Survey results show overall salary increases for veterinary staff members

Staffing challenges affect compensation, benefits for veterinary team

Veterinary hospitals are paying their hospital administrators and certified veterinary practice managers more than they did two years ago, recent survey results suggest.

In December, the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) announced the findings from its 2023 compensation and benefits survey. It was distributed to 4,163 members of the VHMA and Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society with responses from 275 veterinary practices and 3,289 nonveterinarian hospital staff members.

The median salary for hospital administrators rose about 13%—from $75,000 to $85,000—compared to the 2021 survey responses. The median salary for practice managers increased about 8%, from $60,000 to $65,000.

A smiling receptionist greets a dog in a veterinary clinic's waiting room
The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association’s “2023 Report on Compensation and Benefits for Non-DVM Staff” helps veterinary practice leaders understand compensation and trends so they can ensure their practices remain competitive and they can recruit and retain quality team members.

Median salaries also increased from 2021 for other non-veterinarian staff, including office managers, receptionists, credentialed veterinary technicians (CVTs), veterinary technician specialists (VTSs), veterinary technician assistants (VTAs), kennel assistants, and bookkeepers.

“We have seen an increase in compensation in the last couple of years due to a tight supply of clinical staff. However, we have started to see that loosen up a little bit,” said Christine Shupe, executive director of the VHMA. “I don’t anticipate we will continue to see the dramatic increases we have seen in the last couple of years.”

The biannual survey examines the level of compensation and benefits provided to veterinary team members and the factors that can impact those levels. Survey results show the median level of wages for nonveterinarian staff members by years employed, state, and practice type.

The report is free for VHMA members to download. Anyone who is not a VHMA member can sign up for a nonmember account to view the survey.   

Survey details

Overall, compensation increased with more years of employment in some positions, but not for all.

For example, VTSs with one to two years of employment reported a median hourly pay rate of $29.60 compared with those with three to five years at a rate of $20 per hour. Responses for these categories were limited.

Or VTAs with six to 10 years of work experience benefited from a higher median hourly pay rate—$18.50—than those 11-15 years of job experience who were making a reported salary of $16.57 per hour.

Chart describing employee types and their respective median salaries or wages

“While this data point represents the workforce supply issues that practices have been experiencing, practices do recognize that they must be just as competitive on the retention side as the recruitment side,” Shupe said. “As a result, practices are carefully revisiting their compensation structures to make sure they are keeping their good, long-term employees.”

VTSs with six to ten years of experience saw the highest hourly wage of all groups surveyed at $30 while groomers with six to ten years of experience recorded the lowest hourly pay at $13.50.

Hospital administrators with 11 to 15 years of experience reported the highest annual median salary of $96,500, and office managers with six to 10 years of experience recorded the lowest salary of $36,568.


The most common benefit in 2023 received by nonveterinarian staff was veterinary care discounts, which 97% of surveyed practices provided, typically covering half the cost. The least common benefit received was child care expenses, which 1% of practices reported providing.

The majority of veterinary hospitals surveyed take on some of the cost of health insurance with 45% sharing the cost of health insurance 50-50 with employees, while another 47% pay 75% to 100% of the health insurance for their staff members. Eighty-eight percent of practices surveyed offered paid time off, with median paid time off days ranging between 10 – 15 days. VTAs and receptionists reported the lowest number of paid time off days at 10. Office managers, practice managers, and practice administrators received a median of 15 days off.

“Practice leaders monitor the trends regularly via resources like VHMA’s compensation and benefits report and other VHMA surveys to identify relevant benefits,” Shupe said. “Most importantly, they are talking to their employees to see what they value within their compensation package and adjusting benefits accordingly.”


VHMA accepting award nominations

Each year, the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) recognizes a practice manager who has used their knowledge, experience, and expertise to transform their practice and improve business operations.

Practice owners and colleagues are encouraged to nominate a veterinary management professional for the 2024 Practice Manager of the Year Award. Nominators should include why the nominee is qualified for the award and how they transformed their practice. Self-nominations are welcome; the deadline for submissions is March 15.

The winner will receive a complimentary VHMA 2024 Annual Meeting and Conference registration for the meeting on September 5-7 in Charlotte, North Carolina, along with $1,250 for travel, lodging, and meals.

Visit the VHMA website for more information or to complete a nomination.