Zoo veterinarian’s salary is around $96,000 in the United States. Zoo veterinarians spend their working hours with exotic animals, such as elephants, tigers, giraffes, and polar bears. These jobs are rare, but they give veterinarians the ability to handle a lot of animals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), veterinarians in general earned took home an average zoo veterinarian salary of $84,460 in May 2012. The bureau also estimated a 12% growth in the demand for veterinarians from 2012 to 2022, as fast as the demand for all occupations. Those who have years of experience on the job and have specialized in certain areas usually find better employment opportunities. Keep reading for more information about zoo veterinarian salary and career requirements.
Zoo veterinarian job description
Zoo veterinarians plan, direct, and help implement health care programs for the zoo animals. They establish and conduct quarantine and testing procedures for all animals to ensure their health, stop the disease from spreading, and follow government regulations. It is also their responsibility to conduct regular immunization and implement preventive care programs to keep the animals healthy, especially against communicable diseases. As veterinarians, they take care of traumatized or ill animals in the zoo. They work with other zoo personnel in developing and executing nutrition and reproduction programs for the animals. Zoo veterinarians create special programs to increase animal reproduction, especially for endangered species. They are constantly trained in caring for and handling animals. It is also a part of their job to perform postmortem studies and analyses. These veterinarians discuss animal care concerns with other zoo personnel, particularly when it comes to animal transfer, sale, or trade, as well as collaborate with them in maintaining nationwide animal inventory. They have to document every species, including live births. Zoo veterinarians also serve as consultant to general practice veterinarians in treating exotic animals.
How much does a zoo veterinarian make ?
Average zoo veterinarian salary
The BLS showed that the average veterinarian salary in general, including the zoo veterinarian’s salary, was around $96,140 in May 2013. Their average wage was reported to be around $46.22.
Zoo veterinarian salary in the US
The average zoo veterinarian’s salary ranges from $51,000 to $76,500. The highest salary was reported to be between $60,000 and $90,000. Newbie zoo veterinarian usually takes home around $42,000 to $63,000 per year.
Zoo veterinarians are also paid around $23 to $34 in hourly rates. However, their starting wages are usually between $19 and $28. With more experience and training, they can earn as much as $27 to $40, just like the other highest paid zoo veterinarians.
Based on the BLS’ report about the veterinarian’s salary, the industry that had the highest levels of employment in 2013 was the industry of other professional, scientific, and technical services, where they were paid $96,510. It is also the same industry that hired the most number of veterinarians, including zoo veterinarians. The industry with the highest veterinarian salary, as well as zoo veterinarian salary, was shown to be that of the scientific research and development services, where the annual pay was $134,230. The other high paying industries include employment services, where veterinarian earned $127,250 per year; wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers, $119,180; other personal services, $102,410; and management of companies and enterprises, $101,060.
According to Indeed, the average zoo veterinarian’s salary as of February 2015 is $40,000. This is higher than the $36,000 salary for a zookeeper or the $28,000 salary of an animal care specialist.
Zoo veterinarian salary by city/state in the US
The BLS reported that Hawaii paid the highest veterinarian salary, including the zoo veterinarian’s salary, of $122,150 in 2013. The other states in the top paying list included Connecticut, where veterinarian took home $121,480; New York, $115,350; Pennsylvania, $114,640; and California, $113,660 per year.
The highest paying city for veterinarian in 2013 was Honolulu, Hawaii, where they earned $167,600 per year. The other top paying cities in the US included Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA, where their salary was $165,360; San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA, $156,560; Palm Coast, FL, $153,420; and Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA, $147,430.
Zoo veterinarian salary in Canada
There are no specific data about the zoo veterinarian’s salary in Canada. Based on the annual pay of veterinarian in general practice reported by PayScale, they may be receiving more than just the median pay of C$70,243. Veterinarian earns between C$49,319 and C$100,965. Their basic salary usually ranges from C$49,807 to C$91,379. In addition to this, they might also receive a bonus and a commission that may be worth more than C$49,000 each.
PayScale also showed the typical wages for veterinarian to range between C$18.36 and C$51.98. Overtime pay may also range between C$9.74 and C$79.19 per hour.
Zoo veterinarian salary in Australia
Based on the PayScale reports about the veterinarian’s annual pay in Australia, which ranges from AU$46,413 to AU$92,709, the zoo veterinarian’s salary may be a bit higher because of its area of specialization. But without the bonus, the basic salary of these medical professionals may range between AU$45,188 and AU$89,181. Median pay was shown to be around AU$62,045.
The hourly rate of veterinarian typically ranges from AU$23.94 to AU$45.79, while overtime pay ranges from AU$24.75 to AU$97.44.
According to Australia Zoo, the relevant position of being a veterinary service manager in their zoo means getting paid a zoo veterinarian’s salary ranging from AU$63,000 to AU$93,000.
Zoo veterinarian salary in the UK
Veterinarian in the UK earns between £20,146 and £49,132, but the zoo veterinarian’s salary is likely higher than this because of their area of specialization. Vets also receive a basic salary ranging from £20,185 to £48,195.
Zoo veterinarian salary in South Africa
South Africa-based veterinarian takes home between R188,485 and R529,935 per year, according to PayScale. Their median pay was shown to be around R310,870. Without the bonus that may reach up to R79,269, their basic salary might range from R186,725 to R532,047. However, the zoo veterinarian’s salary is probably higher than these ranges because they are specialists.
How to become a zoo veterinarian
To become a zoo veterinarian, students must take courses related to veterinary programs in their undergraduate education. These courses usually include animal science, anatomy, biology, physiology, chemistry, and zoology.
Most of the students choose to complete a bachelor’s degree first, before getting into veterinary school. However, this is not really necessary for some schools, as long as the applicants have completed the minimum college credits, mostly in science.
To earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, students have to spend four years to complete the program. These usually include classroom studies, laboratory experiments, and clinical work.
The next step for aspiring veterinarians is to get a state license. All the states in the US only legally accepts licensed veterinarians, although the licensure requirements vary from state to state.
Another important requirement in becoming a veterinarian and bringing home a good zoo veterinarian salary is to complete an internship. Veterinarians should have clinical experience by taking a one-year internship. During the internship, veterinarian interns may take short rotations in the different areas of zoology, such as dentistry, surgery, or anesthesiology.
It also helps to undergo specialized training as a resident. Most zoological medicine residency programs last from three to four years. They should be approved by the American College of Zoological Medicine.
Conclusion about zoo veterinarian salary
The BLS has reported that the average zoo veterinarian’s salary is around $96,140, based on the annual pay of veterinarians in general. The top 10% earners made around $149,530 or more, while the bottom 10% took home only $53,270 or less per year.