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Veterinarians picture    Veterinarians image

Veterinarians

Veterinarians, also known as doctors of veterinary medicine, diagnose and treat diseases and dysfunction of animals. They also perform surgeries, set fractures and dress wounds. They help pets, zoo animals, racetrack horses, livestock and animals living in laboratories. The American Medical Veterinary Association has reported that 77 percent of the veterinarians that work in private medical practice provide treatments to pets.

Pet veterinarians mostly treat cats and dogs, however they also provide treatments for reptiles, birds, ferrets, rabbits and other types of pets. Some veterinarians specialize in horses. Those that treat livestock and horses provide vaccinations and test for diseases. Farm animal veterinarians offer advice to farmers and ranchers regarding feeding animals, animal production and housing.

Some doctors of veterinary medicine are involved in research. Some veterinarians contribute to the health of humans by working with doctors and scientists to find preventive measures and treatments for a variety of human health problems. A number of veterinarians are involved in food safety and inspection. Some work as livestock inspectors and evaluate animals for transmissible diseases.

Some sample job titles are veterinary medicine doctor, emergency veterinarian, small animal veterinarian, doctor of veterinary medicine, staff veterinarian, large animal veterinarian, companion animal practitioner and veterinary surgeon.

Responsibilities

  • Examine animals in order to detect and determine the nature of injuries and illnesses
  • Treat injured and sick animals
  • Prescribe medications for animals
  • Vaccinate animals against diseases
  • Perform surgeries
  • Advise animal owners about feeding, breeding, behavior and other issues
  • Euthanize animals when necessary
  • Attend lectures, continuing education courses and conferences

Job Characteristics

Veterinarians that treat pets primarily work in a clinic and often work more than 40 hours a week. Those working in a group practice may have to take turns being on call during the evenings, nights and weekends. Pet veterinarians risk being bitten, scratched or kicked. Those that treat horses and livestock typically travel to ranches and farms to provide veterinary services. They often work outdoors. Those involved in research work in laboratories or offices.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected an employment increase of 33 percent for veterinarians during the 2008 to 2018 timeframe which is much faster than average for all occupations. The fast growth of the cat population is expected to increase the demand for feline veterinary services. Excellent job opportunities are forecasted for veterinarians since there are just 28 accredited veterinary medicine schools in the nation, which results in a limited number of graduates each year.

In 2008 the median annual earnings for veterinarians was $79,050. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $143,650. Farm animal veterinarians typically earn less money that pet veterinarians.

Most veterinarians begin their careers as employees of group practices. After gaining experience, many veterinarians set up their own practice or buy an established practice.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Prospective veterinarians need to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree from an accredited college of veterinary medicine. There are numerous colleges that meet the accreditation standards established by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

The prerequisites for admission to veterinary programs vary. Many veterinary programs do not require students to have a bachelor's degree, although all the programs require a substantial number of credit hours at the undergraduate level. However, most of the students have earned a bachelor's degree.

Admissions to veterinary schools is competitive. In 2007 about one out of three applicants was accepted to veterinary school. Some veterinary colleges place a heavy consideration on the applicant's veterinary and animal experience. Experience gained through working with veterinarians or scientists in clinics, research, agribusiness or some area of health science can be very beneficial.

Pre-veterinary courses in science subjects are recommended. Veterinary medical colleges usually require candidates to have completed classes in subjects including biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, animal biology, general biology, genetics, animal nutrition, cellular biology, vertebrate embryology, systemic physiology, zoology and microbiology.

Veterinarians need a Doctor of Veterinarian Medical degree and a state license. Many new graduates of veterinary schools choose to take a one year internship. The internship provides a small salary, yet they often discover that the internship leads to better paying opportunities.

