How Much Do Veterinarians Make?

veterinarian job descriptionA veterinarian cares for the health of animals. They hold the position of veterinary physician, and are often given the title of Dr. upon the completion of a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.

They diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases and ailments of non-human animals.

As more and more people are taking extra special care of their pets, the demand for vets working in their private clinics is seen to rise in the next several years, making this career a lucrative profession for those who love animals.

A vet may work in a private clinic, in government, or work in the field to care for farm animals.

Veterinerian Salary

The average veterinarian salary differ per type of specialty. There are different types of vets – each with a different set of average salaries, with the hours worked per week contributing to the difference in wages.

A veterinarian’s starting salary also differs if the individual has someveterrinarian salary previous work experience or not. The median wage for vets is

This median wage means about half of the country’s vets earns more or less this amount. The lower 10% of earners for vets earns an annual salary of $56,540 while the upper 10% earned $162,450 or more. For vets working in the federal government, their median wage is approx. $90,000.

A veterinarian’s annual salary depends on many factors, which includes the work environment. While other vets work regular day jobs, some of them work more than 50 hours a week, during holidays and weekends, and even on-call for emergency needs.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Delaware flagDelaware 0.53$61.89$128,740
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey 0.36$57.81$120,240
Connecticut FlagConnecticut 0.45$57.54$119,670
New York FlagNew York 0.34$57.19$118,950
California FlagCalifornia0.40$56.83$118,210

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Management of Companies and Enterprises $66.94$139,230
Scientific Research and Development Services0.04$60.05$124,890
Employment Services $58.45$121,570
Spectator Sports 0.04$49.00$101,920
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 9.10$47.48$98,750

Veterinarian Job Description

what do veterinarians doWhat Do Veterinarians Do? Generally, a vet tests, diagnoses, treats, and prevents animal diseases and ailments. They care for the health of animals, and work to promote general public health of both animals and humans. They also provide advice to animal owners on how to care for their pets, give out prescription for medicines, advice other healthcare professionals, as well as to advise on the proper preventive care of common household pets.

Veterinarians either work in private clinics, in hospitals, work in laboratories for research, teach in colleges and universities, or work for the federal government.  74% of vets work in the veterinary services industry, while the rest work in academic institutions. 18% of vets in the US are self-employed.

Common duties of a veterinarian are examining an animal’s possible health problems, diagnosing, and creating plans for treatment. They also dress and treat wounds, perform surgical procedures, vaccinate against diseases, operate medical equipment such as x-ray machines, prescribe medicine, advice animal owners on general care and medical conditions, as well as to practice euthanasia on animals who have terminal medical conditions.

There are 5 types of veterinarian careers:

 1. Companion Animal Veterinarians – These vets treat animals in private clinics or hospitals – testing, diagnosing, and treating common pet medical conditions. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 75% of vets in the US work in private clinic practice. These vets perform vaccinations, surgery, setting fractures, and general health care for pets.

 2. Equine Veterinarians – These vets work primarily with horses. About 6% of the country’s vets in 2012 were Equine Veterinarians.

 3. Food Animal Veterinarians – These vets care for the health of farm animals such as pigs, sheep, and cattle. About 8% of the country’s vets who had private practices treated food animals. They usually travel to and spend most of their time in farms and ranches to treat illnesses and injuries, as well as to test and vaccinate against diseases. They also provide recommendations and advice to farm animal owners regarding the housing, feeding, and general health practices of such animals.

 4. Food Safety and Inspection Veterinarians – These vets inspect and test animal products, provide vaccines, enhance animal welfare, conduct research, and enforce government food safety regulations. They’re also the ones responsible for designing and implementing public health programs to prevent the transmission of animal diseases to other animals, as well as to humans.

 5. Research Veterinarians – These vets don’t practice but are limited to doing research in laboratories and conducting clinical studies on human and animal health issues.

