There are approximately 61,477 active veterinarians in the United States. New graduates in private practice reported a mean annual salary of $48,004 in 2003. In 2001, mean professional income of experienced veterinarians in private practice was $83,979. Most veterinarians work in private practice. Many practitioners restrict their practices to either small companion animals or to large animals, or to a single species, for example, exclusively to cats, cattle, or horses.
Approximately 8,934 veterinarians are employed by colleges and universities, governmental agencies, military services, industry, and areas other than private practice. For more detailed information on these career areas, please refer to the recently updated resource webpage developed by the AVMA.
Veterinarians may choose to limit their scope of practice to one species or discipline such as surgery or ophthalmology. A veterinary specialist, as recognized by the AVMA, is a graduate veterinarian who has successfully completed the process of board certification in an AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organization (ie, board or college). To become board certified, a veterinarian must have extensive post-graduate training and experience and pass a credential review and examinations set by the given specialty organization. AVMA specialties are further defined from the following website: http://www.avma.org/careforanimals/animatedjourneys/aboutvets/vetspecialists.asp
The veterinary profession's greatest potential growth is in positions preferring or requiring postgraduate education in molecular biology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, immunology, diagnostic pathology, environmental medicine or other specialties. *
*Source - AVMA Network-Market Statistics
Information regarding national and state requirements for licensure is available through the American Association of State Boards website.