Salary Levels

Increasing salary levels are an indicator of a tight supply of qualified applicants. Results of the 2005 and 2008 surveys of the members of the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP) and ACLAM show that salaries of its diplomates have risen from $133,803 in 2005 to $153,038 in 2008, an increase of approximately 14% in the 3-year period. The surveys also showed that the average salary of ACLAM diplomates employed by industry increased at about the same rate, but from a higher level; that is, from $171,704 in 2005 to $199,437 in 2008 (Huneke et al., 2009). In contrast, the average salary of ACLAM diplomates employed in academe in 2008 was $153,509.

In 2007, an ACVP survey of its members found that the average and median income of diplomates with 6-10 years experience beyond certification was $157,000 and $166,000. Similar to that of their ACLAM peers, some of the highest salaries were paid by industry employers.

Supply of Diplomates for Industry

The ACLAM and the ACVP provided the committee with information on the employment of their diplomates (Tables 5-7 and 5-8, respectively). The tables demonstrate the competition between academe and industry for ACLAM and ACVP diplomates. The number of ACLAM diplomates hired by industry over the past three decades increased from 45 in 1981 to 178 in 2007 (personal communication, Melvin Balk, ACLAM, 2008). These two colleges are major pipelines for industry candidates.

Supply of New Diplomates

Since 2007, ACLAM has seen increased growth in its membership and the number of new diplomates certified (Table 5-9). In addition, the pass rate of candidates taking the ACLAM examination has improved, from 31% between the years 2004-2007 to more than 50% between 2008-2010 (ACLAM, 2010). This outcome is in part the result of a concerted effort by the College to respond to demands for veterinarians in biomedical science. However, since ACLAM began certifying diplomates, the average number of years from veterinary college graduation to board certification is 9.3 years. In fact, the average time between graduation to certification has increased from 7.71 years in 1985, to 9.97 years in 1995, and 11.12 years in 2005 (ACLAM, 2007). There are many possible explanations for the increase in the passage of time to certification: candidates leaving private practice and beginning a residency training program (which average 3 years), candidates seeking advanced degrees (average for PhD is 4 years), more candidates having to repeat the examination before passing, and some candidates taking time off after graduation before returning to a training program. More investigation is warranted to elucidate the precise cause of this current trend.

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