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Become A Staff Veterinarian

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Working As A Staff Veterinarian

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $82,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff Veterinarian Do

Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to improve public health. They diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals.


Veterinarians typically do the following:

  • Examine animals to diagnose their health problems
  • Treat and dress wounds
  • Perform surgery on animals
  • Test for and vaccinate against diseases
  • Operate medical equipment, such as x-ray machines
  • Advise animal owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments
  • Prescribe medication
  • Euthanize animals

Veterinarians treat the injuries and illnesses of pets and other animals with a variety of medical equipment, including surgical tools and x-ray and ultrasound machines. They provide treatment for animals that is similar to the services a physician provides to treat humans.

The following are examples of types of veterinarians:

Companion animal veterinarians treat pets and generally work in private clinics and hospitals. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 75 percent of veterinarians who work in private clinical practice treat pets. They most often care for cats and dogs, but also treat other pets, such as birds, ferrets, and rabbits. These veterinarians diagnose and provide treatment for animal health problems, consult with owners of animals about preventive healthcare, and carry out medical and surgical procedures, such as vaccinations, dental work, and setting fractures.

Equine veterinarians work with horses. In 2014, about 6 percent of private practice veterinarians diagnosed and treated horses.

Food animal veterinarians work with farm animals such as pigs, cattle, and sheep, which are raised to be food sources. In 2014, about 7 percent of private practice veterinarians treated food animals. They spend much of their time at farms and ranches treating illnesses and injuries and testing for and vaccinating against disease. They may advise owners or managers about feeding, housing, and general health practices.

Food safety and inspection veterinarians inspect and test livestock and animal products for major animal diseases, provide vaccines to treat animals, enhance animal welfare, conduct research to improve animal health, and enforce government food safety regulations. They design and administer animal and public health programs for the prevention and control of diseases transmissible among animals and between animals and people.

Research veterinarians work in laboratories, conducting clinical research on human and animal health problems. These veterinarians may perform tests on animals to identify the effects of drug therapies, or they may test new surgical techniques. They may also research how to prevent, control, and eliminate food- and animal-borne illnesses and diseases.

Some veterinarians become postsecondary teachers at colleges and universities.

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How To Become A Staff Veterinarian

Veterinarians must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an accredited veterinary college and a state license.


Veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. There are currently 30 colleges with accredited programs in the United States. A veterinary medicine program generally takes 4 years to complete and includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components.

Although not required, most applicants to veterinary school have a bachelor’s degree. Veterinary medical colleges typically require applicants to have taken many science classes, including biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, zoology, microbiology, and animal science. Most programs also require math, humanities, and social science courses.

Admission to veterinary programs is competitive, and less than half of all applicants were accepted in 2014.

In veterinary medicine programs, students take courses on animal anatomy and physiology, as well as disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Most programs include 3 years of classroom, laboratory, and clinical work. Students typically spend the final year of the 4-year program doing clinical rotations in a veterinary medical center or hospital.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Veterinarians must be licensed in order to practice in the United States. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require prospective veterinarians to complete an accredited veterinary program and to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. Veterinarians working for the state or federal government may not be required to have a state license, because each agency has different requirements.

Most states not only require the national exam but also have a state exam that covers state laws and regulations. Few states accept licenses from other states, so veterinarians who want to be licensed in another state usually must take that state’s exam.

The American Veterinary Medical Association offers certification in 40 specialties, such as surgery, microbiology, and internal medicine. Although certification is not required for veterinarians, it can show exceptional skill and expertise in a particular field. To sit for a specialty certification exam, veterinarians must have a certain number of years of experience in the field, complete additional education, and complete a residency program, typically lasting 3 to 4 years. Requirements vary by specialty.

Other Experience

Some veterinary medical colleges weigh experience heavily during the admissions process. Formal experience, such as previous work with veterinarians or scientists in clinics, agribusiness, research, or some area of health science, is particularly advantageous. Less formal experience, such as working with animals on a farm, at a stable, or in an animal shelter, can also be helpful.

Although graduates of a veterinary program can begin practicing once they receive their license, some veterinarians pursue further education and training. Some new veterinary graduates enter internship or residency programs to gain specialized experience.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Veterinarians must be compassionate when working with animals and their owners. They must treat animals with kindness and respect, and must be sensitive when dealing with the animal owners.

Communication skills. Strong communication skills are essential for veterinarians, who must be able to discuss their recommendations and explain treatment options to animal owners and give instructions to their staff.

Decisionmaking skills. Veterinarians must decide the correct method for treating the injuries and illnesses of animals. For instance, deciding to euthanize a sick animal can be difficult.

Management skills. Management skills are important for veterinarians who manage private clinics or laboratories, or direct teams of technicians or inspectors. In these settings, they are responsible for providing direction, delegating work, and overseeing daily operations.

Manual dexterity. Manual dexterity is important for veterinarians, because they must control their hand movements and be precise when treating injuries and performing surgery.

