Vet Job Overview
Veterinary jobs involve caring for the health of animals by treating illnesses and injuries. Vet jobs include a number of careers, including veterinarian jobs and veterinary assistant jobs. The typical duties of veterinarians include:
- Examining animals to diagnose illness and injury
- Treating the medical conditions of animals
- Caring for animals' wounds
- Operating on animals
- Prescribing veterinary medication
- Counseling pet owners on proper care and managing conditions
- Euthanizing animals
Most vet jobs are found in private clinics, animal hospitals and research laboratories. Some veterinarians also practice on farms, teach in academic institutions or work for the government.
Vet Job Education Requirements
The educational requirements for vet jobs vary widely by position. Veterinarians must earn a doctoral or professional degree after earning a bachelor's degree or completing a certain amount of undergraduate work. They then must take a national and sometimes a state exam in order to obtain a license.
For veterinary technologist jobs, the requisite education is less extensive. Veterinary technologists typically complete a four-year program that culminates in a bachelor's degree. Veterinary technicians, on the other hand, usually complete a two-year program that results in an associate's degree. Both vet techs and technologists usually must then pass a credentialing exam to obtain a certificate, license or registration to practice.
By contrast, veterinary assistants typically need only a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Some vet assistants may choose to obtain certification.
Vet Job Market
In 2013, there were 59,230 veterinarians in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That number is expected to grow by 12 percent in the coming decade, on par with average growth. In the same year, there were 87,870 veterinary technicians and technologists in the U.S., and that number is expected to grow 30 percent by 2022. Finally, there were 71,800 veterinary assistants in the U.S. in 2013, and that number is expected to grow by 10 percent in the next decade.
Vet Job Salary Information
The BLS reported a mean annual salary of $96,140 for veterinarians in 2013. Those in the 90th percentile for income made $149,530, while those in the 10th percentile made $53,270. The same year, veterinary assistants had a mean annual wage of $25,110. Vet assistants in the 90th percentile for income made $35,680, while those in the 10th percentile made $17,380. Finally, veterinary technologists and technicians made an average of $31,760 in 2013. Techs in the 90th percentile for income made $44,490, while those in the 10th percentile made $21,170.