US State Veterinary Pay Report 2024

According to a recent global veterinary salary report, veterinarians in the U.S. are the highest paid in their profession anywhere in the world with an average annual salary for a mid-level vet (2- 10 years’ experience) of $125,000.

Nevertheless, the cost of veterinary education for American students is escalating, with the average veterinary student in the US accumulating around $157,146 in debt, almost $120,000 more than the average US student debt of $37,088.

Due to the high cost of studying to become a veterinarian and the increased cost of living, many vets are trying to maximise their earnings by moving to a state with a higher rate of pay. Our research found a huge difference in pay between different states with the average veterinary salary in California ($156,280) being almost double that of the lowest state of Nebraska ($84,275).

Below, we have collated the top 10 highest paying states for veterinarians to work in using 2024 The Vet Service’s veterinary job data and US salary statistics from the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics:

Which US States Have the Highest Salary for Veterinarians?

State Average Veterinary Salary (Permanent Veterinarian 2 – 10 Years experience) Difference with Median State Salary for other Professions
1. California $156,280 111% higher (vs $73,750)
2. Hawaii $154, 089 143% higher (vs $63,330)
3. Texas $153,475 167% higher (vs $57,287)
4. New Jersey $152,555 117% higher (vs $70,256)
5. Maryland $152,025 118% higher (vs $69,471)
6. Rhode Island $151,050 133% higher (vs $64,805)
7. Washington DC $150,350 106% higher (vs $72,955)
8. Connecticut $146,987 111% higher (vs $69,532)
9. Oregon $144,778 131% higher (vs $62,573)
10. Massachusetts $144,045 88% higher (vs $76,550)
  • Cost of Living Key

States with the highest veterinary salaries (e.g., California, Hawaii) often have a high cost of living and therefore require higher salaries to live comfortably.

For example, a veterinary salary in Texas of $153, 475 would likely go a lot further than in New Jersey due to the comparative costs of housing, taxes and general expenses in each state. 

  • Large Urban Centres

States with the highest average wages often include major urban centres where there is a great demand for companion animal veterinary services due to higher pet ownership in these areas.

There may also be more of a requirement for specialised veterinary services (like emergency veterinary hospitals, speciality surgeries, and research facilities) that typically command higher salaries. 

  • Access to Veterinary Education

States with veterinary schools or robust continuing education programs for veterinarians such as California and Texas might retain more practitioners, creating a competitive environment that drives salaries.

Which US States Have the Lowest Salary for Veterinarians?

State Average Veterinary Salary (Permanent Veterinarian 2 – 10 Years experience) Difference with Median State Salary for other Professions
1. Nebraska $84,275 53% higher (vs $55,078)
2. Montana $86,455 65% higher (vs $52,220)
3. New Mexico $86,667 59% higher (vs $54,400)
4. Oklahoma $88,225 73% higher (vs $50, 940)
5. Arkansas $91,065 86% higher (vs $48,750)
6. Wyoming $92,088 69% higher (vs $54,440)
7. Montana $92,756 77% higher (vs $52,200)
8. Nevada $96,633 74% higher (vs $55,490)
9. North Dakota $97,888 75% higher (vs $55,800)
10. South Dakota $101,508 103% higher (vs $49,890)
  • Rural Economies

These lower income states for veterinarians typically have a higher concentration of rural areas. In these regions, veterinarians may deal more with large animals and livestock rather than companion animals, which can affect income potential.

  • Population Density and Service Demand

Lower population density in these states often translates to less frequent veterinary visits and a smaller client base per practice. This can lead to lower overall revenue for veterinary practices, impacting the salaries offered.

  • Economic Constraints

States with lower veterinary salaries tend to correlate with lower salaries across all sectors. This can limit how much pet owners are willing and able to spend on pet care, thereby impacting the revenues of veterinary practices and the salaries of vet professionals.

What Other Factors Influence US Veterinarians Pay?

Veterinary pay is also influenced by a variety of non-geographical factors that play a critical role in individual earning potential within the field. Here’s a breakdown of these key factors:

  • Experience

Years of Practice: Veterinarians with more years of experience typically earn higher salaries due to their developed skills and established client bases.

The figures below from the global vet salary report showcased the large difference between a newly graduated and experienced veterinarian salary in the US:

New Graduate US Veterinarian Salary (1 – 2 years experience) Permanent US Veterinarian Vet Salary (2 – 10 years experience) Experienced US Veterinarian Salary (10+ years experience)
USD $100,000 – $120,000 USD $120,000 – $160,000 USD $160,000 – $250,000

US Veterinary Pay Varies Greatly by State, Cost of Living Remains Key

The US state vet salary report showcases a huge disparity in pay between different states, although the actual benefits of working in the states may be offset by a higher cost of living in more affluent areas.

When considering moving to another state for a higher rate of pay make sure you check about your expenses for living in that area including housing, transport costs and general bills.

Whilst veterinary salaries in the US are the highest in the world, this can generally be justified both by the rigorous study needed to become a veterinarian, which is accompanied by some of the highest levels of student debt of any degree surpassing $150,000.

While geographical location plays a significant role in salary disparities, factors such as experience, education, type of practice, and speciality certifications also crucially shape the earning potential of veterinarians.


If you are looking to improve your veterinary salary, we have positions across the US including in some of the highest-paying states such as California, Texas and New Jersey.

Looking for a new opportunity in another country? We also have job opportunities abroad in countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia.

Get in touch with a veterinary recruitment specialist today to see how we can help you find your next vet role.