: No degree (but tons of experience). Manager in Hospital Finance Dept. 100K/year salary
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Old 07-04-2011, 04:59 PM
20 posts, read 52,341 times
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What about someone with a degree in wildlife conservation/ecology? Or is that sort of person actually too prevalent to be marketable out there? My plan is to get the degree and then go into veterinary medicine, but that's a tough road so I have to have a plan B, which would be as a wildlife biologist since I would get certified as such any way while fulfilling my degree requirements. If I do make it, I hear that some of the western states have a need for more large animal vets. I know ND has a real issue with that, not sure how it is in different parts of MT or WY.

I'm a native Floridian but my Dad is from a two-stoplight town in North Dakota where he grew up breaking wild horses and such and still has property (bought the family farm because his brother was going to sell it out of the family) and I get to visit there from time to time and like it. I have also fallen in love with Wyoming. I'm not keen on big city life and I'm not someone who will expect what I'm used to when I relocate... I want to relocate to get away from all of that stuff. I want to earn a decent living and get out into the wilderness as much as I can and leave no trace when I'm done. Want to enjoy it for what it is and hope it stays that way. Don't want to be in a tiny town because my wife would like to have a few things at her disposal, and we'd like to be relatively near a good hospital, good schools. But other than that, a small town would suit us fine. Would need affordable housing as we do have three people and several pets, hopefully after school I could afford a little more. I think I would rather raise my kids out there than where I am now. Would like to be adjacent to one of the large wilderness areas surrounding Yellowstone, either in NW WY or SE MT, or possibly around Sheridan and the Bighorns. I don't know... Livingston, Big Timber, maybe Red Lodge, Bozeman, Cody, etc.
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:37 PM
Location: C-U metro
1,368 posts, read 2,968,036 times
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Originally Posted by Heraclid View Post
What about someone with a degree in wildlife conservation/ecology? Or is that sort of person actually too prevalent to be marketable out there? My plan is to get the degree and then go into veterinary medicine, but that's a tough road so I have to have a plan B, which would be as a wildlife biologist since I would get certified as such any way while fulfilling my degree requirements. If I do make it, I hear that some of the western states have a need for more large animal vets. I know ND has a real issue with that, not sure how it is in different parts of MT or WY.
I hope you realize that becoming a vet is tougher than becoming an MD. It isn't something you can "backdoor" into and the route you are proposing is actually the front door. The reason there is such a shortage in large animal vets is that the small animal specialties are so much more profitable that it makes little sense to lock up $300k in loans when cattle breeders only want to pay $500 per head of cattle on vet services or euthanize horses on bills over $2k (my estimates, actual numbers might be better or worse). Personally, unless you plan on and obtain a 4.0 in biology/animal husbandry/wildlife econ, you are SOL for vet school unless you play Div I athletics. Even then it will have to be 3.9 or better.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:03 PM
20 posts, read 52,341 times
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I'm very familiar with the challenges of pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. Anyone who hasn't really studied up on it almost assuredly won't make it. I am a member of the SDN (Student Doctor Network) website where there is a ton of information about all of this, lots of feedback from aspiring vet students and actual ones, etc. I also am currently working for a vet to build up my experience. It is precisely because I know how hard it is that I want to have a plan B (and I would already become a certified wildlife biologist while completing my intended bachelor's). Not because I lack confidence, but just because it is wise to do so. The road to vet school is littered with those who thought they could and didn't. Never taking it for granted and having a healthy respect for the challenges that lie ahead, is, I think, going to be the key to succeeding. Keeps me working harder and prevents me from getting complacent just because I've done alright so far.

The question of whether it is tougher than becoming an MD is debatable and subject to varying circumstances. Yes, there are far few less slots available for vet students than med students. There there are just 28 vet schools in the country (my in-state institution accepted only 88 students into the vet program per year until just recently, when they expanded it to 100). Yes, vet students must study more species (regardless of their ultimate specialty), but there are some hoops that vet students don't necessarily have to jump through that human med students do. And it depends what sort of human medicine they're getting into, among many other variables worth considering. But yes, becoming a vet is among the most difficult things you can decide to try to do, and most people underestimate what it takes. You wouldn't believe the number of people I've run into who think it just takes a 2-yr degree.

Student loan debt just depends - for my in-state vet school, it is a little under $30,000/yr for 4 yrs, or about $120,000 total. Still a lot, but nowhere near $300K. Obviously this would be more if you intend to take out money for living expenses also. A lot more still if you attend school out-of-state. Because it is very competitive, applicants often do not get into their preferred school the first time around. Schools take in new students each fall semester, so if you don't get in at first you may end up waiting a year, or more. If they are accepted to out-of-state schools, some just end up going out-of-state and paying the higher tuition - they might have been denied by their in-state for 2-3 years and hey, at least they got in somewhere.

