Veterinarian Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Veterinarian Do?

Veterinarians treat the injuries and illnesses of animals. These professionals examine and diagnose animals using lab tests and medical tools, including EKG, ultrasound, and x-ray machines, before determining a treatment plan. They also perform preventative and emergency surgeries and conduct aminal research. Veterinarians typically work at a private veterinary clinic or hospital, while some may work in zoos or travel between their offices and farms and ranches. 

Vets are also responsible for advising and educating pet owners about their animal’s basic needs and treatments, prescribing medication for animals, and offering advice on how to best care for them. Successful veterinarians must have compassion for animals, sound decision-making skills, and excellent interpersonal abilities.

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National Average Salary

Veterinarian salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Veterinarian is:


Veterinarian Job Descriptions

The first step when hiring a great veterinarian is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.

Example 1


Since we specialize in routine, preventative care, our veterinarians work in a less-stressful environment with a dependable schedule.

  • Examining patients utilizing established protocols based on the latest AAHA and ACVIM recommendations
  • Educating clients about their pet’s needs and zoonotic diseases
  • Entering complete medical records into online practice management software
  • Discussing lab results with clients
  • Providing guidance and oversight to support staff as it relates to patient care and case management
  • Referring clients to local full-service hospitals for complex issues, procedures, dentals, surgery, euthanasia and emergencies

Minimum requirements

  • DVM or equivalent degree and active state license
  • Capability of working in a fast-paced practice
  • High level of comfort with computers and digital medical records
  • Passion for client education

Example 2

Position purpose

The purpose of this patient-focused Veterinarian position inherently involves providing excellent veterinary care to our XYZ Total Care full-service hospital patients and phenomenal customer care to their owners. The Veterinarian represents the mission and values to all clients. Our Veterinarian sets the tone within the technical and customer support staff in the hospital, and is responsible, like all team members, for fostering cohesion and motivation within the team.

All hospital staff are responsible for performing their duties in a way that creates an environment in which:

  • the patient’s needs always come first;
  • every team member understands that they have the power to do what it takes to create an exceptional customer and patient experience;
  • contentious issues are dealt with and resolved as they occur when possible, or as soon as is possible;
  • exceptional teamwork and commitment to shared goals benefits the entire organization.

Essential job functions

  • Provide excellent patient care by performing physical examinations, diagnosing and treating diseases, and providing preventive care according to patient lifestyle and location on feline and canine patients.
  • Utilize a problem-based approach that includes developing a complete problem list for every patient examined, a complete list of differential diagnoses for each problem identified, a complete diagnostic plan, and appropriate treatments based on interpretation of diagnostic test results leading to confirmed or suspected diagnoses.
  • Document all patient observations, findings of exams and diagnostics, treatments and medications, client interactions, and tentative and confirmed diagnoses in the medical record in a concise and detail fashion, according to practice convention.
  • Perform routine and complex surgical procedures including (but not limited) spays/neuters, abdominal exploratory, and mass removals.
  • Perform routine and complex dental procedures including full dental examination, evaluation of dental radiographs, as well as simple and complex extractions and oral surgical procedures.
  • Develop treatment plans for patients undergoing day hospitalization based on complete problem-based assessment. Transition patients to overnight care as needed and communicate effectively with referral hospitals in order to ensure continuity of patient care.

Other duties and responsibilities

  • Participate in rounds as incoming or exiting doctor at beginning and end of shifts
  • Disseminate knowledge throughout staff in order to improve the level of care provided by all, to both the patient and the client
  • Performs additional duties as assigned

Education and experience

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an AVMA-accredited veterinary school or its equivalent
  • Active licensure as a veterinarian without contingencies in the state in which the hospital is located or ability to obtain by start date
  • Current DEA license
  • Current Controlled Substance License, if applicable, in state in which the hospital is located or ability to obtain by start date
  • USDA Category I Accreditation or completion within two months of hire date.
  • Must be comfortable performing anesthesia and routine surgeries including but not limited to: canine and feline spays, neuters, mass removals, and dentals
  • Must have excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Must be compassionate and sympathetic, and be able to maintain a professional attitude and demeanor during emotional and stressful situations
  • Must have telephone and computer skills
  • Must be a team player willing to learn new techniques and treatments, offer creative ideas, and accept change

Example 3


  • Practice in accordance with state practice act and principles of veterinary medical ethics
  • Leverage evidence-based medicine and continue pursuit of education to deliver quality patient care
  • Devote yourself to the culture of preventive care and Optimum Wellness Plans
  • Adopt and positively impact new veterinary standards and guidelines
  • Deliver medical and surgical treatments with formulary approved pharmaceuticals, supplies, and equipment, in accordance with ABC Company’s Medical Quality Standards
  • Partner with clients as an advocate for the pet to plan follow-up visits, provide home-care instructions, and education to ensure the lifelong health of their pets
  • Maintain relevant, comprehensive medical records with the support of practice systems, including ABC Company’s database, PetWare, designed to obtain data for population research
  • Foster an effective veterinary support team by communicating medical standards, ethical practices, and your veterinary knowledge and experience
  • Exemplify the Mars Five Principles — Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, and Freedom


  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM/VMD) or equivalent degree required
  • State Veterinary Board License and must be in good standing for the state in which they intend to be hired, prior to their start date.

Additional licensing

  • A State Controlled Substance (SCS) License may be required by the state in which you intend to work. If you do not already hold an SCS, ABC Company encourages you to obtain this license after your start date as the practice may reimburse this cost.
  • Once you obtain your DEA License, ABC Company will fully reimburse.
  • New associates will be required to take their state USDA Accreditation class by the time they reach the 12-week mark from their hire date.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Why did you choose veterinarian medicine for your career?
  • What has been your most challenging experience as a veterinarian? How did you handle it?
  • How do you ensure that staff under your supervision follows all lawful and clinical protocols of veterinary practices?
  • How do you stay up to date on advances in veterinary medicine?
  • What breeds and types of animals are you experienced with caring for?
  • What is the biggest difference between animal welfare and animal rights?
  • What would you do if a client came in with an injured or sick animal and couldn’t afford the cost?
  • What actions do you take when coping with pet owners who are in distress?
  • How do you discuss information with clients when it involves a worst-case scenario, such as a terminally ill pet?
  • How do you support clients who are grieving over the loss of a pet?

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