Job Outloook

There is a projected increase in the job opportunities for vets from 2016 to 2026. 

The field with the most demand will be for companion animal veterinarians but employment will be very competitive. Fresh graduates of veterinary medicine will most likely apply for jobs in this field so those who have the right specialty and work experience will have the best career options.

Those who want to apply for veterinarian jobs in the fields of food animal, equine, and research are more likely to face less competition.

Veterinarian Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama0.496$36.13$75,160
Alaska FlagAlaska0.527$45.40$94,440
Arizona FlagArizona0.544$38.69$80,480
Arkansas FlagArkansas0.403$43.46$90,390
California FlagCalifornia0.395$56.83$118,210
Colorado flagColorado0.78$45.26$94,150
Connecticut FlagConnecticut0.451$57.54$119,670
Delaware flagDelaware0.531$61.89$128,740
Florida FlagFlorida0.434$45.90$95,470
Georgia FlagGeorgia0.497$44.39$92,340
Hawaii FlagHawaii0.29$55.69$115,840
Idaho FlagIdaho0.803$39.27$81,690
Illinois FlagIllinois0.435$42.52$88,440
Indiana FlagIndiana0.429$42.84$89,100
Iowa FlagIowa0.723$45.85$95,360
Kansas FlagKansas0.565$35.26$73,340
Kentucky FlagKentucky0.489$39.12$81,370
Louisiana FlagLouisiana0.368$37.33$77,640
Maine FlagMaine0.627$43.52$90,520
Maryland FlagMaryland0.503$50.20$104,410
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts0.466$51.51$107,140
Michigan FlagMichigan0.466$47.88$99,600
Minnesota FlagMinnesota0.478$40.30$83,820
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.4$39.15$81,440
Missouri FlagMissouri0.437$37.49$77,980
Montana FlagMontana0.75$34.08$70,880
Nebraska FlagNebraska0.713$37.69$78,400
Nevada FlagNevada0.471$43.60$90,680
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire0.515$45.95$95,570
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey0.364$57.81$120,240
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico0.465$39.22$81,570
New York FlagNew York0.339$57.19$118,950
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina0.611$44.29$92,120
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota0.436$41.32$85,940
Ohio FlagOhio0.451$43.58$90,660
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma0.478$51.54$107,200
Oregon FlagOregon0.681$41.31$85,920
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania0.48$55.79$116,040
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island0.444$55.19$114,790
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina0.496$43.31$90,090
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota0.527$41.98$87,310
Tennessee FlagTennessee0.438$39.35$81,840
Texas FlagTexas0.363$50.78$105,620
Utah FlagUtah0.31$39.84$82,860
Vermont FlagVermont0.876$41.97$87,300
Virginia FlagVirginia0.601$54.26$112,850
Washington FlagWashington0.527$41.65$86,630
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia0.4$39.90$82,980
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin0.619$43.99$91,500
Wyomin FlagWyoming0.675$44.22$91,980

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Santa Barbara / Santa Maria / Goleta, – CA $84.26$175,260
Ann Arbor, MI 0.40$78.94$164,200
San Francisco / San Mateo / Redwood City, – CA – Metropolitan Division0.31$75.45$156,930
Honolulu, HI 0.23$73.70$153,300
Fort Worth / Arlington, – TX – Metropolitan Division 0.48$72.98$151,790

Top paying nonmetropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Western – Central – North Carolina – nonmetropolitan area 0.50$66.93$139,220
Southwestern Virginia – nonmetropolitan area $66.27$137,850
Eastern Ohio – nonmetropolitan area0.73$60.21$125,240
Sussex County, Delaware – nonmetropolitan area 0.61$56.89$118,330
South Georgia – nonmetropolitan area 0.45$56.32$117,150

Veterinarian Career Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

One Response

  1. this information helps me in doing a project for school about a career i wanted to do when i was big it had all the info i needed ans the info that can help me to become a vet.

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