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Veterinary surgeon: Salary and conditions

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  • The average starting salary is around £21,800 to £33,500 a year, depending on experience.
  • Further training and experience can increase salary to £36,500 per annum. Senior vets can earn around £44,000 to £53,000+.
  • Salary levels can vary according to further training, specialisation, whether you are working as a practice partner and the size and location of the practice.
  • Salary packages may include a car and/or accommodation.
  • Many veterinary practices offer a 24/7/365 service. This means that a vet's working hours may be irregular, as it is important to be available for emergencies.
  • Many vets work in private practices, and experience as a vet can lead to buying into, or setting up, a practice.
  • Locum work is often possible.
  • Working conditions vary. Vets work in surgeries, farms, zoos, customers' homes and other environments. They may be required to work outdoors in poor weather conditions.
  • The job can be physically demanding, carry a high level of responsibility and be stressful.
  • There is a physical risk of scratching and biting from animals and also a risk of catching a trans-species disease.
  • Travel around a range of locations may be frequent, but travel overseas is uncommon.
  • There has been a significant increase in the number of women entering the profession, and there are now more female practising veterinary surgeons than male (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, 2013).

Salary data from the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS). Figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by AGCAS editors
December 2013

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