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Author: Bridgette Bain

For the past several decades, the AVMA has performed an annual survey of fourth-year veterinary medical students as they prepare to graduate from schools and colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States; results for students who graduated in 2018 have recently been published. 1 These surveys provide valuable information on employment, starting salaries, and educational indebtedness of new veterinarians. However, information has, to this time, not been reported in the JAVMA (or in this format) for students who graduated from international colleges of veterinary medicine.

The AVMA Council on Education is recognized by the US Department

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: Bridgette Bain

Abstract

For year-2019 graduates of US veterinary medical schools and colleges who had accepted a full-time position in private, public, or corporate practice or an advanced education program (n = 2,375), mean starting annual salary was $70,045. Excluding salaries for individuals who were pursuing advanced education, mean starting annual salary for graduates who had accepted a full-time position in private, public, or corporate practice was $86,031.

For the 2,720 year-2019 graduates who reported information on debt, mean educational debt accumulated during veterinary school was $149,877 (median, $156,597). Mean educational debt for the 2,224 (81.8%) year-2019 graduates who had educational debt was $183,302, compared with a mean of $183,014 for year-2018 graduates who had educational debt. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2020;257:292–297)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: Bridgette Bain

The AVMA Council on Education is recognized by the US Department of Education as the accrediting body for colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States. Through its accreditation policies, the Council on Education ensures that colleges of veterinary medicine meet minimum standards in veterinary medical education and that students who graduate from those colleges receive an education that will prepare them for entry-level positions in the veterinary profession. On request, the council will also accredit colleges of veterinary medicine in other countries, and 20 nondomestic colleges of veterinary medicine are currently accredited by the Council on Education.

In 2019,

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: Bridgette Bain
Introduction

In cooperation with the 30 US colleges and schools of veterinary medicine, the AVMA conducted its annual survey of fourth-year veterinary medical students in spring 2020. Surveys were sent to 3,243 veterinary students who were expected to graduate in the United States in spring 2020, and responses were received from 2,874 (88.6%; Appendix). Results reported here include an analysis according to gender; information on demographic characteristics and employment benefits is also provided. Of the students who responded to the survey, 493 (17.2%) were male and 2,381 (82.8%) were female. Base sizes in the present report vary because

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Just about every week, a new article appears in a local paper, national journal, or magazine that speaks to educational debt accumulated by today's college graduates. Many of these stories highlight individuals, to provide a personal touch, but almost all emphasize how one graduate after another borrowed more than he or she realized, with one eye closed to the terms of the loan and the other eye opened just enough to receive the checks. According to authors from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 1 even though the number of active student loan borrowers decreased from about 12

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

  • Mean full-time starting salary among all types of employers combined (private, public, or corporate practice and advanced education programs) was $65,896 in 2018. Excluding salaries for graduates pursuing advanced education, the mean full-time starting salary was $82,425.

  • Mean educational debt accumulated during veterinary school for all respondents (n = 2,758) in 2018 was $152,358 (median, $159,000). Mean educational debt among the 82.7% of respondents who had debt (n = 2,280) was $183,014 in 2018, an increase of 9.8%, compared with the 2017 value.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Analysis of the AVMA's electronic membership database provided information on 113,394 veterinarians living in the United States in 2018. At 39%, Millennials represented the highest percentage of the US veterinary workforce, and women (61.7%) outnumbered men (38.2%). Mean age at the time of graduation has increased since 1975, raising concerns that career length for veterinarians may be decreasing, potentially exacerbating veterinarian shortages. Overall, 83.9% of veterinarians were in private clinical practice, and substantial increases between 2008 and 2018 were seen in the numbers of veterinarians in emergency and critical care medicine and in referral or specialty practice.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize and compare fourth-year students of US veterinary schools graduating with and without related educational debt (ie, DVM debt) from 2001 through 2020.

SAMPLE

45,756 fourth-year veterinary students who participated in the annual AVMA Senior Survey from 2001 through 2020.

PROCEDURES

Survey data were summarized for variables hypothesized to be associated with DVM debt. Multivariable modeling was used to investigate associations between these variables and the likelihood of graduating with DVM debt.

RESULTS

Mean DVM debt increased fairly steadily from $56,824 in 2001 (n = 1,587) to $157,146 in 2020 (2,859). Of 45,756 students, 6,129 (13.4%) had no DVM debt. Attending Tuskegee University and having children (both men and women) were associated with an increased likelihood of DVM debt. Attending certain other veterinary schools and more recent survey year were associated with a decreased likelihood. For 2020, the likelihood of DVM debt decreased with increasing percentage of tuition paid by family and increased with increasing percentage of tuition paid by educational loans, being a woman with children, and increasing total cost of attendance. No association was found with state cost of living index or per capita income.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested a growing rift between US veterinary students who cannot afford tuition and fees without accumulating financially concerning levels of debt and those who have the financial ability or family situation to fully fund veterinary school. Efforts should be undertaken to recruit across socioeconomic statuses and provide meaningful scholarships to students with greatest financial needs to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in veterinary medicine.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Economics is a social science that, among other things, attempts to describe human behavior. An important concept in this regard is utility, which economists define as the total satisfaction received from consuming a good or service. Utility can perhaps be most easily understood as a measure of happiness and consists of a combination of tangible and intangible benefits.

A basic assumption underlying many economic analyses is that people attempt to maximize utility. Consider, for example, an individual who is trying to decide whether to pursue a veterinary degree. The primary tangible benefit of this additional schooling is the increased income

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether career choice and starting salary of new DVM graduates in the US were associated with their educational debt accrued during veterinary school.

SAMPLE

Up to 48,527 fourth-year students at US veterinary schools who responded to the AVMA Senior Survey in 2001 through 2021 and accepted a full-time position or advanced education opportunity.

PROCEDURES

To determine whether career choice was associated with educational debt, multiple linear regression was performed, controlling for graduation year, gender, age, marital status, having children, tuition level, and school location. The correlation between educational debt and starting salary was also determined.

RESULTS

On average, mean educational debt increased by $6,110 each successive year. A mean of 60.5% of respondents accepted positions in private practice (public practice, 3.3%; advanced education, 36.2%). Respondents choosing public practice had a mean of $24,913 less debt than those choosing advanced education, controlling for other factors. Respondents choosing public practice also had less debt than those choosing private practice, but debt did not differ significantly between private practice and advanced education. The correlation between educational debt and starting salary was significant but low (r = 0.177).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Findings suggested that the amount of debt incurred during veterinary school was associated with new veterinarians’ career paths. Notably, graduates with higher debt levels appeared to seek higher paying jobs or clinical training that might lead to higher paying jobs, leaving public practice—a field in which critical needs have been identified—underrepresented despite the availability of loan forgiveness programs and other incentives.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association