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How Much Do Veterinarians Make?

Written by Viena
Viena is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Monday 9 November 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how much do veterinarians make
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Are you studying to become a veterinarian? How much do veterinarians make in a month? Don’t worry, we will discuss in great detail and answer the question, “Do veterinarians get paid well?” After all, studying hard and helping save animals’ lives should also come with great rewards.

Being the animal lover that you are, choosing a career as a veterinarian could be a brilliant move on your part. If you want to find out about how much vets make and which veterinarian specialty gets paid the highest, read this article to get the breakdown and a better understanding of the average vet salary.

How Much do Veterinarians Make Per Hour

Starting level veterinarians begin at $28 per hour, junior-level vets earn around $35 an hour. Mid-level vets make $46 per hour. Senior-level vets receive around $59 per hour, and lastly, top veterinarians make approximately $75 an hour.

So how do you determine how much a vet make an hour? The difference in salary depends on the veterinarian’s level of experience. The longer you stay in practice, the higher your hourly rate becomes. Another thing to consider when we talk about a vet’s salary depends on whether or not he has board certifications.

How Much do Veterinarians Make Per Day

Vets with private practices typically work eight hours a day and six days a week. Seeing that a mid-level veterinarian makes $46 an hour, he can make an average of $368 per day. At the same time, the top veterinarians can make up to $600 every day.

Veterinary is a stable profession that comes with a salary increase each year of their practice. It is important to note that their location, type of specialization, and whether or not the veterinarian is a partner or associate profoundly influence the vet’s salary.

How Much do Veterinarians Make Per Month

On average, a veterinarian can make $8,052 every month. With monthly salaries ranging from the lowest at $3,333 per month to $12,500 as the highest salary. Vets who are still in the beginning stages of their practice can make $6,542 a month, while top-level veterinarians make $9,042 every month. That makes a monthly difference of $2,500.

It goes to show that experience and longevity are essential when becoming a veterinarian. There are plenty of new veterinarians coming into the workforce, while fewer vets are retiring. Because of this, the new vets’ incomes are decreasing the average salary of all veterinarians.

How Much do Veterinarians Make Per Year

Which veterinarian specialty gets paid the highest? Vets who treat household pets on average make $87,000 because they treat a large amount of the community, and these types of clients need to see their vet regularly for check-ups.

Vets that take care of large farm animals and exotic animals are the second-highest paid vets with an annual income of $75,000. Equine only vets are the lowest-paid doctors with a yearly salary of $50,000, only because they treat the lowest population needed.

Some veterinarians who mix up their practice and treat small and large animals make $75,000 every year. At the same time, veterinarians with specialties and board certifications make around $121,000 to $199,000 each year.

Veterinarian Salary by Experience

Veterinarians’ income gradually increases the more experience they have. Let’s discuss how much you could earn when you choose a career in veterinary from being a paid intern to a full-fledged experienced vet.


Internships involve assisting animal care coordinators, trainers, and other staff as needed. Interns perform several animal care duties together with the team while gaining valuable hands-on animal care experience and knowledge about how to care for animals.

Interns mainly observe and monitor the health and well-being of the animals. Some interns may do housekeeping tasks like disinfecting the work area and counters, ensure the food bowls are emptied and washed, and just keeping the work area neat in general.

With all the hard work involved in being a veterinarian intern, the average annual salary of a veterinarian intern is $31,134.

Starting Salary

The starting salary for food animal vets is around $75,000 per year. Food animal vets treat farm animals like pigs and cows or exotic animals. On the other hand, small animal vets’ starting salary is about $87,000 a year. However, some veterinarians practice more than one animal category and are known as mixed animal vets.

Their starting salary is roughly $75,000 per year. There is also a special kind of vet who only treats horses and is called equine vets. They start at the lowest starting salary at just above $50,000. Equine vets are the least common veterinarians and the lowest-paid vets in the United States.


If a veterinarian has been in practice for a few years, they can begin earning closer to the national average salary for veterinarians at $82,000.

Mid-level vets whose practice focuses more on companion animals are in demand and are most likely to make above the average wage. There are also private practices that offer profit sharing and incentives for their more experienced vets.


You may call a veterinarian experienced when he or she has been in practice for 10 to 19 years. Experienced veterinarians with board certifications and also practices a particular specialty usually average an income of $150,000 per year. Meanwhile, generalist vets salary averages $90,200 a year, excluding profit sharing and commissions.

Partner vets’ annual salary, on the other hand, notably surpasses those of the associates. The average vet salary of partner vets who does not have a specialty is around $91,700 and could reach up to $143,000, which includes their regular wage, profit sharing, and commissions.

