Careers for Veterinarians
The function of the College of Veterinary Medicine is to educate men
and women in the science and art of veterinary medicine. The college
thus serves to protect the health of all types of animals and to
support public health.
The veterinary medical profession offers excellent opportunities for
those who have an interest in the diagnosis, treatment, and
prevention of animal diseases. Like most medical careers, it
requires strong vocational motivation and dedication. The
compensation varies greatly, but superior professional service
usually is rewarded by an adequate income.
US Army Corps
Practice may be general or restricted. In general practice the individual
offers service for all species of animals. Currently the trend is toward
restricted practice, in which the veterinarian limits his or her activity to
small animals, cattle, horses, or poultry, etc. Some veterinarians, by
virtue of advanced training and experience, become specialists and limit
their work to fields such as ophthalmology, orthopedics, diseases of
reproduction, or other specialty areas. There is an accelerating trend
toward partnership or group practice. Most new graduates gain experience by
working with an established veterinarian for at least one year.
Large corporations employ many veterinarians. These opportunities range from
food animal and poultry production to developmental work with pharmaceutical
The United States Department of Agriculture employs more veterinarians than
any other single agency. For the most part, the work is concerned with the
prevention and control of infectious and parasitic diseases and the
assurance of safe, wholesome, accurately labeled food products of animal
The United States Public Health Service also employs veterinarians
in the development and administration of programs concerned with the control
of animal diseases transmissible to humans.
U.S. Army Corps
The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps offers career opportunities in several fields
including public health/food safety and clinical practice. Post-DVM training
is available in public health, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology,
physiology, toxicology, food technology, laboratory animal medicine, and
Each state has a state veterinarian or similar officer, usually in the
Department of Agriculture, whose duties are to safeguard the health of
animals by enforcing laws and regulations drawn for this purpose. Many state
health departments also employ one or more veterinarians to advise them on
animal diseases that have significance in human health and to investigate
outbreaks of such diseases.
Veterinarians are employed as members of health departments by most cities
and by many towns and villages. Their duties are usually connected with the
sanitary control of meat and milk production and with the investigation of
Veterinarians investigate basic and applied problems concerning
food-producing animals, companion or pet animals, laboratory animals,
captive animals, wildlife, and various aquatic species, both to determine
causes of disease and to develop methods for their prevention and control.
This research is sponsored by many organizations and supports many
individuals in academic, corporate, and private settings.
There are a wide variety of excellent career opportunities for veterinarians
in the educational field. Seventy-five percent of those in academia are
employed at veterinary schools, and most of the remainder at medical
schools. Their responsibilities include teaching, research, and service.
Other Career Opportunities
These include laboratory animal medicine, zoo animal practice, equine sports
medicine, wildlife animal medicine, marine biology, and aquatic animal
Future Job Market Trends
Surveys and projections indicate a steady demand for veterinary
medical services. It is expected that there will be a growing demand
for veterinary specialists to deal with society's concerns relating
to animal welfare issues associated with biomedical and
environmental quality, biosecurity, public health, regulatory
medicine, and agricultural animal health. Veterinary graduates
interested in agricultural animal medicine are currently in high
demand and this trend is likely to continue for some time. The next
century will reflect society's concerns about energy, quality of
food, and human health; veterinary medicine relates to us all.
AVMA Market Research Statistics
Veterinarians' salaries are based, as in most professions, on career option,
time since graduation, and geographic location. The mean starting salary of
a new DVM graduate is about $52,000 per year. Most veterinarians in the
United States earn over $60,000 per year within a few years of graduation.
Additional information about a career in Veterinary Medicine