Veterinarian Statistics – For All Animal-Related Career Enthusiasts

This article was originally written by Alexander Laybourne and was published on World Animal Foundation.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a vet. I remember watching All Creatures Great and Small on TV, and I was in love with the idea. I was an animal lover, so what could be better than helping treat sick animals?

I even did my high-school work experience at our local vets, who we had a close bond with due to the cat fostering and charity work my family was involved with. I sat in on surgeries and even got to help out a little.

Sadly, life took me in a different direction, but my admiration for vets and love of animals has not lessened. Below, you will read some truly eye-opening veterinary statistics that will possibly change the way you view animal healthcare.

Top 8 Mind-Boggling Stats

How Much Do Veterinarians Make?

Below are six mind-blowing statistics about how much veterinarians make.

In 2023, the Average Vet Salary Was $119,100 (BLS)

As reported by BLS, in 2023, the average vet salary was $119,100  per year. That works out to roughly $57.26 per hour.

However, the actual salary will vary considerably depending on experience, location, and any areas of specific specialization and training.

The Mean Annual Wage for a Vet Male Is $74,113 (Zippia)

The same report confirmed that male vets earned a median annual wage of $74,113. The report pointed out the nearly $15,000 gender pay gap. However, this is an average salary and does not specify the different levels of qualification and specialty niches.

For example, vets who own their own practices will earn more than those they employ. City vets earn more than rural vets, so any disparity would need further analysis to reveal the true differences between the pay for male and female veterinarians.

The Mean Annual Wage for a Female Vet Is $63,591 (Zippia)

According to a report on Zippia, the average wage for a female vet is $63,591 However, there is still a significant gender disparity when it comes to vets’ salaries, with women earning just 87% of what male vets take home.

In 2023, 78,220 Vets Were Employed (BLS)

According to a report published on BLS1 there are correct 78,220 veterinarian jobs in the United States.

That works out to an average of 1,576 veterinarian jobs per state.

There Is a High Demand for Veterinarian Jobs (BLS)

The same report also confirmed that there is a very high demand for veterinarian jobs. There is a 10-year outlook that forecasts a 20% growth in the number of employed veterinarians across the US.

By 2032, the survey estimated there would be over 100,000 actively practicing vets across the country.

Approximately 500 US Counties Have Insufficient Veterinary Services (USDA)

According to USDA, in 2019, over 500 different US counties were underserved by active veterinary services.

The main reason for this is that rural vets are paid less than those in the big city and are often required to put in longer hours. The vet shortfall was noted in 44 different states in 2019.

How Many Veterinarians Are in the US?

Below are six fascinating stats about how many veterinarians are in the US.

Currently, More than 46,084 Vets Are Employed in the US (Zippia)

According to an article from Zippia2, there are currently just 46,084 employed vets in the US right now.

This number is far less than the total number of veterinarian jobs, which also goes some way to explaining the shortfall, especially in rural vet practices.

40.5% Are Male Vets, While 59.5% Are Female Vets in the US (Zippia)

This means that there are more female vets than male vets, with females making up nearly 60% of the profession.

More and more women are following a study path, leading them to become fully qualified vets. The statistics also reported that 80% of students currently enrolled in veterinary schools across the US and Canada are women.

The Employed Vet Has an Average Age of 43 Years (Zippia)

According to an article on Zippia3, the average age of a practicing vet is 43 years old. Most vets are already at least 24 by the time they complete their studies.

The report further defines that the average age of female vets is slightly lower, which fits with the recent shift in the number of female vets graduating from veterinary school.

According to Ethnicity, the Vet Profession Is Most Commonly Practiced by White Non-Hispanics, Followed by Asians (Data USA)

An analytics report published on DataUSA shows the diversity split for practicing vets is heavily slanted towards white Caucasians.

In 2021, 88.6% of vets were identified as being white non-Hispanic. Following this are Asian vets at 4.7%. The analytics didn’t make a clear differentiation between white or non-white Hispanic ethnicities

15% of All Veterinarians in the US Are LGBTQ (Zippia)

A statistical report from Zippia4 provided a wide-ranging selection of veterinary practice statistics, including that 15% of vets identify as being LGBTQ.

The world of animal healthcare has come a long way in becoming more open-minded since 1977, when the first gathering of the Association for Gay Veterinarians happened.

Veterinarians Are 52% More Likely to Work at Private Companies Rather Than in Education Companies (Zippia)

The same report also revealed that 52% of vets work in the private sector, compared to just 24% who work in education.

