Money, It’s a Gas: The High Cost of Being a Veterinarian

Rising student loan debt could be plaguing the profession

Veterinarian student loan debt is at an all-time high

Many young veterinarian school graduates are facing an increasing amount of student loan debt.

This year, nearly 4,000 college students completed their veterinary education and started their journey into the profession, which is up from 2,500 in 2010. While this is certainly good news for the veterinary field, a panel at the most recent American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) annual convention titled “Veterinary Oversupply: Issues and Ethics” looked at a number of harsh realities facing the profession, namely, the high cost of student loan debt.

Veterinary students emerging from college can expect upwards of around $150,000 in debt, while only earning a median income of roughly $65,000 in their first year of work. This puts their debt-to-income ratio at 2.4, and when compared to other professions like physicians (1), dentists (1.7) and attorneys (1.7), the problem looks a little clearer, and a lot scarier.

This trend is nothing new. In fact, the last 15 years have shown a disproportionate increase in veterinary student loan compared to an increase in salary. Many veterinary school graduates think pursuing an internship and/or residency program will help in the long run, with the hope of better pay to compensate for the amount of debt accumulated over the years. However, data suggests accumulating interest over a period of time with minimal income doesn’t necessarily help, financially speaking.

So what’s needed to solve the problem? There are a lot of theories, which range from freezing tuition rates to reducing the time it takes to receive a veterinary degree. Above all else, educating the next generation of veterinary students about the realities of student loan debt could help from letting the issue go from bad … to much worse.

To read more about this issue, click here: The Rising Cost of Becoming a Veterinarian.

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