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The Average Salary of Marine Mammal Veterinarians

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As a veterinarian treating and diagnosing conditions in the more than 100 species of aquatic or marine mammals, your salary is comparable to what veterinarians in general earn, based from median salary data from the American Veterinary Medical Association for 2009. Your salary as a vet will, however, exceed other marine-related career options, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute's Sea Grant Program.

Vet Comparison

You'll make anywhere from $100,000 to $125,000 annually as an aquatic medicine-focused vet, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Sea Grant information from 2009. These figures are in line with median salary figures for veterinarians, regardless of specialty area. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association data, vets in private practice earned $97,000, while vets in the public or corporate arena earned $107,000 in 2009.

Related Careers Comparison

Marine biology, the scientific study of salt water organisms, is considered a related career path. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a marine biologist (which falls under the category of "biological scientist") you'll earn a median salary of $66,510. According to Sea Grant, other career paths include oceanography and ocean engineering. Under the "geoscientists" category, you can expect to earn a median salary of $81,220 as an oceanographer, according to bureau information from 2009. As a marine engineer (one type of ocean engineering) you'll earn $74,330, according to median salary date from the bureau for 2009.

National Comparison

Regardless if you become a marine mammal veterinarian, a companion animal veterinarian or a scientist like a marine biologist, your salary exceeds the median salary of all American workers, taken together, across industries and occupations. The bureau reports in 2009 the 130.6 million U.S. workers earned $32,864, based off a median hourly salary of $15.95 and a full-time, year-round figure of 2,080 hours.


You may assume that, as a marine mammal veterinarian, you are a board-certified specialist; however, the AVMA reports this area of focus is not among the 21 specialties recognized by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties as of 2011. Zoological medicine is recognized by the ABVS, and counts among its member-specialists veterinarians who work in oceanariums and aquariums. Generally speaking, specialists earn more than non-specialist vets. Only behaviorists and zoological medicine specialists earn less--at $90,000 annually--according to the website DVM 360 in a 2007 report. For 17 of 20 AVMA specialties, the average income surpassed $110,000 with some specialists--such as nutritionists--earning more than $200,000 annually, according to DVM 360.


Since 2000 reporting and writing has taken Michelle Leach to Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, D.C., Chicago, London and Sydney, Australia. Her stories have appeared in various media outlets including NBC's "The Today Show," Reuters, Chicagoland dailies and network affiliates across the United States. Leach has a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor's degree in journalism/politics from Lake Forest College.

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