(7.6 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||22,000|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Healthcare Jobs||#8|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#12|
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 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 high growth rate of veterinary jobs—36 percent between 2010 and 2020—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 growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The BLS reports that veterinarians earned a median salary of $82,900 in 2011. The best-paid veterinarians earned $141,680, while the lowest-paid earned $50,480. Veterinarians working in research, federal and state government, and university systems tended to be among the highest paid, and top-paying metropolitan areas include New Haven, Conn., Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., and Newark, N.J.
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 also includes clinical rotations. "It's really important that you have a firm foundation in the sciences," says Aspros. 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, says Aspros.
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||Above Average|
|Stress Level||Above Average|
Last updated by Kimberly Palmer.