New economic report examines the market for veterinarians

Published on October 09, 2017

2017 AVMA Report on The Market for VeterinariansThe newly-released 2017 AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinarians observes an increasingly healthy market for veterinary employment, noting more job postings on the AVMA Career Center, among other indicators.

The report warns, however, that the profession still faces considerable maldistribution problems – both between states and regions, and within states and metropolitan centers.

The new report is available for download free of charge to all AVMA members and also can be purchased as part of the four-report Veterinary Economic Report Subscription series in the AVMA's online store.

In addition to presenting a picture of the profession based on a range of demographics, the report declares the national market for veterinarians to be robust for two years running, citing growth in the U.S. economy as the primary contributor to this improvement.

The report offers a variety of study data and analysis, including these findings:

  • For the first year since 2008, the number of job opportunities appearing on the AVMA Veterinary Career Center was greater than the number of applicants. The report identifies some 10,420 jobs – 86 percent of which required a DVM – seeking 3,422 applicants with DVMs in 2016.
  • Approximately 107,995 veterinarians were actively engaged in the profession at the close of 2016, while about 17,000 veterinary students were in the pipeline to enter the field. The largest segment of the profession worked in private and corporate practices to deliver medical services to animals. Of these practices, the largest number of veterinarians was employed in companion animal practices, followed by food animal, equine and mixed animal practices. In public practice, colleges and universities employed the most veterinarians, followed by industry, and state and local government.
  • Following a trend beginning in 2014, more veterinarians in 2016 expressed a desire to work fewer hours for less compensation than the number of veterinarians wanting to work more hours for more compensation. In 2016 veterinarians wished to reduce their work weeks by a net total 135,640 weekly hours – a level of negative underemployment that would require an additional 3,391 full-time veterinarians. By comparison, 1,895 new veterinarians would have been needed to eliminate the negative underemployment found a year earlier, in 2015, and 1,713 would have been needed in 2014.

In addition to analyzing factors describing the internal function of the market for veterinarians, the report includes discussion of a veterinary market key performance indicator, the Net Present Value of the DVM degree, or the difference between the return and total investment over the lifetime of veterinary work.

We encourage all AVMA members to download and read their free copy of this report, as well as the 2017 AVMA Report on Veterinary Markets, and the 2017 AVMA & AAVMC Report on the Market for Veterinary Education, both released earlier this year. The remaining report in the series – examining the market for veterinary services – will be released later in the year.


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