Veterinarians

(NOC 3114)

in All Health

Veterinarians prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases and disorders in animals and advise clients on the feeding, hygiene, housing, and general care of animals. They may choose small-animal, large-animal, or mixed practice, or specialize in a species or medical field. Veterinarians work in private practice or may work for animal clinics, farms, laboratories, government, or industry. Small (companion) animal practices generally accept dogs and cats as patients and sometime treat exotic species like birds, small mammals, and reptiles. Services provided often include pet selection and care, nutrition and behaviour counselling, boarding, and grooming. Large-animal practices provide medical and surgical services for livestock and horses. Large animal veterinarians offer preventative herd health management and monitor for possible disease outbreak.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 10 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to remain largely the same over the next few years. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Veterinarians most commonly work full-time hours. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 68% of Veterinarians who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $72,950. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

$26,430

Minimum

$73,259

Median

$104,357

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Veterinarians prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases and disorders in animals and advise clients on the feeding, hygiene, housing, and general care of animals. They may choose small-animal, large-animal, or mixed practice, or specialize in a species or medical field. Veterinarians work in private practice or may work for animal clinics, farms, laboratories, government, or industry. Small (companion) animal practices generally accept dogs and cats as patients and sometime treat exotic species like birds, small mammals, and reptiles. Services provided often include pet selection and care, nutrition and behaviour counselling, boarding, and grooming. Large-animal practices provide medical and surgical services for livestock and horses. Large animal veterinarians offer preventative herd health management and monitor for possible disease outbreak.

Job duties

Veterinarians:

  • Diagnose diseases or abnormal conditions in individual animals, herds and flocks through physical examinations or laboratory tests.
  • Treat sick or injured animals by prescribing medication, setting bones, dressing wounds, or performing surgery.
  • Vaccinate animals to prevent and treat diseases.
  • Perform routine, emergency, and post-mortem examinations.
  • Advise clients on feeding, housing, behaviour, breeding, hygiene, and general care of animals.
  • Provide a range of veterinary services including obstetrics, dentistry, and euthanasia.
  • May supervise animal health technologists and animal care workers.
  • May be responsible for overall operation of animal hospital, clinic, or mobile service to farms.
  • May conduct veterinary research related to areas like animal nutrition, health care products development and disease prevention and control.
  • May enforce government regulations in disease control and food production including animal or animal-based food inspection.

Sample job titles

  • equine veterinarian
  • farm veterinarian
  • veterinarian
  • veterinary dentist
  • veterinary inspector
  • veterinary laboratory diagnostician
  • veterinary parasitologist
  • veterinary physiologist
  • veterinary surgeon

Skills

You should have compassion, a fondness for animals, and an interest in science, especially biology, chemistry, and physics. Good health, stamina, and emotional stability are necessary, as veterinarians often work long and irregular hours. You must be patient, reliable, mature, and responsible. Good oral and written communication skills are also needed. Some business knowledge would be helpful in running a private practice.

Job requirements

  • Two years of pre-veterinary university studies or completion of a college program in health science and a four to five year university degree in veterinary medicine and completion of national certification examinations are required.
  • A provincial licence to practice is required.
  • Entry into research positions may require post-graduate study.

Other considerations

Although many veterinarians work regular hours, those in private practice often work long hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be physically demanding and emotionally draining. Hazards include contact with potentially dangerous animals and diseases that may be transferred to humans. The duties of veterinarians performing research may be like those of some biologists.

By the numbers

Quick look

360

employed in 2016

91.5%

employed full-time

32.4%

self employed

69.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
31%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
16.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

37.5%

Halifax

20.8%

Annapolis Valley

19.4%

North Shore

13.9%

Southern

8.3%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

93.9%

Professional, scientific and technical services

6.1%

Public administration

What is the age of Employment?

31.0%

45-54

27.0%

25-34

26.0%

35-44

13.0%

55-64

3.0%

65+

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

87.5%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$69,849 median annual income
6.9%

Master

N/A
4.2%

Doctorate

N/A

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Preveterinary Studies

College or University Program

This includes any program that prepares students for admission to a first-professional program in veterinary medicine.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Veterinary Medicine (DVM)

University Program

These programs prepare students for the independent professional practice of veterinary medicine, involving the diagnosis, treatment, and health care management of animals and animal populations and the prevention and management of zoonosis. They include courses in the veterinary basic sciences, infectious and non-infectious disease, diagnostic procedures, veterinary clinical medicine, obstetrics, radiology, anesthesiology, surgery, toxicology, animal health and preventive medicine, clinical nutrition, practice management, and professional standards and ethics.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Veterinary Sciences/Veterinary Clinical Sciences (Cert., MSc, PhD)

University Program

This includes any integrated program of study in one or more of the veterinary medical or clinical sciences or a program undifferentiated as to title.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Veterinarian

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association
15 Cobequid Road
Lower Sackville, NS B4C 2M9
(902) 865-1876
(902) 865-2001

Contacts

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
339 Booth Street
Ottawa, ON K1R 7K1
Tel: (613) 236-1162
Fax: (613) 236-9681
Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association
15 Cobequid Road
Lower Sackville, NS B4C 2M9
Tel: (902) 865-1876
Fax: (902) 865-2001
Atlantic Veterinary College
University of Prince Edward Island 550 University Avenue
Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3
Tel: (902) 566-0882
Fax: (902) 566-0958