It is true that large animal vets typically earn less than their companion animal counterparts, and spend more time traveling and working in all sorts of conditions. Obviously, working with larger animals also can be more difficult and potentially dangerous. Some states are in such dire straits that they have a single vet trying to handle a county or two with tens of thousands of head of cattle. There are now federal programs in place that will help graduating vets pay down their student loan debt in exchange for spending a certain number of years working in one of these places with a desperate need for their services. I think it's to the tune of $25,000/yr against your loans per year for 4 yrs of service. It would be pretty nice to graduate with say $130K in debt (like a friend of mine just did) and earn enough on top of you regular pay to pay off $100K of it in just 4 years. Because of the need, there are people who try to feign interest in large animal medicine, thinking it will increase their chances of admission to vet school. It doesn't.

You touched on a very good point - the way the animals are viewed by their owners in large animal practice is often quite different - they are more akin to a cash crop than companion animals. Many people can't handle that and aren't interested in that area of vet med because of it. Then again, is it really so different? There are a lot of cat and dog owners that wouldn't spend the amounts you listed either. I think most people who bother to use a vet might shell out $500 for their beloved Fido, but when you get up around $2,000... my dog had to have knee surgery on both hind legs at $1,500 a pop. A lot of people think we're crazy for that.

GPA is naturally very important, but not the only factor. Prospective students should also earn impressive scores on the GRE and have a lot of animal and vet experience under their belt. Animal experience is good (like growing up on a farm - just having always had pets means nothing). Vet experience is better (meaning while under the direct supervision of a veterinarian). Typically what a school asks for as a minimum will not cut it and to get in you will need more. My in-state used to ask for 500 hrs but everyone knew that to be competitive meant you'd probably better have 1,000 or more. Now the school will pretty much just tell you to have 1,000+. Extracurricular activities are helpful (but almost no one who gets into vet school ever played Division I athletics), as is breadth of experience - experience with cats and dogs and horses and cattle is generally preferable to just having a lot of it with cats and dogs. Yes, exceptional grades are required, but there are people with ironclad grades that cannot get into vet school just on that alone. Straight A's means little without the rest of it. I am going to look into getting more large animal experience in ND. My Dad owns the home he grew up in up there and I could live there for a summer or whatever, and guess what the neighbor does for a living? :-D

Your GPA numbers are a little inflated, but what is required is nonetheless pretty respectable. This does not vary too widely by institution, and for the school I would want to get into, the average stats for the last class for which there are published numbers (c/o 2013) are as follows:

avg GRE score: around 1200
avg overall GPA: 3.51
avg science GPA: 3.56
avg GPA over last 45 credit hrs: 3.60

Since one of my summer classes just wrapped up, I would have to calculate my exact numbers as of now (all I know off the top of my head is my science is a 3.66), but I can tell you they will stack up favorably against those above (obviously I haven't taken the GRE yet).

I am what they call a "non-traditional" student in that I went back to college in my mid-30's (and think this is an advantage because I am more mature, I appreciate it more now and I'll be darned if I'll let these young kids out-do me, haha). It is perfectly ok to take the lower-level courses (under 2000-series) at community college, so that is what I am doing now. I will soon seek transfer to a state university, the same one with the vet school (and over half of those accepted to the vet school got their bachelor's there also). I will get my bachelor's from them and then apply to their vet school. They offer baccalaureate pre-professional tracks (designed for those wanting to get into vet school) in animal science, biology, zoology and wildlife conservation/management.

Technically you don't have to have a bachelor's degree for vet school, but typically only one student at my in-state gets in each year without one and has to be an extremely attractive candidate otherwise in order to pull it off.

You also do not necessarily have to have a degree in biology/animal science/wildlife studies (I will, though). Admissions committees are adamant that those degrees give them no advantage when being considered for vet school. The vast majority going into vet school still do have a degree in animal science, some sort of biology or zoology, but you also see chemistry, psychology, history, music, computer science... whatever... sometimes represented in the mix. I'm not making those up, I'm looking at the stats for the last few incoming classes.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:09 PM
Location: C-U metro
1,368 posts, read 2,968,036 times
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Great post and an interesting read.

It sounds like you have a very sensible head about this. I mistook your prior post to be one more like the 19 year old who still thinks they can get drunk every night with the business and finance majors and still get in to vet school with a 2.8.

I went to Montana State and knew a few Ag students from around campus. The pre-vet program there was pretty tough from what I was told and the GPAs at the time needed to be up there with the pre-med students as they had to go out of state for graduate school.

There is nothing wrong with attending classes at the community colleges provided the credits transfer. In some ways it is cheaper but I think if traditional students still live at home with all their HS friends around, it just winds up creating more problems from a social aspect. They will be less likely to do something with their lives. For SOTAs (Students Over Traditional Age), I think it is a great way to get the knowledge without aggravating all us traditional students with your perkiness and questioning the prof at 8AM class freshman year.

