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Veterinarian Employment and Job Outlook
Veterinary Medicine


Veterinarians Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

In private practice, demand for veterinarians will increase as more people are expected to take their pets for visits. Also, veterinary medicine has advanced considerably, and many of the veterinary services offered today are comparable to health care for humans, including cancer treatments and kidney transplants.

There also will be employment growth in fields related to food and animal safety, disease control, and public health. As the population grows, more veterinarians will be needed to inspect the food supply and to ensure animal and human health.

However, due to overall slowing growth of the veterinary services industry, employment gains of veterinarians will be slower than in the past.

Job Prospects

Candidates can expect very strong competition for most veterinarian positions. Job seekers with specializations and prior work experience should have the best job opportunities.

Although veterinary services are growing, the number of new graduates from veterinary schools has increased to roughly 3,000 per year, resulting in greater competition for jobs than in recent years. Additionally, most veterinary graduates are attracted to companion animal care, so there will be fewer job opportunities in that field, as overall growth of the veterinary services industry slows.

Job opportunities in farm animal care will be better, because fewer veterinarians compete to work on large animals. Also, there will be some job opportunities available in the federal government in food safety, animal health, and public health.

Given the training they receive from veterinary school, veterinarians are highly qualified for nontraditional industry positions in fields such as public health, disease control, corporate sales, and population studies. With potentially fewer opportunities in companion animal care, many graduating veterinarians will likely have better job prospects in these areas.

Employment projections data for veterinarians, 2012-22

Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22
Percent Numeric
Veterinarians 29-1131 70,300 78,700 12 8,400
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
Last Modification: 01-26-2014