How Much Do Vets Make in Different U. S. States in 2023

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Are you earning enough as a qualified veterinarian? How much do vets make across your state? Could you be earning more in other cities or states?

If you’re a qualified vet wondering how much money does a veterinarian make across the U.S., based on your location, level of experience, and type of practice, we take a closer look in this article, using the most up-to-date extensive research possible.

According to The American Veterinary Medical Association, as of the end of 2022, there are 124,069 veterinarians in the U.S. AVMA membership isn’t mandatory for vets. However, given the range of benefits membership provides, 101,965 vets are members of the AVMA.

As the AVMA voluntarily asks members for salary information, the most recent data from them indicates that vets can earn anything from $60,000 and $165,000 (2021 statistics). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also reported a 2021 median salary of $100,370. We also analyzed veterinarian salary by state to identify the top-earning and lowest-earning states.

How much vets get paid depends on a number of factors: experience, location, and the type of practice, as well as whether you are on staff, working as a partner, or self-employed. All of these variables influence vet incomes, with our data showing that vet salaries by state vary widely.

Let’s start by measuring the impact of experience on the amount a vet can earn and how it affects the average salary of veterinarians.

How much do vets make depending on experience 

Once you’ve qualified as a vet, you can choose to go the internship route. Most of these are paid, although at a much lower salary than entry-level graduate veterinary jobs. 

  1. Internships are great ways to gain experience and potentially pursue sub-specialties which is a pathway towards being able to earn more throughout your career. The internship may last a year or even more and according to AVMA 2022 statistics pays a mean starting salary of around $49,000. 
  1. Entry-level roles for graduates pay a mean salary of $114,027 for private practice, and $87,862 for public practice according to 2022 AVMA statistics. This varies according to your specialty and where you live. 
  1. Once you’ve gained some experience and practiced veterinary medicine for several years, salaries start to increase. As our research shows, across every state, the average salaries reported for February 2023 were between $68,000 (South Dakota, and $117,000 (Maine, How much a veterinarian earns can include profit-sharing for more experienced vets, alongside other revenue or bonus-based incentives.
  1. Partners of veterinary practices and those who’ve achieved board certification can earn even more, usually in the $110,000 to $150,000 range. Vets’ compensation will fall on the higher end of the scale if you have 10  or more years of experience or when you are a part-owner,  partner, or in a practice with multiple sites. 

How much do vets make depending on the type of practice 

Earnings also vary depending on the type of practice. Veterinarians can practice medicine in a number of settings: 

  • Commercial and consulting 
  • Private practice (with a variety of options for that route) 
  • Research and education 
  • Government
  • Military
  • Non-profit 

Naturally, the amount a veterinarian earns also depends on their level of experience, and location, as our research shows. 

Commercial (i. e. for-profit practices specializing in one of the veterinary types) vets can make the most, generally in the $160,000 range, with enough years of experience under their belt. Consultants can make slightly less, in the $150,000 range. 

The private practice covers a wide range of specialties — companion animal, mixed animal, food animal (e.g., farm animals), and equine — with average salaries in the $100,000 to $120,000 range — with enough experience. Food and equine vets usually earn less, in the $90,000 to $100,000 range, depending on experience and the state where they practice.

Vets who go the academic route can earn up to $120,000, and those working for the government, or branches of the military or police can earn in the region of $100,000 to $120,000. 

Non-profit veterinary practices or non-profits that employ vets to treat animals usually pay around $90,000. 

However, as with the above figures, this is based on AVMA 2019 data, and salaries are likely higher now, as our own research shows. 


Galaxy Vets salary study: how we did the research 

As there is a lot of research out there on veterinary salaries, we wanted to conduct our own. Comparing open-source data on and, we were able to pull together a table of the veterinarian average salary listed on those sites, creating the database you can review. 

One thing we noticed straight away is something of a gap between the salaries listed on both sites. In almost every case, the salaries on Indeed were higher than those listed on Glassdoor. Both are hugely popular platforms with millions of users across the U.S., covering thousands of professions, careers, and sectors. 

However, one of the reasons for ZipRecruiter providing lower averages, and more data, is they show salaries from cities and states, whereas Indeed only averages this data out across an entire state. Salaries for vets in cities are often higher than in rural areas, so states with fewer cities and not as many vets in those cities (compared to rural areas) are going to show a lower overall average figure.

So, how much do vets make across the country? Let’s dive into the list of the top five states with the highest salaries for vets. 

Top 5 states with the highest veterinary salaries 

Based on the research (see the full comparison table below), the top 5 states with the highest average veterinary salaries across the country are:

#1: Hawaii (HI): $132,996

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that supply and demand could be one of the reasons why salaries are so high in Hawaii, with roughly .5 veterinarians per 1,000 people and around 270 veterinarians employed.

