The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has announced that the average annual salary for veterinarians was $100,560 in 2016—the first time that the average for this profession has crossed the six figure mark. That translates to approximately $48.34 per hour.
While this is certainly good news for veterinarians, they do still face many financial challenges. One of the biggest problems is the unfavorable debt to income ratio (2:1) that makes it very difficult for recent graduates to pay off their student loans. New veterinary graduates carry a staggering average educational debt of more than $140,000. The 2017 AVMA Report on Veterinary Markets revealed that average tuition for U.S. vet schools tripled from 1999 ($10,549) to 2016 ($28,845), a concerning trend that is showing no sign of slowing.
The BLS identified the five best paying states for veterinarians: Hawaii ($201,250), New Jersey ($128,190), New York ($123,100), Nevada ($121,910), and Massachusetts ($120,140). Some of these areas have a high cost of living, however, that can take a significant bite out of the salary.