Veterinarians provide healthcare and treatment to animals. In the US, the annual veterinarian salary is around $78,000. By contrast, in Canada, veterinarians earn C$74,000, or US$60,213 on average. Earnings in Australia revolve around AU$67,000 (US$54,282) while those in New Zealand earn around NZ$86,000 (US$63,651.) Veterinarians in the UK earn the lowest amount of the countries reviewed in this guide at ₤32,000, or US$45,274. While geography influences income for veterinarians, so do experience, the employer, and work setting. Additional details regarding what influences a veterinarian salary are provided below.
How Much Does a Veterinarian Make?
The chart below outlines salaries in select countries as well as the US dollar equivalency.
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Veterinarian Salary Determinant Factors
Salary ranges for veterinarians vary worldwide based on geographic region, professional experience, and work setting. Further details on income and a career in veterinarian medicine are outlined below.
1. How Much Does a Veterinarian Make by Country?
Veterinarian Salary in the US
Veterinarians in the US earn a median annual salary of $78,000 according to Payscale.com. Entry level veterinarians can expect to earn just under $52,000 when beginning their careers, with salaries increasing to over $110,000 with experience. Some employers offer bonuses, profit sharing, and commission that can further boost income an additional $3,500 to more than $88,000. The US states with the highest earning veterinarians are Hawaii at $198,600, followed by New Jersey at $127,130 and Connecticut at $125,630.
Veterinarian Salary in Canada
Payscale.com reports a mean annual salary for veterinarians in Canada of C$74,000. The typical starting salary is about C$51,000 per year and can increase to more than C$100,000 per year with experience. Bonus can range from $500 to $7,000, and veterinarians who have a sales role as part of their responsibilities may also earn a commission of nearly $26,000 in additional income. Veterinarians working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, are at the top end of the pay range at $55.00 per hour while the lowest earners are found in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at $36.02 per hour.
Veterinarian Salary in the UK
Veterinarians in the UK earn an annual salary between £20,000 and £47,500, with mean earnings of around £32,000. An additional £500 to nearly £10,000 in bonus potential is available, and some employers also offer profit sharing incentives that can reach £1,200 as additional income. Annual earnings increase significantly during the first five to 10 years of career work, with additional experience impacting income only somewhat.
Veterinarian Salary in Australia
In Australia, the median annual income for a veterinarian is AU$67,000. Entry level veterinarians can expect a starting salary of about AU$47,000, increasing to about AU$96,000 per year with additional experience. Some employers offer additional income potential through bonus, profit sharing, and commissions. Salaries in Melbourne and Perth are higher than the national mean salary for veterinarians in Australia by 6% and 4%, respectively. Veterinarian earnings in Sydney are about 4% less than this national average. And in Brisbane, a veterinarian salary is usually 7% smaller than it is the rest of Australia.
Veterinarian Salary in New Zealand
The starting salary for veterinarians in New Zealand is about NZ$582,000 per year, and increases greatly with experience to about NZ$130,000. There are bonus opportunities that can further increase income by NZ$200 to NZ$6,000 annually. Earnings increase dramatically during the first 10 to 20 years of experience, but additional time in this career does not influence future income.
2. How Much Does a Veterinarian Make According to Experience?
The veterinarian salary at all experience levels from starting to senior level is the highest the US; however, experience potentially increases earnings by 98%, equating to more than $50,000 per year. In the UK, where veterinarians earn the least amount among the countries reviewed, the difference between entry level and senior level veterinarians is more than £23,000 per year or an increase of 111%. With experience, annual salaries increase in New Zealand by nearly NZ$52,000, or 100%, followed by Australia with about AU$40,000, or 86%, and Canada at about C$41,000, or 76%.
Requirements for a career in veterinary medicine vary globally. In the US, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree is necessary following completion of a bachelor’s degree. In the UK, a degree in veterinary science that generally takes five to six years to complete is mandatory. However, some universities require minimum grades in specific science and math courses for admission. Licensure and registration are also required at the state or province level with the appropriate governing body.
3. How Much Does a Veterinarian Make According to Work Environment?
Veterinarians work in animal hospitals or private clinics. They may also work in government agencies such as food inspection and safety departments, research labs, ranches and farms, and educational settings. Those employed in the public sector, such as the government and educational institutions, may earn less than those working in the private sector. This is due to a lack of or less prevalence of bonus, profit sharing, and commission incentives.
Recommended read: If you are interested in other related jobs, you should also go through our guide to the veterinary assistant salary and our rundown of the vet tech salary in English-speaking countries.
Veterinarians working in hospitals and clinics often work long hours providing animal care and serving on-call availability for emergencies. Work hours may occur during any day or time as 24-hour care is sometimes needed for animals.
Those who work in research labs, government agencies, educational institutions, and other offices typically work during normal business hours from Monday through Friday with occasional hours needed during other times. Those who are self-employed in their own clinic may have the greatest opportunity for flexibility in work schedule. Some veterinarians express times of stress due to caring for sick animals or worrying pet owners; however, most say they have high job satisfaction.
Bonuses and Benefits
There are opportunities for bonus, profit sharing, and commission income offered by some employers. These benefits are likely not as common in the public sector. The provision of healthcare benefits varies globally as most veterinarians in Australia do not receive any medical, dental, or vision coverage, compared to about 71% in New Zealand and 75% in the UK who also indicate a lack of health benefits. About 34% of veterinarians in the US and 31% in Canada say they do not receive healthcare benefits from their employer. Those who are self-employed are most likely responsible for covering their own medical benefits.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the growth rate for veterinarian medicine is will be about 9% in the US between 2014 and 2024. Globally, the demand for veterinarians will likely support the number of new veterinarians starting their careers. However, there may be competition for positions working with pet companions and more availability for those who choose to treat large animals or work in research or government positions.
Veterinarians earn good incomes globally. And while there may be some times of stress or long work hours, most express a high level of job satisfaction. Future job growth for veterinarians is expected to meet the supply of new veterinarians entering their careers. However, some areas may see a higher level of competition among positions.
While there are opportunities for bonus, profit sharing, and commission offered by many employers, there is a notable percentage of veterinarians who do not receive healthcare benefits. However, given the high job satisfaction level and relatively large veterinarian salary, this career path should remain appealing for most.
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