TABLE 2-6 Estimated Number of 2016 Companion-Animal Full-Time Equivalents from New Graduates

Career Path Total new graduates Full time FTEs Half time FTEs Total FTEs CA FTEs Private Practice
CA-exclusive 8,162 6,579 792 7,371 7,371
CA-predominant 1,974 1,688 143 1,831 1,648
Mixed-animal 2,258 2,091 84 2,175 1,066
FA-predominant 656 612 22 634 38
Advanced 3,314 2,671 321 2,993 2,993
Training CA
Total 16,364 13,641 1,362 15,004 13,116

NOTE: CA=companion-animal, FA=food-animal, FTE= full-time equivalent.

at current levels of efficiency (the number of pet visits per veterinarian). To avoid such a mismatch, the demand for services could be met by 1) more efficient use of paraprofessional staff, such as veterinary technicians, so that client needs can be met with fewer DVM FTEs; 2) additional graduates of currently non-accredited schools entering the companion-animal workforce, and 3) more DVMs switching from other veterinary sectors to companion-animal medicine. A fourth way to fill the gap would be for companion-animal veterinarians to work more hours per week; however, current workplace trends do not support that likelihood.

Companion-animal practices are striving to become more efficient; that is, to see more patients in the same amount of time, with more responsibility for patient care and client communication being delegated to veterinary paraprofessionals. The private practices that responded to the committee’s inquiry confirmed this. Practices in which the gross revenue generated per DVM was above the mean saw more patients per week per DVM than those below (87 vs. 56). The time for each office visit was 21 minutes for the practices that reported gross revenue per DVM above the mean, versus 26 minutes for those grossing below the mean. Practices with gross revenue per DVM above the mean employed an average of 3.06 veterinary technicians and assistants per DVM versus 1.94 for lower grossing practices. Several studies have demonstrated the relationship between paraprofessionals and the revenue level of private practices: when the number of veterinary technicians and assistants approaches 3 per DVM, gross and net revenue per DVM rise and more veterinary service can be provided (Brown and Silverman, 1999b; J. Payne, Banfield, the Pet Hospital, personal communication, June 2008; Stanley Creighton, National Veterinary Association, personal communication, June, 2008). The committee’s analysis of private practice responses shows that there is a point of diminishing returns. Once the number of veterinary technicians and assistants per DVM exceeds 3, there is little additional gain in gross revenue per DVM (Figure 2-4).

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