AVMA Economics on DVM360


The AVMA Economics staff publishes an article in the DVM360 magazine on a monthly basis. Read these articles and keep abreast of the latest information on veterinary economics, including statistics on the veterinary markets, employment, salaries, debt and income, and get hot tips on practice profitability.

Starting salaries are up! (Let's not get too excited)

Student debt: Good for the economy?

Law school grads or vet school grads: Who's got it worse?

Female veterinarians earn less, but…

The AVMA has been publishing the mean starting salary for new veterinarians for more than 30 years. These studies have clearly shown women make less than men whether they are new graduates, associates, or practice owners.

Veterinary debt-to-income ratios:  What would happen in a recession?

The AVMA Economics Division analyzed several scenarios that can emerge in an attempt to reduce to the debt-to-income ratio (DIR) for veterinary graduates from 2:1 to 1:4 within the next 10-15 years. Even with movement in a positive direction, the plan to reduce the DIR could be quickly derailed by events such as a recession or the addition of new veterinary colleges. 

Hey, vet school: Grads not earning? No loans for you!

The proposed Department of Education requirements on gainful employment might ruffle some feathers. How does your school stack up?

Headed in the right DIR-ection

The problem of a high debt-to-income ratio (DIR) for recent graduates is a problem for the entire veterinary profession. This article quantifies how the problem should be apportioned within the profession, and suggests some strategies to reduce the DIR.

Can we quantify the true cost of veterinary student debt?

To the borrower, student loan debt may seem abstract, but debt is more than just a number. What does it mean to have to make payments on student loans? In this article we quantify some of the effects of student loan repayment on lifestyle choices.

The year ahead: Are we headed for another recession?

Where is the general economy in the business cycle, and what are the implications for veterinarians and veterinary practices?

AVMA veterinary economist warns of education problems ahead

The current estimates for the number of domestic and foreign seats at the U.S. accredited colleges of veterinary medicine are estimated to remain constant at roughly 4,200 seats from 2018 to 2025. How would changes in the number of seats affect starting salaries, excess capacity, and the debt-to-income ratio of new graduates?

What's the right diagnosis for emotionally struggling veterinarians?

A recent study published in JAVMA indicated the presence of a mental health epidemic in the veterinary profession. This article takes another approach to quantifying the problem, and the results indicate that it is not nearly as prevalent as first thought.

Upset about veterinary debt? Don’t blame the students

It turns out that the majority of veterinary students are managing to borrow only what they need. Additionally, we have analyzed what factors affect debt and can use this information to create strategies designed to help those students at the greatest risk of taking on too much student loan debt.

The gender wage gap in veterinary medicine: Is clinical confidence a factor?

The wage gap is a real economic phenomenon in the veterinary profession.   

Salary predictions for food animal, government veterinarians

AVMA economists explain their methodology for salary predictions for food-animal-exclusive and state and local government veterinarians and talk about plans for futher analysis.

Experience counts: Why some veterinarians earn more (or less) than others

AVMA economists analyze data associated with salaries of experienced veterinarians.

How to predict veterinary compensation: Part two

Learn what affects the year-to-year variation in starting salaries for companion animal exclusive practitioners, and how to predict future starting salaries.

How to predict veterinary compensation

How can we predict compensation for new graduates of U.S. veterinary colleges? For most years and most employment types, compensation is predicted by just two factors: GDP per capita and the number of new graduates entering that employment sector. Furthermore, a new graduate can use the table contained herein to estimate what their salary should be.

Internships: A tax on new veterinarians?

The increase in the proportion of new graduates taking on nonacademic internships is alarming given that internships cost $40,000 in opportunity costs and are associated with a higher probability of becoming unemployed later in life.

Making yourself scarce: How relative scarcity affects veterinary incomes

Starting salaries for new graduates vary by gender, practice type, and region of the country. If you are a new graduate, use the controllable factors to your advantage, and set yourself up for the highest probability of success.

Truth or trash? Examining debt-to-income ratios for new veterinarians

The mean debt-to-income ratio of new veterinarians is a frequently quoted statistic, but who exactly should be included in that calculation? Find out everything you ever wanted to know about debt-to-income ratios.

Examining the job prospects for veterinarians

Analysis of AVMA’s first annual employment survey finds several variables to be statistically correlated with the probability of employment.

Data suggests veterinary market will improve in 2015

Economist predicts strong financial improvement for veterinary practices within the next 12-18 months. Take a look at local economic conditions, as well as your practice operations.

Starting Salaries: A telltale for veterinary market performance

The AVMA Economics Division develops debt and income indices for new veterinarians. The real weighted income was flat, but the number of employed new veterinarians doubled, showing signs of improvement for the market for veterinarians.

How veterinary medicine is like a t-bone steak

AVMA presents findings from a newly developed net present value model. It estimates the lifetime value of the DVM degree.

Don’t shoot the messenger: The role of prices in the veterinary market

Economists emphasize the importance of listening to the price signals. Market participants should pay attention to the signals between the markets, not just between buyers and sellers within a market. Learn how prices act as the messenger between the vertically-related veterinary markets.

If a tree falls in the forest, does a veterinarian hear it?

The veterinary market consists of three vertically-related markets: the market for veterinary education, the market for veterinarians, and the market for veterinary services. Dr. Dicks gives an analogy of how these three markets are similar to the housing market but further explains that the differences are vital.

The price of knowledge when only 1 in 5 veterinarians respond

The AVMA is working to poll from specific entities, but lack of participation is costly. A statistically accurate presentation of how members feel is necessary to improve market performance.

Analyzing veterinary data: It’s all about the ‘why’ axis

Dr. Dicks stresses the importance of using trusted data for providing accurate analysis. To solve the problems within the veterinary markets, first start by asking why the problems exist.