Veterinarians provide healthcare to household pets, zoo animals and farm animals. In addition, veterinarians conduct clinical research involving humans or animals to find a cure for diseases and protect human beings from pathogens. Some veterinarians conduct research that allows them to expand their knowledge of medical and animal science. Inasmuch as it is not always convenient to have animals come to the veterinarian’s office, veterinarians travel to different locations, and salaries for their services vary.
Becoming a veterinarian typically requires prospective candidates to complete a four-year college education. After undergraduate studies, veterinarians are required to earn a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and complete the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. In some states, prospective veterinarians also have to complete and pass a jurisprudence examination, which indicates that they understand state laws and regulations. High school students interested in this profession should take a lot of science classes.
Veterinarians who work with farm animals are more likely to travel, but veterinarians who work with household pets make house calls as well, and the average salary is $82,040, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2011 publication. Veterinarians in the 10th percentile of wage earners grossed $49,910 a year. Those in the 25th percentile of wage earners grossed $64,390. Veterinarians in the 75th percentile earned $107,190 and veterinarians in the 90th percentile earned $145,230.
Best Paying Locations
Veterinarians in the state of Connecticut earned the highest salaries in the nation. They earned $126,550, the BLS reports. New Jersey, where veterinarians earned $125,790, was closely behind New York. Veterinarians in the District of Columbia earned the third highest salary, which was $120,000. Pennsylvania and Delaware followed the preceding areas with salaries of $113,810 and $112,070, respectively.
Best Paying Industries
Support activities for animal production lead all industries with respect to the best salaries. Veterinarians in this industry earned $123,960, the Bureau reported. Scientific research and development is the second highest-paying industry; veterinarians in this industry earned $115,420. Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing is the third highest-paying industry and veterinarians earned $111,290.
Best Opportunity for Employment
Veterinarians will find the best employment opportunities, per 1,000 jobs, in the state of California, where the employment rate is close to the national average. Texas, where the second-highest employment opportunities exist, has employment rates close to the national average as well. The states that follow are Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, all of which have employment opportunities at or close to the national average.