Careers in Management

Why Consider Veterinary Management?

Veterinary Medicine and the pet industry have experienced significant growth over the last decade, and all indicators point to continued growth. This $50 billion+ industry offers tremendous career opportunities for enthusiastic, pet-minded, business-oriented individuals.

As the demand for pet care has increased, along with the need for advanced technology, processes, and equipment, new roles in the industry have evolved. The veterinary practice manager is one of those roles. More veterinarians realize that a professional manager can free an owner up to spend time doing what they love and were trained to do: care for animals. Practices that hire managers with analytical, technical, financial, human resources and client skills often see a positive impact on the practice’s bottom line, the office environment, the wellbeing of patients and client satisfaction.

Veterinary practice managers come from all backgrounds, but what they share is a thirst for knowledge and learning, a commitment to self- advancement, and improvement, a focus on motivating and leading others and the ability to handle multiple and diverse responsibilities.

Educational Resources

If you are currently working in the veterinary industry and are interested in advancing in your career or if you have been searching for a way to incorporate a love of animals and an interest in business and management into a meaningful and rewarding job, veterinary practice management may be a viable career option. There are many educational resources that those considering a career in management or those interested in refining their skills can pursue. These include formal training programs, continuing education, and timely information presented in webinars and online. Much of this material can be found and reviewed on the VHMA website.

In addition to educational programs, there are veterinary management books, trade magazines, and benchmarking tools available, as well as associations, commissions, and organizations.

For managers new to the veterinary profession, the VHMA offers a Mentor Program, that pairs managers with mentors who provide one-on-one assistance, support, guidance, and career advice on an as-needed basis.

For experienced veterinary managers, the VHMA offers a certification program, The Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) certification. Certificants must demonstrate proficiency with industry standards for knowledge, skills, and competencies and commit to ongoing recertification.

Opportunities Within a Hospital Setting

Veterinary hospital managers are involved in many different aspects and levels of responsibility and play key roles in driving the performance of a veterinary hospital. One of the hospital manager’s most significant roles is to create a practice environment that facilitates the delivery of quality, efficient health care to animals.

Veterinary hospitals vary greatly in size and scope of practice, from small one-doctor general practices to large practices with multiple specialty practices and 24-hour emergency services. Veterinary management positions also vary greatly in scope and responsibility. A Hospital Administrator is generally responsible for all human resource, financial, operational, and business development activities. In large practices, many different levels of specialized managers may support a Hospital Administrator.

Below are some of the positions typically available in veterinary practice management:

  • Hospital Administrator
  • Practice Manager
  • Office Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Financial Manager
  • Patient Care Manager
  • Facility Manager
  • Client Relations Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Inventory Manager
  • Regional or District Manager
  • Operations Manager

Veterinary hospital managers, regardless of position, organize and implement protocols in conjunction with promoting practice values to meet company goals. These positions are critical to the success of the hospital and the delivery of quality and compassionate health care to pets and their owners.

Opportunities Beyond a Hospital Setting

Veterinary practices can benefit from the experience and expertise provided by an objective outside opinion. Experienced veterinary managers and other professionals with business expertise frequently serve as consultants to practices by providing detailed evaluations of practice operations along with affirmations or solutions for improving the practice.

Consultants can also influence practice owners, and staff about the many contributions managers make to the practice through educational forums and publications. By clearly enumerating and describing the many tasks that veterinary managers are trained to undertake and by advocating on behalf of managers for access to the information and resources managers need to perform their jobs effectively, the result is a win/win for both owners and managers,

Below are some areas of expertise that practice management consultants may specialize in:

  • General and Specialty Practice Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Education and Training
  • Speaking and Writing
  • Practice Valuations
  • Succession and Strategic Planning
  • Accounting and Tax Services
  • Financial Planning
  • Marketing and Media
  • Legal and Regulatory Issues
  • Architectural Design

Opportunities for veterinary management professionals also exist within the corporate arena with companies that provide products and services to veterinary practices. An experienced and educated veterinary management professional can provide a keen understanding of the profession and apply their expertise and insights when partnering with their customers and provide value-added services to the organization’s key accounts.

Below are some typical industry positions:

  • Key Account Manager
  • Regional/Territory Manager
  • Customer Success Manager
  • Software Trainer
  • Workflow Analyst
  • Training and Education Specialist

VHMA Job Framework & Description

The following video presents the typical job framework for a veterinary practice management professional and provides a job description that you can edit, personalize to your practice, print, and sign.

The appendix outlines how a veterinary practice management professional can become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM).

Professional Associations

Professional associations offer abundant and wide-ranging opportunities for veterinary managers who are interested in personal and professional growth. Members rely on associations like the VHMA to keep current on industry trends and developments, access continuing education resources that are topical and timely and connect with other managers as well as leaders in the industry.

An affiliation with a professional association is a strategic move that can expand professional networks, strengthen professional competencies, assist in improving recognition of the profession and, in general, improve career satisfaction.

Employment & Compensation

Sources for Employment/Job Listings

  1. Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA)
  2. State Veterinary Medical Associations
  3. Veterinary Management Recruiter Sites
  4. Local Veterinary Manager Groups
  5. Veterinary Management Resource Material (trade magazines and journals)
  6. General Employment Web sites

Sources for Current Compensation and Benefit Information

  1. VHMA Compensation and Benefits Report
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Local Veterinary Manager Groups
  4. National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI)