Number of Jobs
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Health Care Jobs||#12|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#20|
Veterinarians take care of animals, but they also do much more: They protect the safety of our food supply by inspecting livestock, promote public health by fighting animal-borne diseases and help foster healthier relationships between people and their animal companions. “Veterinarians work hard to protect the health of humans and animals,” says Doug Aspros, a Pound Ridge, N.Y.-based veterinarian and immediate past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. He adds that the field of veterinary medicine is increasingly recognizing the powerful impact that companion animals can have on human emotional health, especially given the growth in the number of people living alone and having fewer children. “The relationship between you and your animal family really represents an area of emotional stability and support,” he says, and it’s one that veterinarians help foster.
The healthy growth rate of veterinary jobs – 12 percent between 2012 and 2022 – reflects the fact that more Americans have pets and are willing to spend a lot of money on their health and care. Advancements in the field, which now include cancer treatment and even organ transplants, also contribute to the industry’s employment growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS reports that veterinarians earned a median salary of $84,460 in 2012. The best-paid veterinarians earned $144,100, while the lowest-paid earned $51,530. Veterinarians working in scientific research development services, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing and wholesale electronic markets tend to be among the highest paid. Top-paying metropolitan areas include Cape Coral, Fla., Visalia, Calif., and Palm Coast, Fla.
Veterinarians earn a doctor of veterinary medicine degree, which usually takes four years. (Many also first complete a bachelor’s degree.) The coursework is science-heavy and includes clinical rotations. “It’s really important that you have a firm foundation in the sciences,” Aspros says. He estimates that about half of new graduates from veterinary school go on to pursue additional training or degrees in specialties, such as epidemiology, nutrition or surgery. Veterinarians who plan to run their own practices often seek business training, as well, Aspros adds.
Aspros says earning additional certifications or training can help recent graduates land jobs and those with strong communication skills are especially marketable. “There was a time when the typical vet was someone who was attracted to working with animals because they had problems working with people. Today, there’s no way to be an effective veterinarian without good communication skills,” he says. As a result, vet schools are increasingly incorporating communications training into their programs.
|Upward Mobility||good Above Average|
|Stress Level||poor Above Average|
|Flexibility||poor Below Average|
Last updated by Kimberly Palmer.