Government Jobs for Veterinarians

Oct 14, 2019

Career Options for Veterinarians in the Government

Veterinarians provide medical and other services to a variety of animals and may specialize in certain types of animals (such as livestock). There are different positions available within the government for veterinarians and other veterinary-related positions.

Job Title Mean Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Animal Scientist $115,160 (federal) 7% (all animal scientists)
Nonfarm Animal Caretakers $41,780 (federal)
$39,710 (state)
16% (all nonfarm animal caretakers)
Veterinarians $86,800 (federal)
$91,090 (state)
2% (federal)
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers $43,390 (local government) 19% (all veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers)
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians $53,780 (federal)
$42,370 (local)
19% (all veterinary technologists and technicians)
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $78,080 (federal)
$57,020 (state)
5% (all zoologists and wildlife biologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Veterinary Positions in the Government

Animal Scientists

Animal scientists study animals and their characteristics, including nutrition, genetics, development, and reproduction. These scientists may create improved processes for animal care and disease prevention, recommend animal product improvements, conduct research, and prepare reports of research findings. Most animal scientists need at least a master's degree or a Ph.D., and some positions may require related experience. The 2018 mean wage for animal scientists working in federal government was $115,160.

Nonfarm Animal Caretakers

Nonfarm animal caretakers usually work with pets, such as dogs and cats, in animal shelters. Caretakers may perform a variety of tasks such as recordkeeping, assisting visitors, animal vaccinations, as well as bathing and feeding animals. Nonfarm animal care takers typically need a high school diploma and learn on the job. In 2018, the national mean salary for federal nonfarm animal caretakers was $41,780, and the mean salary for those working in state government (except for school and hospitals) was $39,710.


Veterinarians provide care and medical services to various animals, including livestock and pets. Veterinarians need a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, licensure, and experience (typically gained within a doctoral-veterinary program). Veterinarians may examine, treat, and perform surgery on animals, and may specialize in certain types of animals (such as livestock or companion animals). The 2018 mean wage for veterinarians employed by the federal government was $86,800, while those working for state governments earned $91,090.

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

Veterinary assistants and laboratory caretakers typically need at least a high school diploma or an equivalent and receive on-the-job training. Veterinary assistants help veterinary technologists and veterinarians with various tasks, including caring for and treating animals. Laboratory animal caretakers are also responsible for non-medical animal care such as feeding and monitoring animals, ensuring that animals have proper exercise, and cleaning kennels. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers working in local government had an annual mean wage of $43,390 in 2018, while the mean salary for all industries was $27,570.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Veterinary technologists and technicians work under veterinarians conducting tests, preparing animals for surgeries, and record animals' case histories. Veterinary technologists typically work in research-oriented roles and usually need a bachelor's degree. Veterinary technicians perform a variety of tests and procedures and typically need at least an associate's degree. Veterinary technologists and technicians working in the federal government made a 2018 annual mean wage of 53,780, while those in local government had an annual mean wage of $42,370.

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and wildlife biologists need at least a bachelor's degree, but higher-level positions (especially those in instruction) may require a master's degree or Ph.D.. Zoologists and wildlife biologists study wildlife and ecosystems relationships. They may study animals and their behaviors as well as perform and publish research on their findings. Zoologists and wildlife biologists working in state government positions had a mean salary of $57,020 in 2018, and those working for the federal government had a mean salary of $78,080.

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