Advanced education increasing in popularity but not as much salarywise

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The national mean salary for veterinary residents was $30,916 in 2014, and the national mean salary for veterinary interns was $26,191, according to survey results from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges released in January.

The AAVMC annually collects data from its 28 accredited members in the U.S. through its Comparative Data Report. Veterinary colleges reported a total of 1,056 veterinary residents and 332 veterinary interns at 27 of the institutions in 2014, and that 23.1 percent of the class of 2014 had accepted residency or internship positions within academic institutions.

In addition, 26 institutions voluntarily reported salary information for veterinary residents and interns in the 2014 survey. Resident salaries ranged from $23,976 to $40,972; the national median for resident salaries was $30,487. Intern salaries ranged from $22,751 to $34,200; the national median for intern salaries was $25,992.

Infographic: Advanced education salaries at U.S. veterinary colleges in 2014
Source: AAVMC

Overall, the AAVMC found that the mean salary for residents and interns increased by only 1.9 percent and 2 percent, respectively, since 2012. And, in fact, the salary floor for residents declined by nearly 14 percent, while the lowest salary for interns increased by 4 percent during the same period.

It should be noted that most internships take place at private practices, while residencies largely take place at veterinary colleges, according to data from the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians’ Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program—a computer program that is the primary vehicle for placing veterinarians in internships and residencies in the United States. In 2015, 82 percent of residency positions offered by the VIRMP (347) were located at AAVMC member institutions, while the same could be said for only 27 percent of the internship positions offered (286).

The AAVC does not collect salary data, and therefore, information on compensation by private practices for residents and interns is not available.

Infographic: Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program statistics
Source: AAVC

Still, when looking at the mean salaries for interns and residents reported by AAVMC member institutions, it’s interesting to note they were less than half of what U.S. veterinary graduates not pursuing advanced education reported as their starting salary in 2013, the last year for which data are available from the AVMA Annual Senior Survey.

AVMA senior survey results revealed that when excluding internships, residencies, doctorate programs, and other advanced education programs, the mean full-time starting salary for graduates was $70,008 for males and $65,968 for females (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;243:1122-1126).

Comparatively, in 2013, the national mean salary for those pursuing advanced education was just under $29,797, according to the AAVMC.

At the same time, the most recent data from the VIRMP indicate that the number of applicants to internships and residencies continues to rise. In 2013, the VIRMP drew 1,998 applicants. That number increased by about 10 percent to 2,222 applicants in 2015.

For more information on the AAVMC survey results, visit