Veterinarians who are in their late-career and have been in practice for 20 years or higher have an average veterinarian income of $95,000.

salary of veterinarians
Salaries of vets will depend on their experience and expertise.

Veterinarian Salary by Practice Type

Veterinarians don’t just work in private practices; some veterinarians work in different industries, like in local and state governments where they aid service animals tasked to help in security and finding contrabands.

Other vets are also researchers who help in finding new ways to treat animals. At the same time, some choose to be professors in veterinary schools to help future veterinarians.

Private Practice

Board certification makes a huge difference when it comes to veterinarian’s salaries. Private practice veterinarians with board certification alongside a companion animal specialty get paid the highest, which averages around $157,000 per year while those without board certification have an average annual salary of $91,000 per year. That is a $66,000 difference.

There are different types of private practices. Most private clinics specialize in companion animals, and they generally earn the most with an average vet salary of $110,000.

Mixed animal private clinics make an average of $100,000. Vets who treat farm animals get an income of $100,000. Equine veterinarians are vets that treat horses, and their private practice annual salary is about $90,000.

Commercial Practice

With a yearly income of $160,000, commercial veterinarians make the most money out of all the veterinarians in various practices. Vets in commercial practice provide industry guidance as consultants to other methods and may also practice on animals. A commercial practice offers an opportunity for vets who has an interest in a specialist sector like pharmaceutical, nutrition, and pharmacology.

To transition from private practice to commercial practice, it is always a good idea to have a few years in the private practice sector under your belt. This type of experience will help sharpen your skills and will also allow you to grow your network.

Research and Education

Veterinary researchers’ income average about $110,000 per year. Vet researchers are eligible to work for the U.S. Government to help test, develop, and supervise the production of drugs, biological products, and vaccines for animal use.

Researchers are also doctors of veterinary medicine. They have earned a master’s or doctorate in a field of virology, parasitology, and the like. Their main job is to keep learning and discover new techniques and procedures throughout their careers.

Professors of veterinary earn, on average, $115,000 a year. Vet professors’ main goal is to teach their students to be “practice-ready,” which means that when they finish all four years of academic veterinary, they are already ready to take control of medical care as interns.


Vets who work for non-profit rescue groups earn about $90,000 per year. They help in rescuing abandoned animals and assess what needs to be done to care for the rescued animals. These vets work well under pressure and, at times, uncomfortable situations. Since they have a resident veterinarian in the group, these groups can give out affordable services for pet owners.

It is important to note that since rescue groups don’t have to pay income taxes, it is easier to give significant discounts for the pet’s sometimes pricey procedure.

Non-profit veterinarians are not restricted by shareholders since there are usually none. They are motivated to put all their focus and efforts in helping the animals. Their main goal is to give affordable high-quality service to animals in need. Non-profit vets also give out free consultations to make their services more accessible to every pet in need.

Government and Military

With an annual salary of $100,000, veterinarians who work for the government and the military often focus their work on treating therapy and security dogs. They also assist state and local governments in treating dogs that accompany them in their work.

Some vets assist in government-funded animal control facilities and aid animals with diseases. They are an essential part of the community when it comes to helping animals and makes the same amount of annual income as the federal and military vets with $100,000.

Veterinary Income by Specialization

Just like any other type of medicine, veterinarians also have specialties. Veterinarians who choose to study a specific specialty usually require them to attend an additional two to three years in university. They also need to pass an exhaustive exam to get their certification. Further, they also need to complete a residency under the supervision of a board-certified specialist in the same field.

There are many board certifications veterinarians may specialize in, like dermatology, emergency, and critical care. It may also include clinical pharmacology, radiology, surgery, toxicology, zoological medicine, and anesthesiology. There are also certifications for species-specific studies like equine, cattle, and poultry.

Specialties with the highest incomes were ophthalmology with $199,000 per year, lab animal medicine with $169,000, pathology with $157,000, surgery with $133,000, internal medicine with $127,000, radiology with $121,000, and theriogenology with $121,000. On the other hand, veterinarians with no board certifications earn about $91,000 per year.

A veterinarian’s salary with a board certification can get increasingly bigger if one becomes a top specialist in his respective field. Top ophthalmologists and radiologists earn around $345,400 per year. Top pathologists earn $267,000 a year while top surgeons earn $250,000 a year. Meanwhile, top veterinarians with no board certifications only earn $187,000 annually.

People can sometimes be curious about how much vets make, but most vets naturally love animals. It is their motivation to get and stay in their profession. Above the salaries, they feel that helping animals and their pet owners are more fulfilling than any amount of money they can get.

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