How to Become a Veterinary Practice Manager:
The Definitive Guide


In order for life to run smoothly in a Veterinary office, there needs to be someone solely available to provide business management and oversee all of the daily happenings.

That’s where a Veterinary Practice Manager comes in.

These people make it so that a Veterinarian can focus on the animals, while the business side of the practice is taken care of.

If you are the type of person who is good with business management and loves animals, then this might be just the career you are looking for.

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What is a Veterinary Practice Manager?

In any medical facility, it’s important that the doctors are able to focus on the patients.

As a Veterinary Practice Manager, that role is taken care of because they are tasked with providing business and operational services.

A Veterinary Practice Manager is responsible for overseeing all of the employees, as well as handling animals on occasions when there aren’t enough staff members available.

This job requires to focus on a variety of places, but a Veterinary Practice Manager should be goal-oriented and organized.

Duties

Consider the Veterinary Practice Manager the right-hand man or woman to the Veterinarian.

This is the person who takes care of everything that doesn’t require a license to perform.

This can include:

  • Institute compliance of job descriptions
  • Monitor production goals
  • Ensure a smooth patient flow
  • Create a welcoming and warm environment for staff and patients
  • Counsel or terminate staff
  • Financial reporting
  • Oversee patient medical records
  • Fundraising and charity events

Salary

The average salary for a Veterinary Practice Manager in the United States comes to around $36,000 a year in most areas.

This career can provide a higher salary for people who decide to work in larger areas like Los Angeles or Chicago, where it’s possible to make up to $51,000 as a Veterinary Practice Manager.

It’s possible that when just starting out as a Veterinary Practice Manager, that you will make around $24,000 a year depending on the hours that you work and if your practice offers overtime pay.

Many more families are acquiring animals and the health-conscious society creates more patient flow for Veterinarians.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $36,670

$24K
$29K
$36K
$42K
$51K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$31,780
Alaska$39,200
Arizona$35,530
Arkansas$31,630
California$43,470
Colorado$37,200
Connecticut$49,900
Delaware$34,370
District of Columbia$60,290
Florida$33,360
Georgia$32,610
Hawaii$38,070
Idaho$32,030
Illinois$37,130
Indiana$32,740
Iowa$33,900
Kansas$34,200
Kentucky$31,630
Louisiana$26,980
Maine$36,530
Maryland$37,770
Massachusetts$42,360
Michigan$37,810
Minnesota$38,980
Mississippi$35,890
Missouri$32,670
Montana$33,460
Nebraska$35,010
Nevada$49,320
New Hampshire$36,840
New Jersey$38,520
New Mexico$35,750
New York$43,700
North Carolina$34,520
North Dakota$34,090
Ohio$34,660
Oklahoma$32,250
Oregon$36,620
Pennsylvania$37,050
Rhode Island$37,150
South Carolina$33,410
South Dakota$35,170
Tennessee$31,920
Texas$32,700
Utah$30,610
Vermont$34,020
Virginia$43,820
Washington$39,950
West Virginia$30,580
Wisconsin$34,730
Wyoming$31,200
Puerto Rico$28,810

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $60,290.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $60,290
Connecticut - $49,900
Nevada - $49,320
Virginia - $43,820
New York - $43,700
*Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Veterinary Practice Manager?

Step 1Earn a Degree

Let’s start this off by saying that it is not a requirement to earn any sort of degree in order to work as a Veterinary Practice Manager, however, many employers would agree that this is the best route to take.

Earning a Bachelor’s degree in business or business management will showcase your competence in the areas necessary for success in this career.

Keep in mind that in order to become certified as a Veterinary Practice Manager (this will come later), you must have completed at least 18 hours of relevant continued education.

A Bachelor’s degree in business management can take around four years to complete.

Others that are interested in a degree but don’t want to take four years to graduate can decide to earn an Associate’s degree in business, which takes around two years.

Some of the courses that you can expect to take for this degree include:

  • Business Law
  • Ethics
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing
  • Management Information Systems

Earning a Bachelor’s degree in business or gaining an Associate’s degree in business can open up many more doors.

Step 2Gain Experience

Whether you have earned a degree in business or not, it’s important that you spend some time gaining experience in a business setting.

In order to gain experience as an office manager, you will need to be hired into a business.

There is a wide range of the types of business that you can gain experience, some of them are:

  • Grocery stores
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Offices
  • Waterparks
  • Libraries
  • Hospitals

All that matters is that you earn the knowledge that it takes to run a practice.

Typically, to earn a certification as a Veterinary Practice Manager, you’ll need at least three years of experience as a business manager.

Those that don’t have a degree in business management will likely need to begin their journey working from the lower level of employment in a company.