Problem-solving skills. Veterinarians need strong problem-solving skills because they must figure out what is ailing animals. Those who test animals to determine the effects of drug therapies also need excellent diagnostic skills.

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Staff Veterinarian Typical Career Paths

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Staff Veterinarian Demographics










Hispanic or Latino


Black or African American





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Foreign Languages Spoken







Staff Veterinarian Education


University of Florida


University of Pennsylvania


Colorado State University


Ohio State University


Iowa State University


Purdue University


Tuskegee University


University of California - Davis


North Carolina State University


Auburn University


University of Missouri - Columbia


University of Illinois University Administration


Michigan State University


Pierce College at Puyallup


University of Massachusetts Amherst


University of Connecticut


Kansas State University


University of Nevada - Reno


Eastern University


York College

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Veterinary Medicine


Veterinary Science


Public Health


Animal Science










Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology




Health/Medical Preparatory Programs


Clinical Psychology


Physiology And Anatomy






Medical Technician


Bioethics And Medical Ethics


Medical Assisting Services


Health Care Administration


Public Relations

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Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Charles River Systems
Highest Paying City
Oklahoma City, OK
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does a Staff Veterinarian make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Staff Veterinarian in the United States is $82,674 per year or $40 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $177,000.

Real Staff Veterinarian Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Veterinarian-Diagnostic Imaging Mspca/Angell Boston, MA Jun 20, 2016 $160,500
Staff Veterinarian The Animal Medical Center New York, NY Sep 09, 2013 $145,000
Staff Veterinarian-Anesthesia Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Jul 01, 2014 $118,303
Staff Veterinarian Camden County Animal Shelter Blackwood, NJ Oct 02, 2016 $104,350
Staff Veterinarian Ambassador Dog & Cat Hospital of Los Angeles, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2009 $90,000
Staff Veterinarian Animal Emergency Clinic of Fredericksburg, Inc. Fredericksburg, VA Sep 17, 2015 $90,000
Staff Veterinarian University of California, Davis Davis, CA Oct 01, 2012 $87,859
Staff Veterinarian Ckatcherian Enterprise Inc. Newport Beach, CA Oct 01, 2011 $86,047
Staff Veterinarian Suresh V. Dogra DVM Inc. Monterey Park, CA May 28, 2010 $82,000 -
Staff Veterinarian Pets Alive, Inc. Middletown, NY Sep 21, 2013 $79,285
Staff Veterinarian Pets Alive, Inc. Middletown, NY Sep 15, 2013 $79,285
Staff Veterinarian Illinois Citizens Animal Welfare League Chicago Ridge, IL Sep 03, 2013 $78,000
Staff Veterinarian Illinois Citizens Animal Welfare League Chicago Ridge, IL Aug 30, 2014 $78,000
Staff Veterinarian The Illinois Citizens Animal Welfare League Chicago Ridge, IL Nov 14, 2012 $78,000
Staff Veterinarian Pennsylvania SPCA Philadelphia, PA Jan 17, 2011 $73,045
Staff Veterinarian Richmond Animal Hospital Richmond, TX Oct 01, 2012 $72,000
Staff Veterinarian Cottman Animal Hospital, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Sep 23, 2013 $70,541
Staff Veterinarian Pets Alive, Inc. Middletown, NY Sep 21, 2013 $68,996
Staff Veterinarian Illinois Citizens Animal Welfare League Chicago Ridge, IL Sep 11, 2013 $68,000
Staff Veterinarian The Illinois Citizens Animal Welfare League Chicago Ridge, IL Oct 01, 2012 $68,000
Staff Veterinarian Fleming Regional Clinic Flemingsburg, KY May 15, 2015 $66,000
Staff Veterinarian Fleming Regional Clinic Flemingsburg, KY Apr 12, 2015 $66,000
Staff Veterinarian Fleming Regional Spay Neuter Clinic Flemingsburg, KY Jul 01, 2012 $66,000
Staff Veterinarian Cottman Animal Hospital Philadelphia, PA Sep 29, 2011 $65,073

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Top Skills for A Staff Veterinarian

  1. Emergency Situations
  2. Small Animal Patients
  3. Surgery
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Excelled at emergency diagnostics and surgery.
  • Delivered dedicated animal care, managed emergency situations, and ensured full client understanding and support.
  • Worked in a high volume spay/neuter clinic performing surgery on dogs and cats as young as 8 weeks of age.
  • Provided veterinary care for the companion animals housed in the shelter including exam, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Ensured excellent customer service and a generally positive experience for potential animal adopters.

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Top 10 Best States for Staff Veterinarians

  1. Delaware
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. New Jersey
  4. Maryland
  5. Alaska
  6. New York
  7. Vermont
  8. Connecticut
  9. Ohio
  10. California
  • (17 jobs)
  • (238 jobs)
  • (115 jobs)
  • (72 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (210 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (498 jobs)

Top Staff Veterinarian Employers

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