I think that there has been a shift in small animal vet practice over the past 5 years as many young couples aren't having kids but rather getting dogs and cats. A good sized minority are willing to pay up for chemo, joint replacements, and life-long medications (like prednizone) for their pets. Meanwhile, large animal vets are getting hammered with costs because ranchers can't afford to keep the cows they have so the vet bills are cut by 10%.
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:14 PM
20 posts, read 52,341 times
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Nice to meet you and I appreciate the spirit with which your earlier post was intended. If I may ask, what is your course of study and are you looking at vet med also?

You are absolutely right - many people underestimate what it takes. I forget the exact numbers, but if memory serves me correctly, because there are fewer vet schools than human med schools, there are 4 people vying for every 1 human med school slot, and 14 people vying for every 1 vet school slot. I have to wonder how many people go in with blinders on and very unrealistic expectations, though, as you've alluded to.

Like you said, a 2.8 GPA would be out of the question. Anyone would be very hard-pressed to get into vet school with a 3.2-3.3. Maybe if they have a LOT else going for them and they ace their interview. However, there are people who did poorly in college at first, then came back later and kicked butt, and then got into vet school. It can be done. In fact I'm like that. I was out of college for over a decade, actually was basically kicked out back in the day for low academic performance. My GPA from back then was horrendous. And that old stuff doesn't go away, making it that much harder to rebuild your GPA to something respectable.

I think what you are referring to is the WICHE program, in which states without a vet school contract with those that do and the vet school agrees to take on a handful of students from that state. I am not sure who Montana is partnered with - probably the University of Minnesota or Colorado State University. Both are excellent programs. And yes, they may only take 2 or 3 students from Montana, so in that case they may need an even higher GPA.

Otherwise, students can establish residency in another state by living there a year or more (may vary by state, not sure) and then apply to the vet school in that state and pay in-state tuition. If a student just moves from say ND to MN or whatever when it's time to start classes, some schools may charge out-of-state tuition for their first year and in-state tuition after that. But I think most will charge out-of-state for all 4 years regardless because they didn't establish residency before going off to vet school.

Haha, I am not the perky type. I am one of the quiet ones - but I can type you a book. In fact I am quite glad to have just finished pre-calculus because some of my loud, perky classmates thoroughly annoyed me. Like you said, lack of distractions definitely helps. In vet school, they don't let you have much time for them. I don't know how it is everywhere, but my school of choice has you in class from 8am-5pm every day except weekends, and you'd better be studying like crazy when you're not in class. Starting in third year, you're thrown into clinical rotations also.

Yes, I have been taking classes that will transfer over to the university and that has a hand in determining what classes I have to take some times because my college doesn't offer all the courses that would be acceptable. For the more relevant science and math courses this is not a problem, but when it comes to say, humanities or social sciences, I can't be too choosy.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:58 AM
Location: CA
250 posts, read 378,885 times
Reputation: 169
How much do you guys think one would need to make a year to buy a home (2-3 bedroom) and live a decent life in Montana? I live in California, and right now that wage is about $45,000 for most areas but well over $150,000 in others
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:18 PM
2 posts, read 5,780 times
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I personall like the couer d' alene Idaho area better it is beautiful, just 30 minutes from spokane washington lots of work. montana sucks. i moved here biggest mistake I ever made. i feel like i am in the 1800 and so backwards nothing to do, so boring and the weather is horrible. I love idaho want to move my mobile home there I bought. love the lake the mountains the people, the beauty, so much better, plus land taxes so much lower.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:51 PM
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Missoula Montana is a nice place to live i have been here for a 11 years now but there is the good and the bads of course there are alot of homeless people and drunks in missoula and the football team sucks. but the fishing is good,there are alot of places to hike the lakes are lovely doint move hereit really sucks...!!!!
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:32 PM
2 posts, read 6,791 times
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Default Best

In my experience, I believe that Kallispell would be best, Whitefish is a close second there is amazing scenery and lots of acreage in both. They are close to Glacier NTL park which is gorgeous, not to mention flathead lake, and THE best cherries ever everywhere! Red-lodge is great to seeing as it has mountains everywhere as does Whitefish and Kallispell. Also great spots for trout fishing. I highly recommend that you avoid Billings, it has gassy smells all the time and not so great scenes of grocery stores,gas stations, and trashy apartments. Laurel is OKAY I guess if you can get over the refinery stench, and Huntley is nice, being a small town with neat diners and many horse facilities if you like horses, also a great golf course and pretty rolling sage covered hills. Bozeman is pretty however overrun with pesky college students. It has a great museum.Billings is H E double hockey sticks. Trust me I live there. Best of luck!
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