2015 Intern & Resident Salaries at U.S. Schools and Colleges of Veterinary Medicine

September 2015 (Revised)

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Historically, post-DVM training programs have paid salaries lower than the national average for recent graduates.   As recently as 2013, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reported new graduate veterinarians earning an average annual salary of $66,0001; substantially higher than veterinarians who entered advance training programs at the completion of their degree.


In 2014, the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians (AAVC) reported that 1005 internship positions and 353 residency positions were available in the Veterinary Internship/Residency Match Program. Internship programs are largely found in private practices; only 26.5% of internship positions were matched within the US schools and colleges of veterinary medicine. Residency programs were overwhelmingly (82%) located within institutions, specifically colleges of veterinary medicine2. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) conducts an annual data collection of its 30 members in the United States.   AAVMC data provide more detail about the scope of intern and resident pay at the US colleges of veterinary medicine.



Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) conducts an annual data collection of its 30 accredited members in the United States. Twenty-seven member institutions in the United States voluntarily reported salary information for veterinary interns and residents for the 2014-2015 academic year.  


Each veterinary medical school surveyed reported individual salaries in of all interns and residents. The AAVMC calculated the mean and median for this data. Additionally, regional average means and medians for each were calculated.   SPSSTM 22 was used to produce the calculations presented below.  


The AAVMC survey defines interns were defined as individuals involved in a one year flexible clinical rotation in veterinary medicine beyond the professional degree. The internship provides practical experience in applying knowledge gained during formal professional education and offers the opportunity for recent graduates to obtain additional training. R esidents as veterinarians involved in a three or more year advanced training program in a specialty area in veterinary medicine.   This training may or may not lead to a specialty board certification and may or may not be embedded into a graduate program.  



During the 2014-2015 academic year, there were 315 interns in post-DVM training programs at the US colleges of veterinary medicine.   Intern salaries ranged from $22,500 to $38,360; the average intern was paid $26,572. The median salary was $26,142.


There were 978 residents in training programs at the US colleges of veterinary medicine during the 2014-2015 academic year, and the average resident salary was $32,707. The median salary was $31,908. Reported salaries ranged from $0 to $54,774.


Although internships are traditionally a one year program, the survey revealed 4 (1.3%) interns are in a second year of training. The number of residents are distributed across 5 years, as some trainees remained in programs beyond the traditional three years.   The distribution of residents by year is in Figure 1.  Of the 353 residency positions available through the AAVC matching program, 317 are now filled with resident trainees at US colleges of veterinary medicine. Second year residents comprised the largest group of trainees with 353 individuals participating in programs housed within a college.  

Figure 1



Numerous factors may impact the distribution of salaries for residents including regional economies and what year a trainee is in his or her training.   In an effort to explain some of the disparities in intern and resident salaries, regional and residency year distributions were calculated.   Member institutions were broken into four regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, and West) as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau3.   Weighted regional distributions were calculated using the number of interns or residents in a region.  



Colleges in the Midwest trained the largest number of interns at 37%, followed by colleges in the South, where 1 in 3 interns were in training programs. The highest mean intern salary was found in the Northeast ($28,849), followed closely by the West ($27,454).   The distribution of intern salaries across regions can be found in Table 1.

Table 1


The total number of interns has grown substantially since 20134.   In 2013, 231 interns were in training programs housed within US colleges of veterinary medicine; comparatively in 2015, AAVMC members reported 315 interns in program, an increase of 36.4%. Nationally, salaries have increased marginally, though greater variance can be seen when looking across the regions.   Intern salaries in the Northeast have increase by more than 10%; however, in the South, where salaries remain the lowest, interns have only seen a 4.7% increase in salaries over the last two years.



Colleges in the Midwest also have the highest percentage of the nation’s residents at 32%. The West and Northeast have fewer colleges and as a result train fewer residents, 18.7% and 17.9% respectively. The remaining 30.8% of residents can be found in colleges in the South.   Although the Midwest trains the most residents, the region reported the lowest average resident salary at $30,272, while colleges in the West reported the highest average and median salary at $38,177 (Table 2). The regionalized veterinary resident salary trends mimic national salary trends with workers in the Midwest and South earning less than workers in the Northeast or West4.

Table 2




The total number of residents has modestly decreased since the publication of similar data in 2013.   The total number of residents increased by 1.5%, or 963 to 978, since the 2012-2013 academic year. The average resident salary has also increased approximately 9.8%5, though some of the increase may be attributable to changes in the data collection methodology.


Salaries increase modestly as residents progress through their programs.   First year residents earn an average salary of $32,083; by the third year, salaries increase by only 7.5% to $34,536 (Table 3). When looking at salaries by residency year and by region, there is greater salary growth in residency programs that are longer than 3 years.   Within the Northeast, residents in the third year of the program will see an average of 4.6% in total growth in annual salary during their training.   Comparatively, residency programs in the Midwest, South and West, which include a number of 4 year training programs as well as two reported 5 year residents, have greater salary growth than that seen in the Northeast.   Salaries across these regions increase from 7.0% to 15.9% between the first and fourth year of training.

Table 3



Over the last two years, the total number of interns and residents at the US colleges of veterinary medicine has increased modestly; their salaries have also modestly increased during this time. The regional location of the advanced training program appears to influence the average salary paid to residents.    


The AAVMC maintains the most current information concerning residents specifically working at schools and colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States. The data provided here augments other data sources relating to salaries earned by recent DVM graduates.



1Shepherd, A., Pikel, L. Employment, starting salaries, and educational indebtedness of year-2013 graduates of US veterinary medical colleges. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2012 Oct 2013;243(7): 983-987.


2Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program. 2014 Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program. American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, 2014. Web. 14 Sept. 2015. <http://www.virmp.org/Content/Match2014Summary.pdf>.


 3Census Regions and Divisions of the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. 2015 [cited 14 Sept. 2015]. Available from: http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/pdfs/reference/us_regdiv.pdf.


 4Greenhill, Lisa M. "Resident & Intern Salaries at U.S. Schools and Colleges of Veterinary Medicine." Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Feb. 2013. [cited 14 Sept. 2015]. Available from: /Public-Data/Resident-and-Intern-Salaries.aspx.


 5DeNavas-Walt C, Proctor B. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013. Washington, DC: United States Census Bureau; 2014 Sept p. 1–72. Report No.: P60-249. [cited 14 Sept. 2015]. Available from: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf.


  For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Greenhill at lgreenhill@aavmc.org.