It can take some time to work your way up the ladder from the bottom, that is why it is important to think about earning a degree.

Step 3Become Certified

Even though it is not a legal requirement to become certified as a Veterinary Practice Manager, again, it is widely suggested.

Many employers look for certifications and education when hiring office managers.

This certification is given by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association and is award upon passing an exam.

The average cost to take the exam is around $675 dollars for members of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, and around $825 for non-members.

In order to be eligible for this exam, you need to:

  • Have at least three years of relevant education
  • Three years of active employment as a Veterinary Practice Manager
  • Four letters of recommendation

In order to maintain the certification of Certified Veterinary Practice Manager, you must provide evidence of continued education every three years.

Step 4Continue Education

Some people may think that once they land their dream job, they can just coast.

This is not always true, especially for people who are interested in becoming Veterinary Practice Managers.

People that work in this field must always continue learning.

There are tons of opportunities for growth within this career, for example:

  • Leadership opportunities
  • Local conferences
  • Meetings with other Veterinarian practices
  • Webinars
  • Online courses
  • Read articles, journals, and books

In order to maintain certification, a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager must show proof of continuing education, which can consist of a certificate from an online class or verification of attendance at a conference.


Education

There is no requirement to earn a college degree in order to work as a Veterinary Practice Manager, however, it is suggested that a business management degree is earned.

Some people who decide to become Veterinary Practice Managers earn an Associate’s degree in business management, which can take around two years to complete.

Many of the classes that you will need to take for this degree are math-related, but some of the other courses may include:

  • Principles of Finance
  • Customer Service
  • Human Resources
  • Intro to Business

You will gain a lot of knowledge in a business management program, and you can also earn a degree while taking online classes.

Some schools even offer internships or other opportunities.

For those looking to gain even more education, its possible to earn a Bachelor’s degree in business management.

This type of degree will give you all of the tools that you need in order to work as a Veterinary Practice Manager.

The average time it takes to earn a Bachelor’s degree Is around 4 years.

While you will typically find the above courses in this program, the Bachelor’s degree goes more in-depth into business management.

Some of the courses that you can expect are:

  • Principles of Management
  • Marketing
  • Business Finance
  • Business Law
  • Macroeconomics

You will likely be required to take other electives in a Bachelor’s degree program.

After earning a Bachelor’s degree, many more career opportunities may open up.

Some of the other options for jobs with a Bachelors in business management are:

  • Business advisor
  • Stockbroker
  • Risk manager
  • Construction manager
  • Sales executive

It is also possible to earn an online degree in business management, which can be helpful for those who are working and going to school at the same time.

If you plan to work as a Veterinary Practice Manager, it is wise to gain experience working in a veterinary practice, and what better time to do that than when you are in school.

Video About The Career


Certification

It is not a legal requirement to earn certification as a Veterinary Practice Manager, but like a degree, it is somewhat expected nowadays.

Earning a certification can show employers and yourself that you are capable and competent in the field in which you are certified.

Earning a certification as a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager shows that you have hands-on experience, knowledge, and education.

This can provide more raises or promotions in the future.

In order to become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager, you must first make sure that you are qualified to sit for the exam.

The qualifications for this include:

  • Active employment as a Veterinary Practice Manager
  • Eighteen college credits in related courses
  • 48 hours of continued education
  • Four recommendation letters

Once you have met the requirements to sit for the exam, you will be asked multiple-choice questions that pertain to:

  • Human Resources
  • Law and Ethics
  • Marketing
  • Organization of the Practice
  • Finance

The total number of questions that you must answer during the exam varies on how competent you are, but the most questions that can be asked is 200.

It’s also possible to enter a Veterinary Management program that will earn you a certificate.

This will provide anyone interested in working in Veterinary Management with industry-related techniques, management skills, and developmental practices.

The Veterinary Management Practice Program is not a degree, but there are some courses that are provided:

  • Developing and leading your veterinary team
  • Marketing and social media for your veterinary team
  • Veterinary practice financials
  • Strategic thinking

You don’t need to have any experience working in a veterinary clinic in order to enroll in this program.

After finishing all four courses in this program, it’s possible to earn a certificate that counts toward your continued-education credits.

Some programs take as little as 8 weeks to finish.

Certification Example:

cvpm certification

Average Training Program Duration: 2-4 Years

The length of a program varies, depending on where you earn the certificate and which type of program you are enrolled in.

Many programs to become a Veterinary Practice Manager can take anywhere from 8 weeks to several years to complete.

The Veterinary Management Program can be taken online in some areas and lasts around 2 months while earning an Associate’s degree can take anywhere from 18 months to two years.

Check around your area for programs that are tailored to what you need out of your education.