Money is most likely a large factor behind this, with it being well-documented that any education-based professions are often underpaid and overworked. The study also revealed that 15% worked for the government and only 9% worked in the public sector.

Education Statistics of Veterinarians

Below are five statistics that discuss Veterinarian education.

The Number of Veterinary Students in the US in 2022-23 Was 15,157 (AVMA)

According to a report published by the American Veterinary Medical Association, as of 2022-23, there were 15,157 students enrolled in veterinary school. The same report also mentions that the numbers are up by over 2.7% from 2012-23.

Out-of-state students averaged $201,210 for four-year tuition and fees, whereas in-state students paid $119,634. (AVMA)

Out-of-state students incurred a total tuition and fee cost of $201,210 for four years, while in-state students paid $119,634 for the same duration. These figures do not include data for LMU, Midwestern, and Western institutions.

The Number of Vet Schools and Colleges in the US Is 33 (AVMA)

As advised on the AVMA website, there are 33 different accredited vet schools and colleges operating in the United States.

That means there are approximately 415 students attending each veterinary school. The AAVMC also consists of a number of 5 accredited schools from Canada and fifteen international schools.

Almost 22 AVMA-Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organizations Have Awarded Diplomate Status to 16,500 Vets (AVMA)

The AVMA website confirms that the association officially recognizes 22 specialty organizations that offer high-level post-graduate training in the more specialized areas of veterinary medicine.

As a result, 16,500 students have been awarded diplomate status after finding employment within these 22 organizations.

More than 46 AVMA-Recognized Specializations Are Being Offered for Further Studies (AVMA, the Balance Careers)

According to an article published on VeterinaryPracticeNews, the 22 specialty organizations offer an incredible 46 different specialty courses, allowing interested vets to specialize and find job openings in any number of important niches.

These studies include niches such as toxicology, animal welfare, and dentistry.

Vets Career Statistics

Below are six statistics looking at veterinarian jobs and careers.

The Majority of Vets Either Work in Private Clinics or Hospitals (BLS)

An article published on BLS revealed that most veterinarians work in private veterinary clinics or hospitals.

Other common locations where veterinarians work are veterinary colleges, farms, laboratories or zoos, and other animal-based attractions.

The Percentage of Companion Animal Vets Is Almost 70.4% (AVMA)

Previously, the percentage of companion Animal Vets was 77%. However, according to AVMA. 70.4% of all veterinarian jobs are working with companion animals in 2023. This means that over three-quarters of vets work to treat animals such as cats, dogs, and other traditionally kept pets.

The article also mentions that a further 16% work as food animal veterinarians.

From 2022 to 2032, Veterinarian Employment Is Expected to Increase by 20% (Much faster than average) (BLS)

An article written on TheVetRecruiter confirmed the findings from a BLS report that veterinary medicine is set to grow by 17% over the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 18 veterinarian job openings for each opportunity-seeking vet.

However, with 1,450 veterinary medicine program graduates entering the workforce each year, that number is set to decrease.

Till 2022, Only 4.1% of Vets Were Working with Horses (AVMA)

According to the AVMA report, the number of graduated vets working solely with horses accounted for only 4.1% in 2022.

Most vets find the idea of working with farm animals unappealing. This is possibly due to the longer hours, frequent need to travel for vet visits, and lower pay for working in rural areas.

The Number of Vet Clinics in the US Ranges from 28,000 to 32,000 (AVMA)

According to this post by the AVMA, as of 2018, there were estimated to be between 28,000 and 32,000 operating veterinary practices. Of these, 3,500 were thought to be company-owned.

The report detailed a rising trend of larger companies purchasing smaller practices and incorporating them under a singular company banner. This includes specialized as well as mixed animal practices.

21% of the Vets Work Part-Time, While the Remaining 79% Work Full-Time (Career Explorer, BLS)

Statistics revealed that 21% of vets worked part-time. Interestingly, the total number of veterinarians working part-time is twice as high for female vets as it is for male veterinarians.

Veterinarians and Pet Owners Statistics

Below are six interesting facts about veterinarians and pet parents.

In 2023, the Pet Industry Reached Almost $147.0 Billion (APPA)

According to a report published by the APPA, despite the ongoing restrictions by COVID-19, the pet industry in America exceeded $130 billion in 2022.

In 2023, the pet industry’s worth neared $147 billion, highlighting its massive size and significant economic impact. If anything, the pandemic seems to have increased the bond between pet parents and their companion animals.

