Similar to the service you receive from your physician, your pets receive the same care from their veterinarian. Vets are responsible for treating injuries and illnesses of your beloved best friend through the use of a variety of medical equipment like surgical tools and x-ray and ultrasound machines.

Not all veterinarians are alike. There are different types of veterinarians one could choose to be, including companion animal veterinarians, food animal veterinarians, and food safety and inspection veterinarians. Because of the variety of positions, it makes sense that veterinarian offices look quite different from each other. While the majority of vets work in clinics or hospitals, others travel to farms or work in laboratories, classrooms and zoos. Definitely beats working in a cubicle!

What Does a 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.

Learn more about what a Veterinarian does

How To Become a Veterinarian

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

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Veterinarian Job Description

A veterinarian or a vet is a medical professional responsible for providing care to sick or injured animals. They also do regular check-ups on animals, especially after surgeries and other treatments, and may also conduct laboratory tests, euthanize animals, and apply preventative care.

Learn more about Veterinarian Job Description

Veterinarian Career Paths

Average Salary for a Veterinarian

Veterinarians in America make an average salary of $109,524 per year or $53 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $205,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $58,000 per year.
Average Veterinarian Salary
$109,524 Yearly
$52.66 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Veterinarian

The role of a veterinarian includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general veterinarian responsibilities:

  • Provide medical and surgical care by examination, treatment
  • Perform physical exam and assessment of community pets
  • New graduates will have a training period where they shadow another dvm for the first three months

There are several types of veterinarian, including:

Doctor Of Veterinary Medicine


If you have an innate love for animals, then you have the most basic trait that a doctor of veterinary medicine needs. As a doctor for animals, you are responsible for healing and saving animal lives with the same passion and effort that is put forth for humans.

The duties of a doctor of veterinary medicine vary from day to day, but in general, the general workflow will mostly consist of conducting check-ups, treating injuries, administering shots, and educating pet owners about proper care for their pets. Unfortunately, a doctor of veterinary medicine may also need to deal with tough circumstances, such as delivering bad news to pet owners and putting animals to rest.

The path to becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine is a bit different from becoming a regular doctor for humans. First, you do not need a pre-med degree; you can directly enter a veterinary school to get your diploma, which usually takes around six years. After that, you can take a licensure exam and may not need to complete internships or residencies as regular doctors do.

The average salary of a vet is very high, similar to doctors for humans. On average, a doctor of veterinary medicine makes $72 an hour, which is about $150,000 a year.

  • Average Salary: $136,242
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree

Emergency Veterinarian


An emergency veterinarian is a specialist who provides medical care to animal patients and emergency clinics and animal hospitals. They treat acute illness, neurological medical conditions, renal medical problems, broken bones, and general trauma. You may work with veterinary internal medicine and on-call surgeons. You can specialize in one type of animal - large, small, exotics, or equine.

Emergency veterinarians take referrals from general veterinarians to treat animal patients who are under duress. You need to receive your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or DVM degree and become a licensed veterinarian. You can practice emergency veterinary medicine without additional training, but it would be great if you become a Diplomat and are certified by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care or DACVECC.

You will need to complete your study in emergency medicine and critical care and go through a three-year residency program. You will need to be compassionate, able to treat animals with respect and kindness, and be sensitive to animal owners. Communication is an essential skill. With all this training you can make a salary of $150,000 per year. Your salary could go higher depending on how trained and what experience you have.

  • Average Salary: $94,518
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Public Health Veterinarian


Public health veterinarians focus on health issues related to the interaction between animal and human populations. They practice veterinary medicine paying special attention to preventing diseases caused by animal-related sources, such as viruses passed on to humans from certain species.

You will be in regular contact with health agencies, discussing the risks of diseases and potential outbreaks. You will collect and analyze data about risk factors related to infectious diseases. You will work on investigating, controlling, and preventing outbreaks of diseases by examining food production or agricultural practices. You will be responsible for educating the population about risks and preventive measures and the correct course of action in emergencies.

