AVMA Veterinary Debt and Income report paints market picture

When it comes down to how much you can expect to make as a new veterinarian, or whether your income is similar to other veterinarians, context is everything.

In other words, you have to consider the health of the general economy, education costs, and compensation data. And that’s what the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has done.

The AVMA recently released its 2015 AVMA Report on Veterinary and Income. Reported in NEWStat briefly last week, today’s post provides a more in-depth picture of that report.

Data highlights:

  • Advanced education and internships are up 30% and may signal a long-term trend.
  • The growth of internships has been at the expense of full-time positions in companion animal and equine practices and has put a drag on the growth in mean starting salaries.
  • From 2001-2014, companion animal practices saw a drop in new veterinarians, while equine practices saw an increase.
  • The mean weighted salary of new veterinarians is nearly $67,000. (New veterinarians in industry earn $6,772 more while those in equine earn $18,163 less.)
  • Starting salaries for new veterinarians varied from less than $45,000 to nearly $90,000, depending on practice type, position, region, advanced degrees, age, gender, hours expected to work, and debt from veterinary college.
  • The mean cost of veterinary education has increased by nearly 250% over the past 15 years.
  • Mean debt for new veterinarians has risen by approximately $6,854 a year for the last 10 years.
  • The number of female graduates has almost doubled between 2001 and 2014, compared to less than 20% growth in the number of male graduates.  
  • Veterinary degree holders with additional education earn more; MBAs earn the most ($140,000 versus $110,000 for veterinary degree only holders).
  • Women’s starting salaries are slightly lower (approximately $66,000) compared to males’ (approximately $69,000) but increase more quickly, and level off at 10 years.
  • The future looks bright, with starting salaries of new veterinarians expected to continue to rise well into 2024. (They were flat from 2010-2014.)

The data was gathered from three separate surveys. The AMVA’s Senior Survey is distributed to graduating veterinary students from 28 U.S. accredited colleges in April. (Beginning in 2015, foreign schools will be included.)

The Employment Survey is distributed annually in March to veterinarians who have been in the profession 1, 5, 10, and 25 years.

The Veterinary Compensation Survey is distributed to random samples of all veterinarians in June.