The Average Cost of a General Pet Examination Ranges from $50 to $280 (Care Credit)

As reported in a post on Care Credit, most veterinarians charge approximately $50-$280 for general vet care checkups in 2023.

This sort of check refers to a basic physical exam. Some vets will also offer a scheme that includes vaccines in an initial new animal checkup.

The Average Vet Visits for Dogs and Cats Cost around $242 and $178, respectively (APPA)

According to statistics published by the APPA5 the average cost of a vet visit for cats and dogs in the US is $178 and $242, respectively.

This relates to routine animal checks by a veterinarian. When looking at the average cost of surgery-related visits is $458 for dogs and $201 for cats.

According to Pawlicy Advisor, dental diseases could be really expensive for pet owners.

  • Teeth cleaning: $300 to $700
  • Root canals: $1,500 to $3,000
  • Periodontal disease: $1900

Additionally, dental and mouth diseases can have far-reaching complications, impacting the kidneys, heart, and other vital bodily functions.

At Least Once a Year, Owners Should Take Their Pets for a Vet Visit (WebMD)

As per a post on WebMD-Pets, it is recommended that pet parents take their pets to the vet once a year for a checkup.

However, for more senior pets, a six-monthly visit is recommended because their bodies become less adept at warding off disease and general age-related complications as they age.

On Recommendation by the Vet, 36% of Dog Owners and 31% of Cat Owners Bought Dry Pet Food in 2019 (Pet Food Forum)

In an article published on PetFoodForumEvents, it was revealed that pet owners also turn to their veterinarians for general pet-owning advice. In fact, 36% of dog owners and 31% of cat owners bought dry pet food based on their vet’s recommendations.

Interesting Facts about Veterinarians

Below are three interesting facts about Veterinarians.

  • The word veterinarian is taken from the Latin word Veterinae, which directly translates to working animals.
  • Veterinarians are the only trained medical professionals who help to protect the overall health and well-being of both animals and animal lovers alike.
  • Much like doctors, veterinarians have to take an oath to protect the health and well-being of animals.


Below are six frequently asked questions about veterinarian statistics.

What Is the Highest-Paying State for Vets?

Hawaii is the highest-paying state for vets. According to an article published by Forbes, the average salary for a vet in Hawaii is $198,340 per year. New Jersey was second on the list by a long way back in terms of money at just $120,870 per year.

There could be numerous factors influencing the higher salary in Hawaii, including the rare nature of many animals and also the geographical location itself; being separated from the mainland, there are fewer options for animal care.

How Many Animals per Day Are Checked by the Vet?

Over half a million animals are checked by veterinarians every single day in the United States. These numbers come from a report published by the AVMA6 that confirmed there were 202.4 million vet visits per year.

This works out to roughly 554,520 visits per day!

What Is the Average Age of a Veterinarian?

The average age of a veterinarian in the US is 43. Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of vets are female. According to statistics published by Zippia, 62.9% of vets are female.

Yet, shockingly, male vets earn approximately $16,000 a year more than their female counterparts.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Vet Degree?

In total, it takes 8 years to complete a vet degree. However, that includes a four-year undergraduate course, which then allows you to complete a final four-year vet degree course.

Some schools, such as Ross Vet’s DVM degree program, allow students to complete their vet degree in just 3.25 years. However, this does not include the required undergraduate studies.

What Are the Highest-Paying Veterinary Specialties?

Ophthalmology is the highest-paying veterinary specialty. Veterinary ophthalmologists help diagnose and treat ocular conditions, particularly those in cats and smaller rodent-like animals.

The average salary for a fully qualified ophthalmologist is $199,000, while the top-rated ophthalmologists earn $345,468 per year.

How Many Vets Are Employed by the Government?

According to the FDA, there are more than 3,200 veterinarians who are currently federal government employed.

The majority of federal vets work for the United States Department of Agriculture. However, even NASA and the US Congress employ veterinarians!

Wrap Up

Veterinarians do a hard job; from important clinical work to research and laboratory studies, most veterinarians will admit that their career is rewarding but takes a lot out of them.

The above collection of veterinarian-related statistics shines a revealing light on vet care in the United States.

Like many other medical-related occupations, getting a veterinary degree takes hard work and dedication. Yet, the future looks bright for the veterinarian and pet care niche.

Do you have plans to become a veterinarian? What specialty would you consider focusing on? Let us know in the comments. We love hearing from you all.


By Alice Song
Alice Song Career Counselor