TABLE 1-1 Number (2010) and Earnings (2009) of Veterinarians Employed in the United States

Employment Category 2010 Number 2009 Median Earnings
Food-animal-exclusive practice 1,109 $103,000
Food-animal-predominant practice 3,890 $91,000
Mixed-animal practice 4,326 $85,000
Companion-animal-predominant practice 5,966 $91,000
Companion-animal-exclusive practice 41,381 $97,000
Equine practice 3,743 $85,000
Other private practice 1,087 $79,000
College or university 6,425 $103,000
Federal government 1,780 $103,000
State or local government 1,099 $106,000
Uniformed services 713 $85,000
Industry 3,218 $148,000
Other public and corporate 2,066 $103,000
Other, unknown 16,766 NA

NOTE: Total is greater than 90,201 because veterinarians may hold more than one position.
DATA SOURCES: AVMA 2010a and AVMA, 2011aa.
aMost of the data on the salaries of veterinarians in the report are drawn from the biennial AVMA Compensation Surveys, which are based on a randomized, stratified-disproportionate sample of employed U.S. veterinarians (including AVMA members and nonmembers). The response rate of the surveys is about 25%. If DVMs who are more successful are more likely to respond, the reported rate of earnings may exceed actual averages.

For some time, the veterinary profession and the colleges of veterinary medicine have been asking if the veterinary educational system should expand, and if so, in what ways, to meet these changing workplace demands. Hence, in 2007, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, the Burroughs-Welcome Foundation, the American Animal Hospital Association, and Bayer Animal Health, Inc. approached the National Research Council (NRC) to ask it to undertake a study of the broad scope of issues related to the veterinary workforce in the United States. The study committee established by the NRC (see Appendix A for bios of committee members) was charged with preparing a report that describes the adequacy of the current supply of veterinarians in different occupational categories and employment sectors, evaluates trends that would affect the kinds of jobs available to veterinarians in the future, and identifies the options for meeting the requirements of a veterinary workforce. Box 1-1 contains the formal statement of task for the study.

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