Pay Rates and Benefits for Locum Vets Worldwide

By Ed Taylor MRCVS

Becoming a locum vet offers a unique blend of flexibility, variety, and the opportunity to work in diverse settings. This brief guide provides an overview of what you can expect in terms of pay, work shifts, and benefits, helping you navigate the locum vet landscape more effectively.

How Much Can Locum Vets Get Paid Worldwide?

Your pay as a locum vet is influenced by several factors including your experience, skill set, the practice’s location, and your desired charge rate. Having an understanding of the average global rates can be incredibly helpful.

Average Locum Vet Pay Rates Globally:

  • UK – Locum vets can expect to earn between £400 and £500 per day (GBP).
  • Ireland – Daily rates range from €350 to €500 (Euro).
  • New Zealand – Expect to earn between $450 and $800 per day (NZD).
  • Australia -Daily pay ranges from $600 to $850 (AUD).
  • USA – Veterinarians can earn between $400 and $1000 per day (USD).
  • Canada –  The daily rate is typically between $400 and $800 (CAD).

These rates vary based on circumstances, experience, and specific job requirements. Night shifts and out-of-hours (OOHs) work usually command a higher premium.

At The Vet Service, we offer a rate/salary negotiating service to ensure fair compensation for both the practice and the locum. Keep in mind, that international rates may fluctuate with currency and market standards, but our team is always here to provide the latest advice.

Payment Methods for Locum Vets

How you get paid will depend on your employment structure. You can operate as a Sole Trader, form a Limited Company, work under an Umbrella Company, or on a Zero Hours Contract. For detailed assistance, our sister company, Locum Vet Pay, is ready to help. 

Shift Lengths and Working Hours for Locum Vets

One of the advantages of being a locum vet is the ability to set your hours to some extent. However, most practices will require you to adhere to their schedules, typically from 9 am to 6 pm. It’s crucial to discuss your responsibilities and the practice’s expectations with the practice manager or clinical director before starting.

Benefits of Being a Locum Vet

  • Accommodation: Many practices provide accommodation, or you may receive a nightly allowance to cover your stay. Always keep receipts for your tax return.
  • Transport: A work vehicle may be provided, or you could charge for mileage if using your own vehicle.
  • Equipment and Drugs: The practice usually supplies necessary drugs and equipment. However, having your personal kit for specific tasks can be beneficial.

Equipment Checklist

Small Animal: For those working with small animals, it’s beneficial to have a basic kit that includes essentials such as a thermometer and a stethoscope for routine health checks, along with pens and permanent markers for labeling and documentation purposes. A name badge might also be useful for identifying yourself within the practice, and scrub tops are necessary for maintaining a professional appearance.

Large Animal: For veterinarians focusing on large animals, the kit expands to include not only a thermometer and a stethoscope but also waterproof coveralls and wellies to stay protected and clean in outdoor or farm environments. A disinfectant, along with a bucket and brush, are crucial for maintaining hygiene, while scissors or hemostats, a head torch for visibility in low-light conditions, a halter for handling, and a casting rope for restraint are all important tools of the trade. Additionally, for those who prefer to use their own equipment, investing in a set of clippers can be beneficial for grooming and medical procedures.


Stepping into the world of locum veterinary work can be both exciting and daunting. With the right information and resources, you can make informed decisions about your career path. At The Vet Service, we’re committed to supporting vets through every stage of their journey. If you’re looking for your first or next locum role, register today and get in touch for a confidential chat.