“If I can’t act, I would go to college and maybe be a veterinarian.”

Megan Charpentier, Actress

Pros and Cons of Working as a Veterinarian

advantages and disadvantages of being a veterinarian

You think about becoming a veterinarian? Great! However, while there are many upsides to this career path, working as a veterinarian also implies some problems.

Thus, make sure to check out all the pros and cons of being a veterinarian in the following chapters.

Being a Veterinarian – Key Facts

Short Job DescriptionVeterinarians treat many different animals. Their job is to cure diseases or injuries so that pets become healthy and their owners happy.
Salary$95,000 per year on average, most veterinarians make between $75,000 – $165,000 per year.
Job SecurityDecent job security.
Job SatisfactionGood if you love animals.
Work-Life BalanceGood work-life balance.
Physically / Mentally Demanding?Mentally demanding job.
Future OutlookGood since people will continue to have pets and high educational barriers to entry exist.
RequirementsCollege degree and further training required.

Advantages of Being a Veterinarian

  1. Veterinarians can earn pretty good money
  2. You can work with pets
  3. Veterinarians can make people happy
  4. You can work indoors
  5. Working as a veterinarian is not that stressful
  6. Lower level of responsibility compared to working as a doctor
  7. Veterinarians often have standard workweeks
  8. You don’t have to work on weekends and holidays
  9. Good work-life balance of veterinarians
  10. You can open your own veterinary practice
  11. You may be able to retire pretty early
  12. Veterinarians don’t have to spend all day long in front of a computer screen
  13. You can help your own pets
  14. Veterinarians can consult their family and friends
  15. Decent future job prospects

Veterinarians can earn pretty good money

One advantage of being a veterinarian is that you can just earn good money from what you are doing. The average salary of veterinarians in the US is around $95,000 per year and tends to grow year after year. Some veterinarians are even able to make much more than that, especially in case they have a pretty good reputation and the demand for their services is high.

Your salary as a veterinarian will also greatly depend on the area you live in. Chances are that you will earn much more in big metropolitan areas with many rich people compared to rural areas where many people will just not be able to pay high prices for veterinary services. However, in most regions, you will still be able to make a pretty decent living as a veterinarian.

You can work with pets

As a veterinarian, you will also work with pets all day long. While some people just don’t like pets for some reason, many others just love them.

Hence, if you are a person who really loves spending time with pets and helping them to overcome diseases, working as a veterinarian can be great for you since you can combine your passion for animals with your job and your job will not feel that much like work but rather like a hobby.

Veterinarians can make people happy

By treating animals and curing them of serious diseases and other issues, you will not only make those animals happy. You can also make their owners happy as well. Always remember that animals are more than just things for people. They are often pretty important family members and for people who don’t have kids, they are often as important as kids for other families.

Consequently, by curing those animals, you can make many people happy and some of them will even be thankful for what you did for their animals forever.

You can work indoors

Another upside to being a veterinarian is that you can work indoors and are protected against the cold in winter and against extreme heat in summer. You also don’t have to work in the rain outside as a veterinarian.

While you may take this for granted, many other people don’t have this luxury. For instance, if you work as a garbage collector, you have to gather garbage all day long.

It doesn’t matter whether the weather is good or bad. You will just have to do your job and will not be able to sit in a cozy environment with heating or air conditioning.

As a veterinarian, you will have plenty of comfort in this regard since you can just use our modern technology to make your life inside as pleasant as possible for you and for your customers.

Working as a veterinarian is not that stressful

Another benefit of being a veterinarian is that working as a vet is just not that stressful. Sure, you will have busy times and have to take care of many things at the same time.

However, if you are good at what you are doing and also have enough staff to take care of minor things, you will often have a pretty easy time.

In fact, if you are able to organize yourself well, you will be able to work in a rather relaxed atmosphere.

Lower level of responsibility compared to working as a doctor

You will also not have the enormous pressure that other doctors have. For instance, if you are working as a cardiologist, only small mistakes can take away the lives of people. Hence, cardiologists often suffer from high levels of pressure since they fear to make those mistakes and this can lead to serious mental issues in the long run.

As a veterinarian, you still have a certain responsibility since it will be in your hands whether a pet will be cured or not. However, you will not be responsible for the lives of people and working as a veterinarian is not that mentally exhausting due to that.

Veterinarians often have standard workweeks

As a veterinarian, you will also often enjoy a standard workweek. Most of the time, you will just go to work between 8 and 9 and come back from home between 5 or 6.

Of course, this also depends on whether you work for yourself or if you work as an employee. If you work as an employee, it also greatly depends on your boss.

However, many veterinarians don’t have to work that many extra hours and will be home in time so that they can spend plenty of leisure with their family and friends.

You don’t have to work on weekends and holidays

Another advantage of working as a vet is that you also don’t have to work on weekends or holidays. While there might be some emergency services, you will likely not be responsible for that most of the time and can enjoy your free weekends to make weekend trips with your family.

You can also enjoy Christmas Eve and other important national holidays together with your loved ones instead of having to work like many other people have to.

Good work-life balance of veterinarians

In general, vets also have a pretty good work-life balance. Since you will have weekends and holidays off and will also not work that many extra hours, you will have plenty of time to follow your hobbies.

You can also hang out with your friends for happy hours or you can spend plenty of precious time with your family and can see your kids grow up.

Hence, being a veterinarian can be great if you want to make decent money but still don’t want to work insane hours like in investment banking or consulting.

You can open your own veterinary practice

If you are good at what you are doing, you can also start your own veterinary practice. Sure, you will have to work as an employee for the first years to get some knowledge. However, after a few years once you get more experienced, you don’t have to work as an employee any longer. You can just work for yourself and build your own business.

Therefore, becoming a veterinarian can also be great for you in case you plan to start your own practice in the future. Yet, still keep in mind that having your own business implies much more than just the actual work as a veterinarian. You also have to do plenty of paperwork, take care of your taxes and you will also be responsible for all sorts of legal issues.

Consequently, make sure that you are a truly entrepreneurial type of person before opening your own veterinary practice. For most people, it will be much more comfortable to work as an employee instead.

You may be able to retire pretty early

Since you can make pretty good money as a veterinarian, you may even be able to retire relatively early. If you save and invest your money wisely, chances are that you can become wealthy or even rich in your 40s or 50s. Of course, you will have to live a rather humble lifestyle for that.

However, while many people have to work until they are 60 or even 70, you can enjoy your leisure much sooner. Therefore, a career as a veterinarian can also give you plenty of financial opportunities so that you don’t have to work forever.

Veterinarians don’t have to spend all day long in front of a computer screen

You can also avoid working in a classical office job as a veterinarian. Sure, you will also have to use your computer from time to time and this is completely fine. Yet, you can still avoid staring at a computer screen all day long like in many other office jobs.

In fact, in our current state of the world, many employees just sit in front of a computer all day long and don’t get any other tasks to do.

Moreover, working those jobs can be pretty frustrating since you often don’t see the true results of your work since most of it will be just too abstract and will also take plenty of time to have a true impact.

In contrast, you will be able to see results pretty soon as a veterinarian and you will also see meaning in what you are doing since you can make pets and their owners pretty happy.

You can help your own pets

As a vet, you will not only be able to cure the pets of other people. You will also be able to cure your own pets at home. While many normal people just have to go to the veterinarian and spend plenty of money for proper treatment, treatment costs for your own pets will be almost zero since you can just treat them yourself.

You also don’t have to rely on other people to cure your pets but you can rely on your own skills to give your pet the best possible treatment.

Veterinarians can consult their family and friends

Due to your extensive knowledge as a veterinarian, you will also be able to give advice to your family and friends in case their pets become sick. By doing so, they can also save plenty of money for a veterinarian, especially if there are only minor issues that don’t have to be treated at all.

Your loved ones can also save plenty of time for waiting for an appointment at a veterinary practice since they can just come to you and you can always give them a spot and make room in your schedule.

Decent future job prospects

Since humans will always have pets and educational requirements are pretty high to practice in this field, you will also have pretty decent job security and job prospects as a veterinarian in the future. Of course, this also depends on the region you live in and on the overall level of competition in your area.

However, especially if you are good at what you are doing, you should have a rather easy time to succeed as a veterinarian in the long run.

Disadvantages of Being a Veterinarian

  1. Not everyone loves pets
  2. Other doctors make even more money
  3. Not suitable if you are allergic to pets
  4. You need many years of education
  5. Student loan debt can be a problem
  6. Veterinarians work in a rather narrow field
  7. You will not be able to help all animals
  8. Being a veterinarian can be emotionally demanding
  9. Some animals are just difficult
  10. You may get sued
  11. Veterinarians have to adapt to technological progress
  12. You have to do plenty of paperwork

Not everyone loves pets

As we have seen before, there are numerous benefits of becoming a veterinarian. However, there is not only sunshine. For instance, one problem with being a veterinarian is that you really have to love pets to be happy with this job in the long run.

While many people really love our small friends, some just don’t like them at all. Hence, if you really don’t like pets, you should definitely go for an alternative career path instead.

Other doctors make even more money

While vets can make pretty decent money, you can still earn much more in other medical professions. For example, doctors like radiologists, cardiologists or neurologists often earn $200,000 per year or even much more. This means that they earn a multiple of your salary as a veterinarian while you will have to spend almost the same time and money on your education.