You will need a master's degree in public health with a focus on veterinary practice. You might acquire a doctor of medicine or veterinary medicine degree or get licensure or certification as a public health practitioner. This position will earn you an average annual salary of $76,368.

  • Average Salary: $62,550
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Veterinarian Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active veterinarian jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where veterinarians earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Veterinarian Jobs By State

Veterinarian Education

Veterinarian Majors

11.3 %

Veterinarian Degrees


43.7 %


31.6 %


7.4 %

Top Colleges for Veterinarians

1. University of Georgia

Athens, GA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Texas A&M University

College Station, TX • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Tufts University

Medford, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition




6. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, WI • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




8. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition




9. North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




10. University of California - Davis

Davis, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Veterinarian

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 38.0% of veterinarians listed pet on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and compassion are important as well.

  • PET, 38.0%
  • Customer Service, 8.9%
  • Diagnostic Tests, 5.6%
  • Preventative Care, 5.2%
  • Blood Draws, 4.8%
  • Other Skills, 37.5%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Veterinarian Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Veterinarian templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Veterinarian resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Veterinarian diversity

Veterinarian Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among veterinarians, 62.9% of them are women, while 37.1% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among veterinarians is White, which makes up 83.1% of all veterinarians.

  • The most common foreign language among veterinarians is Spanish at 51.1%.

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Best States For a Veterinarian

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a veterinarian. The best states for people in this position are Maine, New Mexico, Vermont, and Maryland. Veterinarians make the most in Maine with an average salary of $116,665. Whereas in New Mexico and Vermont, they would average $113,328 and $113,030, respectively. While veterinarians would only make an average of $111,834 in Maryland, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Maine

Total Veterinarian Jobs: 28
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Rhode Island

Total Veterinarian Jobs: 39
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Massachusetts

Total Veterinarian Jobs: 371
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Veterinarians

How Do Veterinarians Rate Their Jobs?

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Top Veterinarian Employers

Most Common Employers For Veterinarian

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Saratoga Hospital$134,189$64.517
2Singh Homes$129,020$62.0311
3National Veterinary Associates$109,398$52.6044 - State of Texas Official Website$107,522$51.6910
7Advanced Animal Diagnostics (qscoutlab)$106,630$51.269
9Hagyard Equine Medical Institute$106,375$51.1412

Veterinarian Videos

Becoming a Veterinarian FAQs

Do Veterinarians Make A Lot Of Money?

Yes, veterinarians make good money. The median salary for a veterinarian is around $90,000 in a year.

However, veterinarian salaries can range from around $56,000 on the low end to around $162,000 on the high end. This means that the salaries of most veterinarians fall somewhere between $70,000 and $100,000 per year.

How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Veterinarian?

It takes about eight years to become a veterinarian. Aspiring vets can expect to devote about eight years to their higher education if they spend four years in college and four years in vet school earning a doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M.) degree.

Is It Hard To Become A Vet?

Yes, it is hard to become a vet. To become a vet, a person has to go through extensive schooling that is expensive and time-consuming.

It typically takes about eight years to become a veterinarian. Since veterinary school typically lasts for four years and veterinary students usually have a bachelor's degree, the journey into the veterinary profession is a long one.

What Are Careers In Veterinary Medicine?

Veterinarians, zoo veterinarians, and vet nurses are careers in veterinary medicine. Here are descriptions of these careers and others in veterinary medicine:

  • Veterinarian

    A veterinarian is a doctor who diagnoses, treats, and cares for animals. They seek to prevent or administer treatment for animal diseases and other medical conditions. Most vets are qualified to perform a wide range of medical services for animals.

    They work in private practices, animal hospitals, academic settings, research facilities, and other animal settings.

    Common duties include administering vaccinations and necessary medications, treating animals suffering from illness, disease, or injury, assisting in the birth of the animal litter, giving health and diet advice to pet and livestock owners, and spaying, neutering, and euthanizing animals when necessary.

