Veterinarians: Annual Salaries & Job Outlook for Vets
Veterinarians, often called vets, are medical professionals who focus on caring for animals. Vets might focus on caring for small, domestic animals, larger livestock, or even zoo animals. Some veterinarians also work mostly in research.
Salaries For Veterinarians
Of course, veterinarian salaries might vary by years of experience, concentration, and location. Licensed vets could find themselves working in clinics, universities, or for the government. This means that veterinarian salaries could vary quite a bit, depending upon the job.
However, these are some general statistics about the annual incomes of these professionals:
- Average US annual veterinarian salary: About $88,000
- Expected salary range: About $53,000 to more than $150,000
- Employment increase expected in the next decade: About nine percent
Many vets work long hours on some days, just like other medical professionals tend to do. For example, vets in a clinic may take turns covering for emergencies in the evening or on weekends. Vets who tend to farm animals may have to travel to the locations of their patients to attend to a sick or birthing animal.
How To Become A Veterinarian
Vets almost always start by earning a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university. They may earn a range of different degrees for this basic college degree, but it’s better for them to take a lot of science courses. This is because admission to veterinarian programs has become extremely competitive.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that only about half of all applicants get accepted to a program each year. In addition to earning good grades, vet schools tend to look at items on the application that indicate a student would be well suited to this field. These items include previous experience in healthcare, experience working with animals, and of course, jobs or volunteer work in vet offices or other animal-care settings.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, prospective vets attend a doctoral program at an accredited veterinarian school. The typical program lasts four years and works like this:
- The first three years are spent performing a mix of classroom, lab, and clinical education.
- The final year is usually spent in clinical rotations in various veterinarian practices.
In the US, vets also have to pass a test to get their final license. All US states also have their own licensing regulations, but these are fairly consistent and many states accept the licenses from other states. Some vets may work for the federal government and not need to earn a state license.
Who Should Become a Veterinarian?
Vets need to enjoy working with animals. They are also generally kind people who can help the animal’s owners cope with problems with their pets or livestock. While some vets may have jobs with regular hours, most don’t. Like many other professionals, veterinarians might have to work long and irregular hours sometimes.
On the other hand, the job can be very rewarding to people who would like to earn a decent salary and help animals and their owners.