Highest Paid Veterinarian Careers With Salaries

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published February 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A career in veterinary medicine offers many rewards, and certain veterinary careers come with very high-paying salaries. While some jobs in this industry pay an average of $10.50 an hour, others boast six-figure salaries. If you are looking for a career helping animals, it's worth noting which paths are the most lucrative. In this article, we outline the highest paying jobs in the veterinary industry and give salaries and job descriptions for each of them.

What are some common veterinary careers?

Veterinarians, veterinary nurses, technicians, practice managers and veterinary receptionists are all common jobs in animal hospitals and clinics. Some of these roles provide direct care to animals, while others offer environmental and organizational support. Each has its own set of specialties, duties and educational requirements. All of these jobs are important to animal welfare, but the salary and benefits for each vary a great deal. If you care about animals and are thinking about a career in animal health, it helps to know which career paths offer the best compensation and benefits.

Related: 15 Highest Paying Jobs for Animal Lovers

Benefits of choosing a veterinarian career

The benefits of choosing a veterinary career are both tangible and intangible. The career is emotionally fulfilling, as your care and treatment plans often improve an animal's health and quality of life. Veterinarian clinicians and those in other subspecialties often work in groups or clinics where they can connect with people with a similar passion for science and helping animals.

Alongside emotional fulfillment and personal connection, careers in veterinary medicine are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment in this field is estimated to grow 16% through 2029. Additionally, having a degree as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and experience as a clinician can lead to other careers including public health, medical research, training and teaching.

Related: Q&A: What Degree Do You Need To Become a Veterinarian?

Top 10 highest paid veterinarian careers

Here is a list of 10 careers in the veterinary field with the highest salaries. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link by each job title below:

1. Zoo veterinarian

National average salary: $59,986 per year

Primary duties: Zoo veterinarians provide care for exotic animals and wildlife living in zoos and sanctuaries. These veterinary physicians examine animals, administer medication, rehabilitate animals and perform surgeries.

Read more: All About a Zoo Veterinarian Career (With Salary)

2. Veterinary practice manager

National average salary: $63,832 per year

Primary duties: Veterinary practice managers provide a veterinary office or facility with business management services. They oversee operations and organize various elements of the facility, including payroll, scheduling and office maintenance. These professionals do not work directly with servicing animals. Instead, they support the environment for that to happen.

3. Veterinary hospital manager

National average salary: $64,738 per year

Primary duties: A veterinary hospital manager makes sure that the business elements of an animal hospital run smoothly. This person does not provide animal care, but the work they do supports the systems and people who provide care for animals. A veterinary hospital manager hires and trains staff, balances budgets and expenditures, manages software and programs and completes inventory orders.

4. Public health veterinarian

National average salary: $67,343 per year for similar positions

Primary duties: Public health veterinarians consult with veterinarian physicians at both state and local levels. Their primary job function is to keep the human and animal populations safe from exposure to interspecies infectious diseases.

5. Regulatory medicine veterinarian

National average salary: $83,781 per year

Primary duties: Regulatory medicine veterinarians do not work with living animals. They conduct regulatory testing and inspections of animal meat intended for human consumption. The tests check for livestock diseases and disease causing pathogens. These professionals also complete and deliver safety reports.

6. Small animal veterinarian

National average salary: $100,708 per year

Primary duties: Small animal veterinarians provide care for small animals and house pets. These veterinary physicians work in clinics, veterinary offices and veterinary hospitals—they examine pets and administer medication, create rehabilitation plans and perform surgeries.

Read more: How To Become a Veterinarian

7. Military veterinarian

National average salary: $103,090 per year

Primary duties: Military veterinarians provide healthcare for military dogs and animals in conflicts zones. They offer aid and veterinary care in underdeveloped areas, and conduct animal research on behalf of the United States military.

8. Veterinary research scientist

National average salary: $111,691 per year

Primary duties: Veterinary research scientists design and conduct studies involving animals. They offer animal subjects basic care while performing their research. These scientists hypothesize outcomes, collect data, analyze results and publish their findings.

9. Professor of veterinary medicine

National average salary: $166,350 per year according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Primary duties: Professors of veterinary medicine work in universities and colleges delivering academic information to students of veterinary sciences. They teach, give lectures and supervise students in clinical training settings. These veterinary physicians offer crucial advice and mentorship to those studying to work in the animal healthcare industry.

10. Board certified veterinary surgery specialist

National average salary: $266,908 per year

Primary duties: Board certified veterinary surgeons are specialists who perform surgeries that require specialization beyond a licensed veterinarian. Beyond surgery, they diagnose illnesses, create treatment plans and develop rehabilitation programs.

Other high-paying veterinary careers

Below is a list of seven additional careers that pay well within the veterinary industry:

  • Lab animal veterinarian: A lab animal veterinarian's career focus is on offering care to animals being used as a part of scientific research. They often breed animals and conduct exams on species like rats, rabbits, dogs and primates.

  • Veterinary ophthalmologist: Veterinary ophthalmologists specialize in the ocular health of animals. They perform cataract surgery, remove tumors and place prosthetics.

  • Veterinary consultant: Veterinary consultants are specialists in a specific field of animal healthcare. These professionals assess the operations of clinics and animal hospitals. They assess efficiency, revenue, time management and procedures, and they offer feedback on improving operations.

  • Veterinary radiologist: Veterinary radiologists specialize in the diagnostic imaging of animals. These professionals conduct imaging tests and review the results to inform medical diagnoses. They can perform diagnostic imaging, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasounds and computed tomography (CT) scans.

  • Mixed animal veterinarian: Mixed animal veterinarians provide medical care for both large and small animals. This means they work with farm animals and house pets. These veterinary physicians examine animals of all sizes and administer medication, create rehabilitation plans and perform surgeries.

  • Food animal veterinarian: Food animal veterinarians provide care to livestock animals, like cows, chickens, pigs, sheep and goats. These veterinary physicians diagnose, treat and prevent illnesses in animals living on family farms and in factory settings. They may also provide companies or farm owners with suggestions for disease prevention and management.

  • Equine veterinarian: Equine veterinarians give health care to pet horses and horses involved in competitions. These veterinary physicians examine horses, administer medication, create rehabilitation plans and perform surgeries.

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