ALACHUA, FL– The 2023 Compensation & Benefits Survey Report is a member service provided by the Veterinary Hospital Management Association (VHMA). The biannual survey examines the level of compensation and benefits provided to veterinary managers and the factors that can impact those levels.
About the 2023 Survey
The Compensation & Benefits Survey Report is conducted at two-year intervals to analyze information about recent compensation trends and to isolate the factors that may have influenced data and trends. The survey forms were distributed to 4,163 VHMA members. A total of 620 questionnaires were completed with a response rate of 14%. The vast majority of responses (97%) were from the United States and 3% were from Canada.
Comparing 2023 wage information to data from 2015 onward shows changes in salary, hours, and calculated wages. Since 2021, office managers experienced the lowest annual salary increase of 0.5% and a 2.8% increase in median annual hours worked. Office managers also received a 2.3% decrease in hourly wages. On the contrary, practice managers benefited from an 8.3% increase in salary over the same period, and the increase was accompanied by a 6.7% decrease in annual hours worked and a significant increase of 16.1% in hourly wages. Hospital administrators experienced the largest increase in salary– 13.3% over the last two years. Combined with a 6.9% decrease in annual hours worked, hospital administrators saw a substantial increase of 21.8% in hourly wages.
Compensation by Characteristics
Compensation by type of practice revealed that hospital administrators in emergency and specialty hospitals earned the highest salary across practice types. Practice managers working in mixed animal practices earned the lowest salaries overall.
As experience increased for practice managers, hospital administrators, and office managers, median salaries and hourly wages followed suit.
There was a weak correlation between years at the current location and the median salary for office managers and hospital administrators. Hospital administrators with less than one year of experience at their current location experienced higher salaries than managers with one to two years of seniority. It was also observed that hospital administrators with 15 or more years of experience earned a lower salary than hospital administrators with less than one year of experience. Office managers with one to two years of experience at their current location received higher salaries than managers with 6 to 10 years of experience.
The relationship between practice managers’ salary and experience at the current location was much stronger. Overall, hospital administrators with the least amount of seniority generally earned higher salaries.
Across the board, credentials impact the annual salaries of practice managers and hospital administrators. The highest salaries were reported for hospital administrators with a SPHR certification and practice managers with a postgraduate degree (MBA).
The number of hospitals managed affected annual salaries and calculated hourly wages for office managers and hospital administrators. Practice managers, however, did not observe a strong correlation between the number of hospitals managed and annual salary. Despite working additional annual hours, practice managers managing three or more hospitals reported lower earnings than practice managers managing two hospitals.
Office managers who manage more than one hospital earn more than those who manage one. For hospital administrators, salaries increased as the numbers of managed hospitals exceeded two.
For all types of veterinary managers, there was a strong relationship between median salary and the number of staff managed, with hospital administrators experiencing the greatest increase in salary. Administrators who managed more than 50 staff earned just shy of double the salary of administrators who managed up to 10 staff.
The CVPM Advantage
The 2023 data revealed that veterinary managers with a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) designation benefited from an increased compensation over non-CVPM managers. Practice managers who possess the CVPM designation earned 4.2% more in annual salary, while hospital administrators with a CVPM received 17.5% more in annual salary.
Other Factors Impacting Compensation
In 2023, most veterinary managers (75%) did not have employment contracts. Office managers had insufficient data to share. Hospital administrators and practice managers with employment contracts earned higher salaries than managers without contracts. Practice managers with employment contracts earned slightly higher salaries, recorded more hours worked, and reported a higher hourly wage than those without contracts.
Unlike employment contracts, most veterinary managers have a job description. Managers with a job description enjoyed slightly higher salaries. Practice managers with job descriptions received higher salaries, worked similar hours, and earned higher hourly wages. Hospital administrators with job descriptions received a slight pay increase, worked additional hours, and earned higher hourly pay. Office managers with job descriptions received significantly higher pay, worked additional hours, and received a higher hourly wage.
Where respondents live also impacted compensation. Practice managers located in Maine received the highest calculated hourly wage, the lowest hourly wage was reported by respondents in Texas. Hospital administrators located in North Carolina reported a higher adjusted hourly wage and Ohio hospital administrators reported the lowest hourly rate.
Tasks and Responsibilities
The survey yielded valuable data about the tasks and job duties performed by job description. Since 2021, veterinary managers have experienced an increase in responsibility. Since 2021, 27% more office managers, 21% more practice managers, and 12% more hospital administrators have been tasked with audits and preparing financial information.
Regarding benefits, respondents provided information about vacation time, and it was found that seniority was not a significant factor for office managers and hospital administrators in determining vacation weeks. Practice managers who had more than one year of experience were granted three weeks of vacation time, and only when they got over 15 years did they receive four weeks.
Respondents weighed in on an extensive list of benefits, painting a detailed picture of employer-provided benefits.
The results of the 2023 survey indicated that most managers agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with their job and where they work. Hospital administrators rated job satisfaction higher, followed by practice managers and office managers.
Free copies of the complete compensation reports for Non-DVM staff, Associates, and Veterinary Managers are available to VHMA members (membership is currently priced at $260). Non-members can purchase the reports for $300 on the VHMA website.
About the VHMA
The VHMA is a nationally recognized thought leader and innovator in providing training, education, and resources to more than 4,700 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, 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 at www.VHMA.org.