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Job Outlook

Anyone that is interested in becoming a Veterinary Practice Manager should not worry about finding employment within the next decade.

Over the next ten years, the job outlook for Veterinary Practice Managers will rise around 19 percent.

This is much faster than many other careers in the same field.

It seems that more people are spending money on their pets, and more families are acquiring pets, which calls for more veterinary care visits.

Also, the necessity of a degree for Veterinary Practice Managers means that there will be more jobs available than there used to be.

More education requirements mean fewer people are in the running to work as Veterinary Practice Managers.

Employment Growth Projection: 19%

109,400
2018
130,500
2028

That's a higher than average projected growth of 21,100 jobs.

Veterinary Practice Manager: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Veterinary Practice Manager?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

One of the hard things about being a Veterinary Practice Manager is that you will be working a lot, sometimes for less money than you deserve.

That’s one of the downfalls of this career, however, many Veterinary Practice Managers feel that their jobs are working toward the greater good, which makes it worth it.

For those looking to gain more satisfaction from this career should look into earning certifications or finding other ways to help in the Veterinary Practice, such as assisting with medical tests and creating strong patient bonds.

Average Salary: Medium

Average Salary

The average salary for a Veterinary Practice Manager in the United States is around $36,000 a year.

Veterinary Practice Managers who work in larger cities with large populations will likely make more money than a Veterinary Practice Manager who works in a small town.

Those that are just starting out in this career will likely make around $24,000 to begin.

After years of experience, certifications, specializations, and continued education, it’s possible to make up to $51,000 a year as a Veterinary Practice Manager.

Job Growth Outlook: High

Job Growth Outlook

The prospects for Veterinary Practice Managers in the next ten years look great.

The career will rise around 19 percent, which is a lot faster than many other careers in the same field.

Those that are looking to work as Veterinary Practice Managers should consider earning a degree, which will help them to gain employment over other prospective Veterinary Practice Managers that don’t have a degree.

The rise in this career is due to more families having pets and those pets requiring a variety of medical needs.

Education Duration: 2-4 Years

Education Duration

Even though there aren’t any minimum requirements to work as a Veterinary Practice Manager, many clinics are now asking for employees who have some sort of degree.

Many Veterinary Practice Managers earn an Associate’s degree, which can take anywhere from 18 months to two years to complete.

Others decide that they want to earn a Bachelor’s degree, which can take around four years to complete.

There are online classes in business management that may offer a speedier timeframe and allow for flexibility with your schedule.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

In order to be successful in your role as a Veterinary Practice Manager, you’ll need to have several skills.

Some of these skills include:

  • Ability to organize several things at once
  • Leadership skills
  • Motivation
  • Ability to motivate others as well
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Integrity
  • Empathy
  • Understanding of medical field
  • Business-oriented
  • A genuine love of animals
  • Flexibility
  • Tactfulness

If you are the type of person that loves to help others and make the rules, as well as work with animals in a medical setting, then this might be just the right career for you.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What does a Veterinary Practice Manager do?

A Veterinary Practice Manager is a person who makes sure everything is running smoothly on both the business and employee side of a veterinary practice.

These people are in charge of making sure the staff is available and happy, as well as making sure patients and clients are content with their service as well.

You can find them working on finances, payroll, and even the hiring and firing process.

Q. What is the average salary of a Veterinary Practice Manager?

In the United States, the average salary for a Veterinary Practice Manager is around $36,000 per year.

For those that have a degree, experience, and specializations in Veterinary medicine, the salary can be much more, at around $51,000 a year.

Veterinary Practice Managers working just out of school will likely make less than that, typically around $24,000 a year.

Q. How long does it take to become a Veterinary Practice Manager?

The time that it takes to become a Veterinary Practice Manager depends on how much education you want to receive.

Some people earn an Associate’s degree, which can take around two years.

Others decide that they want to gain a Bachelor’s degree, which can take another two years, at around 4 years.

Sometimes, it’s possible to find online programs that take around 18 months.

Q. Is there a demand for Veterinary Practice Managers?

With the rise in households that have pets around the country, as well as the newfound love of health and wellness for animals, there will likely be a need for Veterinary Practice Managers for a long time.

Animals are a part of our daily lives, and being able to take them to a vet is convenient and necessary.

Thankfully, there will always be Veterinary Practice Managers to help with patients and employees and to deal with the business side of the practice.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Veterinary Practice Manager?

The cost of your education depends on what degree you decide to earn.

Some Associates degrees can cost as little as $12,000 and as much as $20,000 depending on the school you attend.

Bachelor’s degrees cost a little more, at around $30,000 on average in the United States.

With certification and any special programs, it can cost around $45,000 to $50,000 to become a Veterinary Practice Manager.


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