VHMA Announces Release of VHMA 2021 Managers Compensation & Benefits Survey Report

By VHMA Admin posted 01-04-2022 17:03

VHMA 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey Report

---The 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey Report is a member service provided by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA). The biannual survey examines the level of compensation and benefits provided to veterinary managers, as well as the factors that can influence those levels.

About the 2021 Survey

The Compensation & Benefits Survey Report is conducted at two-year intervals to ensure timely information about compensation levels and to isolate the factors that may influence data and trends. The survey forms were distributed to 3,304 VHMA members and further offered to 7,129 members of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS). A total of 388 completed the manager questionnaires were returned for a response rate of 12%. The vast majority of responses (97%) were from the United States, with only 3% from Canada.

Compensation Trends

Comparing wage information from 2015 to 2021, reports show an increase in salary and hourly wages for managers. Since 2019, office managers experienced the largest increase in salaries - 14% for the last two years. Practice managers enjoyed a 9% increase in annual salary over the same period, but the increase was accompanied with a 2% increase in annual hours worked, which softened the increase in hourly wage to 7%. Hospital administrators experienced the lowest salary increase at 4% and, when combined with a slight increase in hours worked, saw a modest 3% increase in median hourly wage.


Median Salary 2019

Median Hourly Wage 2019

Median Annual Hours 2019

Median Salary 2021

Median Hourly Wage 2021

Median Annual Hours 2021









Practice Manager







Hospital Administrator








Compensation by characteristics

Compensation by type of practice revealed that hospital administrators in emergency and specialty hospitals earned the highest salaries across all practice types, $120,000 median annual salary. $52.68 for a median hourly wage---after factoring in hours worked. Practice managers working in mixed animal practices earned the lowest salaries overall ---$55,000 median annual salary, which is $27.17 hourly based on hours worked.

Median salaries and hourly wages generally increased as experience increased for practice managers and hospital administrators and office managers.

Unlike years of experience, there was a weak relationship between years at the current location and the managers' salary. Practice managers new to the job (<1 Year) experience higher salaries than managers with one to five years seniority. Hospital administrators with the least amount of seniority generally earned the highest salaries.

Across the board, credentials make a difference. Office managers with a university degree earned the most in that job type, while practice managers with a CVPM were the top earners. For hospital administrators, the highest salaries were reported by those with post-graduate degrees (not including DVM) and managers with a PHR/SPHR certification.

The number of hospitals managed affected annual salaries and calculated hourly wages for practice managers and hospital administrators. However, there were insufficient responses to report on office managers.

Practice managers who manage more than one hospital earn at least $10,000 more per year than those who manage one. Practices managers responsible for three or more hospitals earned slightly lower salaries ($2,000 lower). Still, they reported working an additional 410 per year, bringing their calculated hourly wage closer to managers of single hospitals.

For hospital administrators, salaries increased 39% as the number of hospitals managed exceeded two hospitals.

For veterinary managers of all types, there was a strong relationship between median annual salary and the number of staff managed. Hospital administrators experienced the greatest increase in salary over the range. Administrators who managed more than 50 staff earned more than double the salary of administrators who managed up to 10 staff.

Other factors impacting compensation

In 2021, most veterinary managers (72%) did not have employment contracts. Office managers and hospital administrators with employment contracts earned significantly higher salaries than managers without contracts. Practice managers with employment contracts earned slightly higher salaries but recorded more hours worked and had a resulting hourly wage lower than managers without contracts.

Unlike employment contracts, most veterinary managers had a job description. Hospital administrators with job descriptions enjoyed higher median salaries and fewer annual hours worked than their counterparts without a job description. Practice managers with job descriptions received higher salaries, worked similar hours, and earned higher hourly wages.

Where respondents live also impacted compensation. The highest hourly wage for practice managers after adjusting annual salary for hours worked was $35.00 in Minnesota. The lowest hourly wage was reported by respondents from Georgia who earned $21.18 per hour after adjusting annual salary by hours worked.

Hospital administrators from New York reported an adjusted hourly rate of $61.07, followed by hospital administrators from Kentucky who reported an adjusted rate of $56.90. Pennsylvania hospital administrators reported the lowest hourly rate: $24.59.

Tasks and benefits

The survey yielded valuable data about the tasks and job duties performed by job description. Respondents responded to a comprehensive list of tasks to reveal the tasks performed by position and the amount of time devoted to the task.

Regarding benefits, respondents provided information about vacation time and weighed in on an extensive list of benefits to paint a detailed picture of employer-provided benefits.

An important takeaway of the survey is that most managers agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with their job and where they work.

Free copies of the complete compensation reports for Non-DVM Staff, Associates, and Veterinary Managers are available to VHMA members (membership is currently $240) here. Non-members may purchase the reports for $300 here

 About the VHMA

The VHMA is a nationally recognized thought-leader and innovator in providing training, education, and resources to more than 4,000 members and a trusted resource that the veterinary sector relies on for industry insights, research, and advocacy to assure performance at the highest levels. VHMA's core purpose is to advance and support veterinary practice management professionals by developing professional competence and supporting and encouraging standards through the industry's highest-level certification program, the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM), and providing individuals with a network for professional connection and support. Learn more