By Martha Jack posted 03-28-2016 00:00


The year 2008 marked the beginning of the Great Recession. More than seven years later, the economy seems to be slowly getting back on track. When the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association administered its Compensation and Benefits Survey in 2013, managers’ salaries reflected the struggling economy, registering a decrease between 2013 and 2011. The newly-released 2015 VHMA Compensation and Benefits Survey indicates that in general, managers’ and administrators’ salaries have increased over the previous two years. Furthermore, factors such as education and certification can help to raise salaries even more.

About the 2015 Survey

VHMA’s Compensation and Benefits Survey is conducted bi-annually to allow veterinary managers to keep abreast of compensation levels and to isolate the factors that enhance compensation. Last administered in 2013, the 2015 survey was distributed to 2,629 VHMA and Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society members. A total of 324 managers completed the questionnaire.

The Results


Median 2013

Median 2015

Percentage change

Number of 2015 respondents

Office Manager





Practice Manager





Hospital Administrator





Manager’s salaries show an overall increase since 2013, although office managers’ median salaries have declined slightly (one percent). Again, office managers did not have a high response rate in this survey. On a more positive note, practice managers’ salaries improved by six percent while hospital administrators reported an eight percent median salary increase. For all groups of managers a post-graduate degree led to the highest median salary .Respondents that attained the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) credential also earned more than those without the credential.

As the number of facilities and the number of staff members managed by a manager grew, so too did median salary.

Although the majority of veterinary managers are not bound by an employment contract, those who are earned slightly higher median hourly wages when compared to peers without employment contracts. Managers whose responsibilities are described in a job description reported more significant median higher salaries than those who lacked job descriptions.

Location also influenced compensation. Practice managers located in New Jersey secured the highest median salaries and those located in Wisconsin made the highest median hourly wage. Hospital administrators working in Georgia reported the highest median salaries and hourly wages.

The type of practice managers are affiliated with can also impact compensation. Practice managers working in emergency practices commanded the highest salaries but worked the longest hours. Hospital administrators in specialty practices received the highest salaries and clocked the highest number of hours per year. Office managers working in exclusively small animal practices reported the weakest salaries.

Seniority is a weak driver of salary and, in many cases, salaries trended lower as seniority among managers and administrators increased.

Benefit Issues

Office managers, practice managers and hospital administrators receive an average of three weeks paid vacation each year. Median weeks of vacation generally increased as years at current location increased.

In terms of benefits provided, hospital administrators were more likely to indicate that the benefits listed in the survey were available to them. These include cells phones, child care, malpractice insurance and more. There was very little correlation between type of management position and level of benefits received.

General Trends

Since the last VHMA survey in 2013, veterinary managers and administrators have experienced increases in salary. Traditionally, seniority and experience have resulted in higher salaries and there are also numerous other factors such as location and number of staff managed that can have a positive impact on salary. Education and credentials continue to be effective routes to higher salaries.