Veterinary salary estimator gets an update

Published on May 19, 2021
Managing personal finances for veterinary professionals

New model and latest data strengthen a trusted tool 

The AVMA’s veterinary salary estimator, which helps veterinary students and early-career veterinarians explore different employment scenarios and prepare for salary negotiations, has undergone a data update to make it even more helpful to the profession.

A new economic model provides more granular detail, and the tool also has been updated with the latest data available.

Long a trusted resource to guide salary conversations, budgeting, and financial planning, the Veterinary Salary Estimator uses historical data to provide approximate salary ranges for graduating students and early-career veterinarians. It's the perfect tool for veterinarians in the first six years after graduation. (Salaries for veterinarians who have been in the workforce longer are too variable to be estimated this way.)

What’s new in the estimator

Here are some of the improvements incorporated into the updated estimator:

  • Salaries are now estimated by state instead of a broader region made up of four or five states. The more specific filter will give you a more accurate starting salary range.
  • Data used in the calculations now includes 2020 salary information. The timelier data will also produce a more accurate estimate.
  • The overall data model also has been improved, to yield more accuracy.

Current veterinary students also can expect to see additional benefits:

  • We’ve added more explanatory variables, which can give you a more accurate estimate of starting salaries in your selected scenario.
  • You can now see a range of starting salary offers received by people in your selected scenario, so you can better estimate your potential salary options.

Understanding your results

The information in the veterinary salary estimator is based on historical averages, so it’s an indicator of what has been, rather than what should be. It doesn’t reflect real-time conditions in the job market, nor account for individual differences in skills and experience.

An important part of any salary negotiation is to pinpoint your unique proficiencies and talents and include them in discussions with your current or potential employer. A salary estimator based on recent data—as this one is—can be one important tool in your job search and negotiations.

Ready to explore the updated salary estimator? If you’re a veterinarian who graduated within the last six years, get started on

Current veterinary students should use the student salary estimator.


veterinary salary indicator

I don’t know where you are getting these high salary averages from. I am a practice owner and I barely make what you are estimating a new grad gets. totally unrealistic.

RE: veterinary salary indicator

Hi Dr. Duffus. Thanks for reaching out. We appreciate your feedback. To answer your question, the estimator is based on data collected from the AVMA Senior Survey which reports starting salaries as provided by new graduates. This comprises responses from over 4,000 survey participants whose graduation dates range from 2012 through 2020. The statistically significant factors in the estimator are years of experience (up to six years), geographic location of the practice, practice type, additional qualifications (i.e. board-certified or practice owner) and number of hours worked per week.


Why on earth are you limiting access to vets out of school over 6 years?
As a practice owner, this information is vital to me. As a member, for over 30 years, this seems very unfair!

AVMA Editor
May 24, 2021

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)


RE: Salaries

Hello Dr. Hassinger. Thanks for reaching out. The veterinary salary calculator can be accessed by anyone and access is not limited to any specific career segment. If you are referring to why we do not estimate salaries beyond 6 years, it’s because the models predict very poorly beyond that threshold and a salary estimator is not very helpful in those scenarios. We hope that helps answer your question.


Do these salary estimates include benefits such as health insurance, CE allowance and other items?


It's a sign of the times, I guess, that new grads are just interested in salaries rather than more info on starting their own practice or becoming a member of an existing practice, sharing the ups and downs of practice income rather than the upfront security of a salary which places all the financial risk of the union with the practice owner. I think they will miss something I had.

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