Veterinarians in private practice who own their own clinics have additional administrative responsibilities tacked on to their clinical duties. The rates they charge, their hours, their specialties and their region all play roles in determining how much they make. New veterinarians with their own practices will earn at the bottom of the pay scale for the first few years until they gain more experience, in most cases.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes salary information for veterinarians in general. As of May 2010, the average salary of a veterinarian in the United States was $92,570, or $44.51 per hour. The 10th percentile earned up to $49,910 each year, or $24 per hour. The salary of the 25th percentile had an upper limit of $64,390 annually, or $30.96 per hour. The 75th percentile made up to $107,190 per year, or $51.53 per hour. The 90th percentile earned at least $145,230 per year, or $69.82 per hour.
A private practice veterinarian can specialize in one particular area of veterinary medicine or type of animal. According to TalktotheVet.com, specialization provides ample job opportunities for vets. The first year salary of University of California, Davis, veterinary graduates varied significantly based on their specializations. Large-animal vets in their first year made $73,250, for example, while equine vets initially earned $42,667 per year.
General Starting Salaries
The Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine website reports that, as of June 2011, the average starting salary of a veterinarian in the United States is about $52,000 and that within a few years, it increases to about $60,000 per year.
Private practice veterinarians average about $91,000 per year, according to the Veterinarian Career Information website as of June 2011. Public and corporation veterinarians earn between $110,000 and $170,000 per year. A small-animal veterinarian who does not own her own practice earns a median salary of between $70,000 and $91,000 per year. If she owns her own practice, she can earn a median salary of between $55,000 and $151,000.