Of course, money is not everything. Yet, if money is really important to you and you want to become rich as soon as possible, a career in a different medical field may be more suitable for you compared to working as a veterinarian.

Not suitable if you are allergic to pets

Some people are also just allergic to pets and many of them actually still don’t know about it yet. Imagine you become a veterinarian but realize later on that you are just not able to work in this field due to your allergies.

This would be a real nightmare since you would have wasted many years of your life and also huge amounts of money for your education.

Thus, make sure that you get tested as soon as possible so that you can be sure not to suffer from those kinds of allergies that may ruin your career as a vet.

You need many years of education

Another downside of becoming a veterinarian is that you will also have to spend plenty of time on your education. In fact, it can take many years to go to college and you may even need additional qualifications to be finally able to work as a veterinarian, depending on the state you live in.

Consequently, make sure that you have the ambition and motivation to go this exhausting educational path before deciding for a career as a vet.

Student loan debt can be a problem

Since you will have to spend many years in college to become a veterinarian, you will likely also have to take on huge amounts of student debt. In fact, tuition and other costs related to college can be pretty expensive and many people just don’t have the money for it, especially if they come from average households where parents are often not able to financially support them in a sufficient manner.

While student loans can make your time in college easier since you don’t have to worry about money that much, you also have to pay them back later on in your life and this can be a real issue since some vets have to spend many years for paying back their loans.

Veterinarians work in a rather narrow field

As a vet, you will also work in a quite narrow field. Sure, you can treat many different animals. Yet, you will never be able to treat humans. While it might be relatively easy for doctors to switch fields and to go for an alternative medical career path sooner or later, you as a veterinarian will be stuck in the pet niche forever, at least if you don’t want to get many years of additional education. Consequently, you should really make sure that working as a vet is indeed your dream job before you go for it.

You will not be able to help all animals

Many young people who just start out are also rather naïve regarding what the life of a veterinarian really looks like. Sure, you will be able to help many animals during your career. However, this doesn’t mean that you will be able to cure every pet. Sooner or later, you will have cases where you will just not be able to help at all.

Moreover, you will also take away the lives of some animals due to your own mistakes and you should make sure that you are able to deal with these issues in an emotionally stable manner.

Being a veterinarian can be emotionally demanding

In general, there is a certain level of emotional pressure implied by working as a veterinarian. Quite often, people who come to your practice will have great hope that you can help their pets.

However, sometimes you will just not be able to do so and will have to deliver that unpleasant news to pet owners who will often be quite desperate due to that.

Some animals are just difficult

You should also be aware of the fact that animals who suffer from pain or diseases are just not always easy. In fact, some animals will just try to escape and just don’t want to get any treatment at all.

This also means that you will often be scratched or even bitten by pets since they simply don’t know that you actually want to do good for them.

You may get sued

Some pet owners are also quite emotional and may sue you in case you make mistakes. You should keep this in mind and get proper insurance, especially if you want to have your own veterinary practice since you will be responsible for everything that is going on there and lawsuits can be pretty expensive.

Veterinarians have to adapt to technological progress

While there are many nice and helpful inventions due to rapid technological progress, it is just not all sunshine. In fact, rapid technological progress also implies that you will always have to adapt to new technologies to stay competitive in your field. This is also true for veterinarians.

If they don’t keep their knowledge up-to-date and don’t get the best devices, chances are that they will lose their competitiveness sooner or later.

Thus, make sure that you are also willing to educate yourself in this regard and that you are willing to put in the effort to compete in an ever-changing world.

You have to do plenty of paperwork

Especially if you have your own veterinary practice, you will also have plenty of paperwork to do. Many vets just underestimate how much work it is to comply with all legal and tax requirements and often sit long hours to do all the paperwork.

Top 10 Being a Veterinarian Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Veterinarian ProsBeing a Veterinarian Cons
Being a veterinarian can be a passionBeing a vet can be mentally demanding
You can cure many animalsSome doctors earn much more
You can make pet owners happyAnimals can be difficult
Veterinarians make pretty good moneyPet owners can be annoying
Good work-life balanceSome pet owners may even sue you
You have free weekends and holidaysPlenty of paperwork
Less stressful than being a doctorYou have to get extensive education
You can start your own vet practiceStudent loan debt is an issue
Some veterinarians can retire earlyRather narrow field of work
Veterinarians can work indoorsYou may be allergic to pets

Should You Become a Veterinarian?

Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of working as a veterinarian, it is on you to make your final decision regarding your future career path.

If you are not fully convinced about a career as a veterinarian, make sure to check out many different job profiles on my site.

Maybe you’ll find a different job that might be more suitable for you instead.

Also make sure to check out the following articles:

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a psychologist

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a dentist

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterinarian

https://www.statista.com/forecasts/409763/veterinary-services-revenue-in-the-us

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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