#2: Nevada (NV): $125,969

In Nevada, there are roughly .3 veterinarians per 1,000 people, with under 600 veterinarians employed total.

#3: Massachusetts (MA): $125,751

According to the BLS, Massachusetts employs about .56 veterinarians per 1,000 people and around 1,900 vets total.

#4: Maryland (MD): $120,027

Maryland employs a few more veterinarians (about .68 per 1,000 people) for about 1,700 currently in the workforce.

#5: Alaska (AK): $117,672

Alaska’s low population contributes to their need for veterinarians, employing at a slightly higher rate (.74 per 1,000 people) for only around 220 vets total.

All five states are above the national average according to the same research, which is currently $117,600 (averaged from Indeed and ZipRecruiter). We got these figures from an average of the two sets of data taken from Indeed and ZipRecruiter.

5 states with the lowest veterinary salaries

Based on the table below, we found the states with the lowest salaries are:

#1: North Carolina: $100,505

#2: Georgia: $99,455

#3: Kansas: $99,433

#4: Wyoming: $97,537

#5: Kansas(Lowest in the country): $97,422

So, there we go; the state with the lowest salaries for vets is Kansas. Whereas, in Hawaii, vets have the highest average salary. Now let’s take a look at the raw data for veterinarian salaries by state, a comparison of the salaries shown on Indeed and ZipRecruiter for every state, followed by what vets can expect to earn across various U.S. cities.

Let’s take a closer look at the average veterinarian salary across the U.S.

State-by-state veterinary salaries comparison table

StateAverage Salary
(Indeed data)
Average Salary
(ZipRecruiter data)
Real Tax Rate
(for this state)
U.S. nationwide$125,812$108,443
New Hampshire$119,953$101,88128.4%
New Jersey$125,837$95,57232.1%
New Mexico$138,432$85,98432.4%
New York$124,731$110,45933.8%
North Carolina$116,630$84,38032.9%
North Dakota$98,404$115,04429.9%
Rhode Island$118,616$118,59133.1%
South Carolina$120,103$84,38034.5%
South Dakota$96,280$109,69628.4%
District of Columbia$133,414No data34.8%
West Virginia$110,008$92,42033.4%
How much money do veterinarians make in different U. S. states: a comparison table

Veterinary salaries across major U.S. cities 

In some of America’s largest and most populous (and therefore, most expensive) cities, salaries can be higher than the statewide averages.

In Alexandria, Virginia, for example, the Indeed average median salary for a vet is $135,000, somewhat higher than the average for that state ($127,167).

The same goes for San Francisco (a city almost as expensive to live in as NYC), with the average median salary for a vet in the $126,674 range. In L.A., a vet’s average salary is $131,314.00.

In Washington DC, the average is $113,993.50. Whereas, in Kansas City, the average is surprisingly high, at $132,453, compared to the rest of Missouri, where the average vet can earn $99,605, according to the same data sources and research.

A quote from Dr. Tara McCarthy, Head of Community Engagement at Galaxy Vets

dr tara mccarthy

Veterinarians are in high demand and salaries are a hot topic. With so many models of compensation, it is necessary for each person to define what is important to them.

With a priority to reduce burnout and promote better work-life balance, Galaxy Vets will compensate team members without the pressure of production-based salary. Top-of-the-market wage combined with equity and perks to all employees who work 24 hours a week or more will allow each individual veterinarian to design the financial and time freedom that works best for them.

We do not want our employees to work themselves into the ground and burnout. We want them to thrive, make choices that work best for them and create financial freedom for the future with our equity sharing program.

Key takeaways 

According to our research, Hawaii has the highest average vet salary in the U.S. at $132,996 per year. Kansas, on the other hand, has the lowest average veterinarian salary in the U.S., with vets earning an average of $97,422 per year

The location of a veterinarian’s practice can greatly impact their average salary. Additionally, the type of practice and years of experience can also influence a veterinarian’s earnings. As a veterinarian gains more experience, their average salary typically increases, and if you are a partner in a veterinary practice or a private consultant, salaries and bonuses or profit-sharing can boost your take-home earnings. 

As a veterinarian, you have the flexibility to work in various settings and locations, which can impact your earning potential. Your skills are in demand, whether that means working in private practice, treating farm animals in rural areas, or working for the government.

If you aren’t happy with what you are earning from your years of hard work and study, then consider working at Galaxy Vets. We offer the proven highest salaries within the market. In addition, you’ll receive an equity share for your effort after working here for a certain time.

Want to learn more about the veterinary industry? Check our Learning Center.

Thinking about selling your veterinary practice?

Let’s grow together! Sign up as a practice owner and calculate your profit from the
sale below. Embrace the opportunity to partner with Galaxy Vets, founded and
funded by vets, and get the highest payouts on the market.
Sign up
Over the last 7 days, we chatted with:
practice owners
employee candidates
in Southern California
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