Veterinary Job Overview
Veterinary jobs focus on the health of animals in diagnosing and treating their medical conditions. Veterinary careers can take many forms, including veterinary technician jobs, veterinarian jobs and veterinary assistant jobs. The duties of vet jobs may include:
- Monitoring the conditions and behavior of animals
- Feeding, grooming and exercising animals
- Diagnosing and treating veterinary conditions
- Assisting veterinarians in examinations and procedures
- Administering vaccinations, medications and other prescribed treatments
- Collecting specimens and running laboratory tests
- Creating and maintaining patient records
Most veterinary professionals work in animal hospitals or private clinics, but some may work on farms, in research laboratories or for government entities. Veterinary workers with advanced degrees may also work in classrooms.
Veterinary Job Education Requirements
The necessary education for vet jobs will depend on the desired career. For veterinarian jobs, for example, applicants must earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree after college. All states require vets to have a license to practice, and that license requires the passing of a national exam as well as a state licensure exam in some cases.
Veterinary technologists do not need as much schooling. Veterinary technology careers typically require a bachelor's degree in the field as well as certification, licensure or registration depending on the state. Vet technicians, on the other hand, usually only need an associate's degree from an accredited veterinary technician program. They also must pass a credentialing exam in order to practice in most cases.
Veterinary Job Market
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. had 59,230 veterinarians in 2013. By 2022, that number is expected to grow by 8,400, or 12 percent, which is about average. In 2013, there were 87,870 veterinary technicians and technologists in the U.S., and that number is expected to grow by 25,000, or 30 percent, by 2022. Lastly, there were 71,800 veterinary assistant and laboratory animal caretakers in the United States in 2013. The BLS predicts that that number will grow by 7,100, or 10 percent, in the next ten years.
Veterinary Job Salary Information
Veterinarians earned an average of $96,140 in 2013. The highest-earning ten percent of vets made $149,530, while the lowest-earning ten percent made $53,270. The same year, veterinary technologists and technicians had a mean annual wage of $31,760. The highest-earning ten percent of vet techs made $44,490, and the lowest-earning ten percent made $21,270. Finally, veterinary assistants and lab animal caretakers earned an average of $25,110 in 2013. The top-earning ten percent of vet assistants made $35,680, while the lowest-earning ten percent made $17,380.