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.
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.
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.
45,756 fourth-year veterinary students who participated in the annual AVMA Senior Survey from 2001 through 2020.
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.
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.
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.
To determine the contributions of veterinarians and support staff to revenue and veterinarian productivity (ie, number of patients seen/full-time–equivalent veterinarian/wk) in private mixed and companion animal practices in the US and identify staff-to-veterinarian labor ratios (SVLRs) that maximized these 2 practice outputs.
409 owners of mixed and companion animal practices who participated in the 2020 AVMA Practice Owner Survey.
Data regarding owner demographics, practice characteristics, labor (defined as mean total hours worked/wk), and gross revenue in 2019 were obtained from participating practices. Multivariable ordinary least-squares regression was used to identify factors associated with revenue and productivity as well as the SVLRs at which revenue and productivity were maximized.
For each 10% increase in total veterinarian hours worked per week, revenue increased by a mean of approximately 9%. A 1-unit increase in total number of technician hours used to support 1 hour of veterinarian work was associated with a 20.5% increase in revenue but with no change in productivity. The same increase in total number of nonmedical staff hours was associated with a 17.0% increase in revenue and 14.4% increase in productivity. In terms of revenue, the optimal SVLRs for veterinary technicians and nonmedical staff were 9:1 and 8:1, respectively. In terms of productivity, the optimal SVLR for nonmedical staff was 10:1.
Findings confirmed the important role of nonveterinarian staff in revenue and veterinarian productivity in mixed animal and companion animal practices and may be useful for making evidence-based staffing decisions.