Those that seek board certification are required to complete a three to four year residency program that includes intensive training in 1 of the 39 AVMA recognized veterinarian specialities. Most states have continuing education requirements for licensed veterinarians.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employers are group practice veterinary clinics and hospitals, colleges, universities, research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and local, state and federal government agencies.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Veterinarians

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Veterinarians jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 270 $74,770
Birmingham 270 $74,770
Huntsville 100 $73,720
Montgomery 70 $74,150
Foley 70 $85,010
Fairhope 70 $85,010
Daphne 70 $85,010
Mobile 60 $85,790
Tuscaloosa 30 $60,220
Opelika 30 $101,660
Auburn 30 $101,660
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 120 $95,340
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 1160 $84,670
Scottsdale 1160 $84,670
Mesa 1160 $84,670
Tucson 160 $79,970
Prescott 70 $110,780
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 200 $51,380
North Little Rock 200 $51,380
Little Rock 200 $51,380
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 1900 $113,170
Long Beach 1900 $113,170
Los Angeles 1900 $113,170
San Francisco 790 $110,920
Hayward 790 $110,920
Oakland 790 $110,920
Carlsbad 780 $107,110
San Diego 780 $107,110
San Bernardino 450 $80,160
Riverside 450 $80,160
Ontario 450 $80,160
Roseville 350 $117,240
Arden 350 $117,240
Arcade 350 $117,240
Sacramento 350 $117,240
Sunnyvale 350 $117,530
Santa Clara 350 $117,530
San Jose 350 $117,530
Stockton 170 $67,890
Lodi 170 $67,890
Santa Rosa 170 $116,830
Oxnard 160 $176,260
Thousand Oaks 160 $176,260
Ventura 160 $176,260
Fresno 120 N/A
Santa Maria 120 $85,930
Santa Barbara 120 $85,930
Modesto 100 $95,550
Paso Robles 90 $63,980
Arroyo Grande 90 $63,980
San Luis Obispo 90 $63,980
Fairfield 80 $92,780
Vallejo 80 $92,780
Watsonville 80 $98,880
Santa Cruz 80 $98,880
Salinas 80 $112,230
Visalia 70 N/A
Porterville 70 N/A
Redding 60 $105,350
Chico 50 $102,640
Bakersfield N/A $81,810
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 1070 $84,420
Denver 1070 $84,420
Aurora 1070 $84,420
Fort Collins 260 $73,370
Colorado Springs 190 $80,640
Boulder 120 $72,490
Greeley 90 $69,910
Grand Junction 60 $91,630
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Hartford 290 $105,380
East Hartford 290 $105,380
Hartford 290 $105,380
Bridgeport 210 $101,790
Stamford 210 $101,790
Norwalk 210 $101,790
New Haven 110 $97,780
Danbury 50 $90,800
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 40 $99,730
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 840 $102,700
Miami 840 $102,700
Fort Lauderdale 840 $102,700
Tampa 620 $90,350
St. Petersburg 620 $90,350
Clearwater 620 $90,350
Orlando 430 $98,940
Sanford 430 $98,940
Kissimmee 430 $98,940
Jacksonville 230 $177,160
Sarasota 160 $76,340
North Port 160 $76,340
Bradenton 160 $76,340
Ocala 130 N/A
Melbourne 130 $122,000
Titusville 130 $122,000
Palm Bay 130 $122,000
Port St. Lucie 110 $76,250
Brent 100 $75,890
Ferry Pass 100 $75,890
Pensacola 100 $75,890
Tallahassee 100 $79,700
Lakeland 100 $114,800
Winter Haven 100 $114,800
Gainesville 90 $80,260
Fort Walton Beach 60 $71,480
Crestview 60 $71,480
Destin 60 $71,480
Marco Island 50 $128,830
Immokalee 50 $128,830
Naples 50 $128,830
Deltona N/A $73,560
Daytona Beach N/A $73,560
Ormond Beach N/A $73,560
Cape Coral N/A $75,520
Fort Myers N/A $75,520
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sandy Springs 1050 $81,640
Atlanta 1050 $81,640
Roswell 1050 $81,640
Clarke County 90 $61,040
Athens 90 $61,040
Savannah 90 $87,680
Albany 50 $61,470
Gainesville 50 $72,050
Macon 30 $119,360
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 180 $90,100
Idaho Falls 30 N/A
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 70 $74,260
Rockford 70 $78,580
Peoria 70 $87,570
Champaign 50 $85,980
Urbana 50 $85,980
Bloomington 30 $76,280
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 360 $91,210
Anderson 360 $91,210
Carmel 360 $91,210
Fort Wayne 80 $79,610
Bloomington 40 $82,710
Elkhart 40 $98,820
Goshen 40 $98,820
