In this lesson, we'll go over some basic but important points regarding salary and benefits in veterinary medicine and we'll define and delineate salary, payroll, gross pay, and net pay.
Applying for a Job
Any job listing you find online is going to list a few similar things. First, it'll list the duties and responsibilities of the job. Then, it'll have a section about the requirements necessary for the job. Finally, it may have a section that discusses potential salary options and benefits offered by the company.
Actually, this lesson will focus on precisely that: salaries, benefits, and the like in veterinary medicine.
Salary, Payroll, and More
A salary is the amount of money an employee will earn each year. This salary may be based on a set wage or an hourly wage. To the clinic paying the salary, salary is part of payroll, the salary paid to every employee by way of writing a check on a regular basis.
What you actually get paid and what you actually take home is not the same. When you negotiate for a salary, be aware of the terms 'gross pay' and 'net pay'. They aren't the same thing. Gross pay is the total amount you earn before taxes, while net pay is the total amount you earn after taxes.
Similarly, you may want to negotiate to receive a certain amount or kind of benefits. Possible benefits in veterinary medicine are often times what you'd find in an office job but there are some more unique to the medical field. For example, benefits in veterinary medicine not found in a typical office job may include professional liability insurance or coverage for mandatory continuing education studies to maintain a medical license.
In general, benefits can include paid time off, health insurance, and sick days. Things specific to veterinary medicine can include reimbursement for professional continuing education to further your medical skillset.
The Basics of Salaries & Benefits in Vet Med
Now for the fun part. You're probably wondering how much you can get paid in veterinary medicine. Well, the honest answer is it depends. And that is true for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and all other workers employed by a veterinary hospital. Sure, it depends on education, experience level, and position level, just like anywhere else. But there are a few other things to keep in mind.
First, it depends on which field of veterinary medicine you work. Generally, if you work in a small (or companion) animal practice, you're likely to earn more than if you were to work in a large animal practice mainly focused on treating cattle. So, in terms of wages in veterinary medicine, small is actually greater than large when it comes to making a living, if you catch my drift.
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Another very important factor in wage determination is where you live. Those of you who will be working in very large cities will likely be able to command higher wages than those living in the middle of nowhere. Of course, living expenses will be higher in larger cities as well. Higher wages in bigger cities make sense since more clientele and wealthier clientele can visit a clinic compared to a very rural area where few people live and few people have as much money.
But just as important as salary can be the benefits you will receive. It's not uncommon for veterinary practices to offer very few benefits or poor benefits compared to many other industries. There are many reasons for this, including supply and demand economics that are not in favor of veterinary medicine or poor business management by a hospital owner who is skilled in medicine, but not so much in business.
Thus, you must keep in mind that if your salary is lower in one place compared to another but you get some excellent health insurance coverage where you'd earn less, your total compensation package may actually be higher than at the higher wage job.
And my last word of advice for you is always to get everything in writing, never take someone's word for it. If someone promises you never to work more than a set number of hours or days, or to get some sort of benefit, make sure that is documented in writing; and always consult with a lawyer about your contract prior to hire.
A salary is the amount of money an employee will earn each year. This isn't the same thing as payroll. Payroll is the salary paid to every employee by way of writing a check on a regular basis. Likewise, keep in mind that gross pay is the total amount you earn before taxes while net pay is the total amount you earn after taxes.
It's hard to nail down how much you'll earn in veterinary medicine. This depends on your education, skillset, years of experience, location, and field of practice. In general, however, if you live in larger cities and work with small (or companion) animals, you'll likely command a higher wage than if you lived in a rural area and worked with larger animals, like cattle.
When you are finished, you should be able to:
Explain what a salary is and the difference between gross and net pay
List some of the benefits available in the field of veterinary medicine
Recite some of the factors that can affect how much you earn practicing veterinary medicine
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