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Veterinary Workers and Workplaces

Veterinarians looking at animal x-ray.

Veterinary Workers and Workplaces

Veterinary medicine and animal care workers include:

  • Veterinarians, veterinary technologists and technicians, veterinary assistants, and laboratory animal caretakers.
  • Zoo and aquarium workers, including animal caretakers and grounds keepers.
  • Animal shelter and animal control workers.
  • Stable and kennel workers.
  • Groomers.
  • Animal trainers.

Other information about these workers:

  • Many veterinary medical workers are female, including 62% of veterinarians, 95% of veterinary technicians, and 84% of veterinary assistants and laboratory animal workers (BLS 2017, NAVTA 2016).
  • Small businesses often employ veterinarians, with up to 80% of veterinarians working in solo or group practices (AVMA 2017).
  • Veterinary services ranks 2nd in incidence rates for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses (BLS 2016).

These workers are employed in many industries:

  • Veterinary services.
  • Zoos and aquariums.
  • Nature parks.
  • Pet care (except veterinary) services.
  • Pet and pet supply stores.

Veterinary work settings vary:

  • Veterinary offices, clinics, and hospitals.
  • Animal shelters, rescue leagues, and humane societies.
  • Kennels, stables, and racetracks.
  • Grooming shops and pet stores.
  • Farms and ranches.
  • Animal facilities such as poultry houses, swine barns, feed lots, and sale barns.
  • Zoos, aquariums, and other captive and free-ranging wildlife settings.
  • Academic, private, and public clinical and research laboratories.
  • Slaughterhouses and meat-packing plants.
  • Disaster and emergency response shelters and facilities.

Work can involve many animal species:

  • Pets such as domestic dogs, cats, pocket pets, exotic animals, or fish.
  • Farm, ranch, or production agriculture animals such as cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, ratites, horses, or farmed fish.
  • Laboratory animals from mice to nonhuman primates.
  • Captive and free-ranging wildlife such as amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, or aquatic species.

Work tasks are diverse and variable:

  • Facility management and maintenance.
  • Routine care and treatment of animals.
  • Emergency medical care of animals.
  • Medical, surgical, and necropsy procedures.
  • Laboratory testing or research.
  • Livestock and food inspection.
  • Disaster and emergency rescue and response.


America Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) [2017]. Market Research Statistics: U.S. Veterinarians 2017. Available at: Date accessed: April 30, 2018.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) [2016]. Table SNR01. Highest incidence rates of total nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases, 2016. Available at: Date accessed: April 30, 2018.

BLS [2017]. Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. Household Data Annual Averages. Table 11. Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Available at: Date accessed: April 30, 2018.

National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). 2016 NAVTA Demographic Survey Results. Available at: Date accessed: April 30, 2018.