Terre Haute 30 $89,680
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 310 $80,950
Des Moines 310 $80,950
Ames 100 $89,370
Iowa City 50 $79,850
Cedar Rapids 50 $91,050
Dubuque 30 $60,460
Cedar Falls 30 $102,070
Waterloo 30 $102,070
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 100 N/A
Topeka 80 $72,140
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 330 $77,520
Lexington 330 $77,520
Bowling Green 60 N/A
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 270 $69,110
Metairie 270 $69,110
Lafayette 90 $88,730
Baton Rouge 80 $58,280
Shreveport 70 $74,650
Bossier City 70 $74,650
Lake Charles 40 $74,630
Houma 30 $94,280
Thibodaux 30 $94,280
Monroe 30 $99,070
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bangor 50 $99,140
South Portland N/A $97,000
Portland N/A $97,000
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 830 $114,300
Columbia 830 $114,300
Baltimore 830 $114,300
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 60 $124,080
New Bedford 40 $82,680
Leominster 40 $136,320
Gardner 40 $136,320
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 880 $78,280
Detroit 880 $78,280
Warren 880 $78,280
Lansing 120 $96,210
East Lansing 120 $96,210
Ann Arbor 100 $95,760
Portage 90 $64,110
Kalamazoo 90 $64,110
Flint 70 $77,740
Saginaw 50 $113,180
Jackson 40 $109,450
Monroe N/A $99,630
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 50 $85,470
St. Cloud 40 $85,110
Mankato 30 $78,910
North Mankato 30 $78,910
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 100 $72,980
Hattiesburg 50 $72,570
Pascagoula 40 $83,560
Biloxi 40 $83,560
Gulfport 40 $83,560
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 120 $78,960
Columbia 70 $67,920
Jefferson City 40 $69,770
Joplin 40 $76,040
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 70 $61,590
Missoula 40 $81,420
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 120 $73,880
Grand Island 30 $90,260
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 280 $100,150
Henderson 280 $100,150
Las Vegas 280 $100,150
Reno 140 $78,960
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 60 $99,060
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 80 N/A
Ocean City 50 N/A
Hammonton 40 $133,300
Atlantic City 40 $133,300
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 220 $100,130
Las Cruces 50 $76,360
Santa Fe 30 $91,920
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 230 $85,200
Cheektowaga 200 $92,230
Buffalo 200 $92,230
Niagara Falls 200 $92,230
Schenectady 200 $114,770
Albany 200 $114,770
Troy 200 $114,770
Syracuse 160 $101,020
Binghamton 50 $99,480
Kingston 50 $117,850
Ithaca 40 $79,860
Rome 40 $117,580
Utica 40 $117,580
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 680 $90,240
High Point 230 $75,790
Greensboro 230 $75,790
Chapel Hill 200 $113,010
Durham 200 $113,010
Asheville 160 $113,160
Hickory 110 $77,070
Morganton 110 $77,070
Lenoir 110 $77,070
Wilmington 100 $80,050
Fayetteville 70 $99,610
Greenville 50 $73,780
Burlington 40 $74,110
Salem N/A $77,840
Winston N/A $77,840
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 50 $81,240
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 760 $97,150
Elyria 660 $49,370
Cleveland 660 $49,370
Dayton 200 $114,240
Toledo 150 $109,360
Akron 140 $93,500
Canton 60 $93,640
Massillon 60 $93,640
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 350 $80,760
Tulsa 270 N/A
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 110 $75,130
Salem 100 $93,240
Bend 80 $70,850
Redmond 80 $70,850
Medford 70 $80,940
Corvallis 40 $70,080
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 550 $102,020
Harrisburg 120 $114,140
Carlisle 120 $114,140
Hazleton 90 $100,990
Wilkes 90 $100,990
Barre 90 $100,990
Scranton 90 $100,990
Reading 90 $145,860
State College 70 $90,830
Erie 60 $92,550
York 60 $117,720
Hanover 60 $117,720
East Stroudsburg 40 $93,620
Lebanon 40 $97,900
Lancaster N/A $69,110
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 80 $89,970
Carolina 80 $89,970
San Juan 80 $89,970
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 180 $108,750
Mauldin 140 $91,560
Greenville 140 $91,560
Anderson 140 $91,560
Charleston 100 $78,720
North Charleston 100 $78,720
Beaufort 70 N/A
Hilton Head Island 70 N/A
Bluffton 70 N/A
Spartanburg 40 $93,900