    Veterinarians must get a doctorate in veterinary medicine in order to legally practice as a vet. Typically, veterinary schools require students to have completed coursework in the following areas:

    • Anatomy

    • Animal Science

    • Biology

    • Chemistry

    • Physiology

    • Zoology

    Veterinarians must also obtain state licensure, and requirements may vary from state to state, but all require graduation from an accredited veterinary school. To acquire a license, they must then pass the Veterinary Licensing Exam.

    The average salary of a veterinarian in the United States is $94,897 per year.

  • Zoo veterinarian

    Zoo veterinarians are doctors of zoo animals. They perform the same kinds of tasks as regular veterinarians, although their jobs tend to be more complex because they give medical care to exotic animals.

    Zoo veterinarians need a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM or VMD) degree to practice. Before attending veterinary school to obtain this degree, they must first get their bachelor's degree in a related field.

    A bachelor's degree in zoology is perhaps the best preparation for a career being a zoo veterinarian. After they get a DVM or VMD, they also need to obtain a state license. All states require a license to be a zoo veterinarian.

    In addition, most states require the passing of a state test, as well as the national exam.

    Zoo veterinarians need to obtain internships in the field. They can do this while in school or post-graduation. They must do this to develop hands-on experience dealing with exotic animals. Here they can be mentored by professional zoo vets. Internships also prepare them for the residency program they need to complete.

    Getting specialized training in a residency program is another requirement. Most zoo vet residency programs last around 3 to 4 years. These programs are approved by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM), which is the certifying board for zoological medicine.

    Residency programs offer in-depth professional training and experience. They help to hone clinical skills and research abilities. The work may take place at a zoo, aquarium, wild animal park, or another related site with exotic animals.

    The average salary of a zoo veterinarian in the United States is $122,467 per year.

  • Veterinary assistant

    You need an associate's degree in veterinary technology to be a veterinary assistant. Education requirements may also depend on the employer and what specific tasks you will be asked to perform.

    You can also seek to obtain a veterinary assistant certificate. These programs prepare you to perform responsibilities like assisting with lab procedures, animal nursing, and diagnostic imaging.

    Most vet assistants have an associate's degree. However, there are no strict education requirements for the position. Though a degree of some kind is often preferred by employers. Working experience with animals is also a major plus.

    Veterinary assistants make an average wage of $15.44 per hour in the United States.

  • Vet nurse

    A vet nurse provides supportive care for animals receiving treatment within a veterinary practice. A vet nurse works in a veterinary office with doctors.

    They can have many responsibilities at work, such as assisting a vet during surgery, providing animals with physical therapy, administering medication, and analyzing laboratory specimens to help develop a diagnosis.

    Vet nurses must complete veterinary nursing programs in order to be eligible for employment. The average wage of a vet nurse in the United States is $17.09 per hour.

  • Vet tech

    A vet tech is a professional that specializes in animal care. A vet tech works under the direction of a veterinarian and performs various medical tasks to promote the well-being of animals.

    Their job duties may include preparing animals for surgery, monitoring them after an operation, administering medication, and providing care instructions to owners.

    In most states, veterinary technicians need at least an associate degree and a license or other credentials.

    In three states: Alaska, California, and Wisconsin, veterinary technicians can qualify for the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) after completing alternative degrees or by gaining on-the-job training.

    The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) oversees and administers the VTNE. Some states, such as Massachusetts, may not require a license.

    The average wage of a vet tech in the United States is $18.25 per hour.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Being A Vet?

There are several pros and cons associated with being a vet; pros include pay, work-life balance, and variety, while cons include the length of training, debt potential, and working with difficult animals.

What Does A Veterinarian Wear?

Veterinarians wear medical scrubs with or without a white lab coat. There are different types of veterinarians based on their type of practice. Some veterinarians work solely in an office-style clinical practice seeing small animals like dogs and cats, while others may be large animal vets working on farms or ranches.

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