Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for veterinarians was $95,4600 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $58,080 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $160,780.
The top paying industry was social advocacy organizations, where the median annual salary was $97,010. This was followed by veterinary services ($95,500), the government ($90,500) and finally educational services ($80,800).
Autonomy and flexibility
Veterinarians are typically the most senior people at their workplace. They are often in charge of instructing veterinary assistants and deciding what course of treatment an animal should have. Therefore, their autonomy is likely to be high. Flexibility is likely to be lower, as vets often work long hours and may not have a huge amount of control over their schedule.
Locations and commute
According to Zippia, the best states to be a veterinarian, based on average annual salary and number of job opportunities available, are:
- Utah, where the average annual salary is $138,748
- Kansas, where the average annual salary is $127,678
- Alaska, where the average annual salary is $124,322
- Texas, where the average annual salary is $117,770
- North Dakota, where the average annual salary is $150,805
The worst states, according to Zippia, are Louisiana, Florida, Maine, Kentucky and Hawaii.
The largest employed of veterinarians in the United States was veterinary services, which employed 76% of all veterinarians. 14% of vets were self-employed workers, 3% were employed by the government, 1% by educational services and 1% by social advocacy organizations.
Most vets will work in private clinics and animal hospitals. However, they can also work in laboratories, classrooms, zoos or travel to farms and ranches, where they may have to work outdoors.
The work of a vet can be incredibly emotionally stressful. They may have to care for abused animals, euthanize sick ones, offer support to pet owners or attend emergencies in slaughterhouses. Vets are also at risk of being bitten, kicked and scratched by distressed (or mean!) animals.