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 70 $72,740
Rapid City 40 $60,630
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 280 $76,250
Nashville 280 $76,250
Murfreesboro 280 $76,250
Davidson 280 $76,250
Knoxville 190 $75,490
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Worth 1320 $102,760
Dallas 1320 $102,760
Arlington 1320 $102,760
Sugar Land 780 $94,620
The Woodlands 780 $94,620
Houston 780 $94,620
Austin 590 $96,480
Round Rock 590 $96,480
San Antonio 380 $96,020
New Braunfels 380 $96,020
Bryan 100 $48,930
College Station 100 $48,930
Killeen 100 $94,350
Temple 100 $94,350
Lubbock 90 N/A
El Paso 90 $99,580
Corpus Christi 80 $92,160
Port Arthur 60 $80,420
Beaumont 60 $80,420
Tyler 60 $89,950
Amarillo 50 $87,190
Midland N/A $94,610
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 150 $78,610
Clearfield 60 $89,960
Ogden 60 $89,960
Orem 40 $77,250
Provo 40 $77,250
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 80 $100,960
Burlington 80 $100,960
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 390 $86,990
Charlottesville 110 $80,650
Roanoke 100 $108,170
Lynchburg 80 $48,330
Harrisonburg 60 $94,690
Waynesboro 50 $85,560
Staunton 50 $85,560
Blacksburg 50 $86,710
Christiansburg 50 $86,710
Radford 50 $86,710
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 840 $89,360
Tacoma 840 $89,360
Bellevue 840 $89,360
Spokane Valley 140 $81,270
Spokane 140 $81,270
Tumwater 90 $88,880
Olympia 90 $88,880
Anacortes 60 $84,300
Mount Vernon 60 $84,300
Silverdale 60 $84,590
Bremerton 60 $84,590
Bellingham 50 $100,140
Richland 40 $79,120
Kennewick 40 $79,120
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 40 $76,570
Morgantown 30 $83,580
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Waukesha 470 $92,460
West Allis 470 $92,460
Milwaukee 470 $92,460
Madison 260 $78,720
Green Bay 90 $74,040
Oshkosh 60 $80,100
Neenah 60 $80,100
Appleton 50 $73,110
Eau Claire 50 $74,710
Wausau 40 $68,790
Beloit 40 $71,320
Janesville 40 $71,320
Fond du Lac 30 $86,080
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 40 $76,060

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Veterinarians

To find out more about building a career as Veterinarians, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Veterinarians

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 49,080 92% $79,320
Government 1,990 3% $76,750
Education 640 1% $71,820
Non-profit 560 1% $78,590
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  • Degree - Veterinary Technology
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Bakersfield
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  • Veterinary Technology Alternate Route - Certificate
  • Veterinary Technology - Associates
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
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  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
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Programs
  • Veterinary Assisting
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  • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
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  • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
  • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
Programs
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
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  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
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  • All courses are offered six times a year with clear path to completion and reduced time-to-degree
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Hayward
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  • Healthcare Administration (BS)
  • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
  • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
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San Marcos
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San Diego
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  • Dental Assistant

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

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Salida
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  • Master of Public Health

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