Working group to tackle economic issues facing veterinary education, students

EducationCostsThe average debt for all new veterinarians who graduated from veterinary schools in the United States in 2014 was $135,000. Their average starting pay? $67,000. How can one keep up with the other? Why is debt growing faster than starting pay? What can be done to correct the debt-to-income ratio among veterinarians joining the workforce? Representatives from the AVMA, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine will be meeting with veterinary students, recent graduates, practice owners, and members of academia and industry at AVMA headquarters in November to tackle some of the economic issues facing veterinary education and veterinary students. This working group’s goal is to lay the framework for a more comprehensive educational economic summit to be held at Michigan State in the spring of 2016. We’ll keep you posted as the date draws nearer.

8 thoughts on “Working group to tackle economic issues facing veterinary education, students

  1. I would think the AAVMC would have an inherent conflict of interest in this issue and should sit it out. Is it really in the schools’ best interest to find ways to lower tuition? How about reducing class size? Increasing the standards/requirements of prospective students? Nope, didn’t think so.

  2. I think the answer to your question should be obvious. There are far too many veterinarians – more than positions available. With vaccine clinics, spay and neuter clinics, low cost clinics, on-line pharmacies, and technicians doing the work that veterinarians used to do, there are simply too many veterinarians available for each position.

    • This is the unambiguous answer. Despite the reports of accessible gainful employment, the severe paucity of job openings in the JAVMA classifieds and other state and local journals present a harsh reality. Where there were 6-8 pages of job opportunities in California 5 years ago, there are often a half page or less every month. Many of these are run constantly, indicating that they are frequently vacated or remain unfilled in the face of a dearth of options for DVMs. The positive potentials summarized in official surveys do not match the realities of owners attempting to survive.

  3. Transparency as far as economics goes is extremely important to those new to the profession. I didn’t fully realize the consequences of being in debt for at least 25 years when I decided to become a veterinarian. I still would have decided to become a veterinarian, but I would have appreciated a more realistic picture of what my financial expectations should be. For example, instead of being told don’t worry it looks like large amount of debt, but you will be making way more than enough to cover pay it off to say it is possible that you may only be able to afford the minimum monthly payments which may not even cover the interest payments on your loans thus your most realistic option is loan forgiveness in 25 years.

    • “For example, instead of being told don’t worry it looks like large amount of debt, but you will be making way more than enough to cover pay it off ….”

      Were you really told that?? Absolutely unforgivable. The debt incurred by most veterinary students, is absolutely crippling. That truth should be communicated emphatically and effectively. Painting a rosy picture of vast economic opportunities in our profession is just a blatant lie.

  4. Since the ultimate driver of any profession is the economics, the relentless effort to allow foreign schools to become accredited will tilt the law of supply and demand in favor of those practitioners willing to work for less, provide lower tech services and undermine those with top quality US educations and top level school debts. This senseless goal will compound the ever spiraling cycle of lower profit levels, greater risk exposure and reduced career satisfaction for those of us who were accepted on high standards and passed the rigorous requirements in the US. The oft quoted idea that the public is under-served for veterinary care overlooks the actual consumption of services by the most rapidly expanding sector of the US population who have little to no tradition of pet care or ethics shared by Americans, even those of second or third generation citizens. This unsound policy is politically motivated and will eventually create the same affect as any other government program; a few haves and a a majority of have-nots. I am a life long member but am increasing questioning the value of the decisions made by those in DC, academia and institutions where theory substitutes for reality.

  5. AVMA must first be honest with itself and others about the present and future economics of our profession. It must be honest with its members and the public. It needs to represent its members .Not the vet schools ,not the coe but its dues paying members. Consequences of past avma direction has had significant negative effect on our profession. The avma needs to be brave enough to admit these negative consequences, intended or unintended, and be vocal in moving the profession in a more positive direction. If it does this ,I will rejoin. Mickey Wiltz DVM

    • this is like watching two very stupid lawn care persons trying to figure out which end of the hose goes to the faucet. it is so obvious but they don’t get it. if you produce too many veterinarians their individual value goes down. how hard is that to comprehend? Practicing veterinarians have tried hard to explain this to academians and state legislators for the past 20+ years. Our own AVMA seems powerless to stop the proliferation of new vet schools both here and off shore. I fear all is lost. Produce fewer vets and the salaries will go up. duh???!!!!