Working as a Veterinarian, NOC 3114
Veterinarians prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and disorders in animals. You also advise clients on the general care of animals. You may specialize in the care and treatment of either small or large animals.
As a Veterinarian you perform some or all of the following duties:
- Examine animals and diagnose problems or diseases
- Treat sick or injured animals
- Vaccinate animals to prevent diseases and illnesses
- Provide obstetrical and dental services
- Provide advice about animal care to owners
- May be responsible for overall operation of animal hospital or clinic
- May conduct veterinary research
- May enforce government regulations in disease control and food production
Source: WorkBC Career Profile NOC 3114
This profession has become highly competitive in BC. This is especially true for those in small animal practice, which accounts for approximately 80%.
Growth for veterinarians has been driven by pet owners spending more on animal care and technological and medical advancements enabling better care for animals.
Many veterinarians work as employees for several years before forming partnerships or starting new practices. The cost of setting up a new business in veterinary medicine can be as high as $500,000.
If you are willing to handle large animals or willing to work in rural and isolated areas you may have better employment opportunities.
Veterinarians also provide expertise in the area of disease outbreak identification and control. You may help to ensure food safety for humans during food production from animal sources.
Job Outlook in BC
Chart from WorkBC
Regional Outlook: 2015-2025
Increase in Employment
|Lower Mainland / Southwest||180||90||1.4%|
You can learn more about working as a Veterinarian in BC from:
- Career Cruising (Profile for Veterinarian)
Types of Employers
The majority of veterinarians work in private practices. You may also work for the government or private industry in areas such as animal disease research, zoo consultation, or meat and milk inspection (at packing plants and dairies). Some teach in veterinary schools.
The average annual salary for veterinarians working full-time in BC is $77,977. Experienced full-time vets may earn between $70,000 and $110,000 a year. If you own a successful private practice, you can make over $150,000 a year. Veterinary surgeons and researchers typically earn the highest salaries.
In addition to a salary, most full-time veterinarians receive health and dental benefits, paid sick days, and paid vacations. If you are self-employed, you must provide your own benefits.
Sources: Work BC & Career Cruising
Job Bank Canada Wage Reports provides annual wages for Veterinarians in these BC regions:
Source: Job Bank Canada, Wage Reports
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency publishes the salary ranges for veterinarians employed by the federal agency.
You generally work 8 to 10 hours a day, up to approximately 50 to 60 hours a week. You may work nights and weekends to accommodate the schedules of pet owners.
It is common for a large animal veterinarian to be called out to a farm for an emergency in the middle of the night.
Skills, Education and Experience
- Strong written and oral communication skills
- Work well with others in a team environment
- Good with people
- Problem solving
Education and Experience
In order to work as a veterinarian you require:
- two years of pre-veterinary university studies or completion of a college program in health science
- a four to five year university degree in veterinary medicine
- completion of national certification exams
- a provincial license to practice
Entry into research positions may require post-graduate study
This occupation is regulated in British Columbia.
You must be registered with the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC) to work as a veterinarian.
If you wish to be registered with the CVBC, you must:
- complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree or equivalent from an institution recognized by the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association;
- successfully complete the National Examining Board (NEB) examinations and receive a Certificate of Qualification;
- complete the practical training required as part of the program of study;
- be legally entitled to work in Canada;
- demonstrate to the College that you are of suitable character and conduct
Further details about registration:
Internationally Trained Veterinarians
If you are qualified as a veterinarian in another country you must satisfy all the above listed requirements. You must also have a Certificate of Qualifications from the National Examining Board (NEB) before you are eligible to apply for registration by the BCVMA. Proof of English-language proficiency is also required if English is not your first language.
You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, electronic sources, and through professional associations.
You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.
Job White Pages
- Available online or in print at the Central Library
NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.
Online Job Postings
- Canadian Animal Health Institute, Job Opportunities
Job opportunities with companies that make animal health products
Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards
Professional Associations’ Career Resources
Identifying the Right Position
When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a wide range of different job titles that are relevant.
For veterinarians, look at these related job titles (NOC 3114):
- Animal Pathologist
- Dentist, Veterinary
- Internist, Veterinary
- Microbiologist, Veterinary
- Physiologist, Veterinary
- Radiologist, Veterinary
- Veterinary Pharmacologist
- Veterinary Surgeon
- Veterinary Virologist
Creating a List of Potential Employers
You can use directories to produce lists of potential employers. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.
- Reference Canada
Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
In the top search box enter “veterinary” and click LOOKUP.
Select the appropriate headings.
Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).
Applying for a Job
In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume or curriculum vitae and a cover letter. These should identify the position you are applying for and summarize your relevant experience.
Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.
To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, see the following:
Getting Help from Industry Sources
Associations for veterinarians in BC and Canada can provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are required for membership.
Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. Examples at the Central Library:
- Canadian Veterinary journal / Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Also available at the Central Library, 636.08905 C21