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Veterinarians diagnose animal illnesses, treat diseased and injured animals, perform surgery and dentistry on animals, provide preventive medical services and provide advice regarding the care and breeding of animals, food safety and security and public health.

  • Avg. Salary $85,052.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.76
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Animal Doctor, Doctor, Epidemiologist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Veterinarian is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
NOC code: 3114

Interest in co-ordinating information to diagnose and treat sick and injured animals, and to prescribe medications; may conduct veterinary research, co-ordinate the operations of animal hospitals, clinics and mobile services to farms, and may enforce government regulations in disease control and food production including animal and animal-based food inspection


Interest in precision working with scientific instruments and medical equipment to diagnose diseases and perform surgery


Interest in mentoring by treating sick and injured animals, by advising clients on proper care of animals and by providing euthanasia services

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Apr 10, 2017

Veterinarians provide animal health and welfare services, and are involved in food safety, public health and environmental management. In general, they:

  • perform routine, emergency and post-mortem examinations
  • diagnose diseases
  • provide advice regarding preventative health care and herd health
  • inoculate animals against infectious diseases
  • treat a wide range of injuries and disease conditions
  • perform dental procedures on various species
  • perform surgery on animals
  • provide obstetrical and embryo transfer services
  • keep records of sick animals
  • provide euthanasia services when necessary.

Diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and other conditions often involves:

  • collecting, examining and analyzing body tissue, feces, blood, urine or other body fluids
  • taking and interpreting x-rays
  • administering anesthesia and performing exploratory surgery.

Preventive medical services include:

  • parasite control programs
  • vaccination programs against common viral and bacterial diseases
  • routine examinations
  • consultations regarding hygiene, nutrition, and general care and breeding of animals
  • quality assurance programs for food animal species.

Some veterinarians operate mixed animal practices, providing services for a wide range of animals. Others restrict their practices to particular types of animals such as:

  • food-producing animals (beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, swine, poultry or fish)
  • domestic pets and small animals
  • exotic birds and animals
  • wildlife and alternative livestock
  • horses
  • aquatic species.

Some veterinarians specialize in a medical discipline such as reproduction, surgery, oncology, dentistry, anesthesiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, cardiology or pathology. Veterinarians who work with large animals may focus their practice on herd health where head management, monitoring and regulatory medicine are important.

In addition to the above duties, veterinarians who own private practices have all the responsibilities of small business owners (for example, human resources and financial management, inventory management, marketing).

In salaried positions, veterinarians may provide wildlife conservation, public health, food safety, agriculture development, disease surveillance or animal welfare services.

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 10, 2017

The work can be physically demanding when working with large animals. Depending on the work situation, veterinarians may be required to lift up to or over 20 kilograms. Some have mobile clinics for treating animals in barns or open fields.

Occupational hazards include contact with potentially dangerous animals and potential exposure to radiation, biohazardous substances, waste, anesthetics and diseases that may be transmissible to human beings.

After-hours emergency work is required in many types of veterinary practice.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Veterinarians need the following characteristics:

  • confidence in working with animals
  • a strong commitment to public health and food safety
  • stamina and strength
  • good powers of observation and judgment
  • good communication and public relations skills
  • the ability to work well in a team environment
  • a willingness to keep up with current developments in the fields of veterinary medicine and business.

They should enjoy working outdoors, working independently and with the public, helping others and making decisions quickly under pressure.

Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Prospective veterinarians must complete at least two years of university studies followed by a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), administered in the fourth year of the DVM program. Most applicants for DVM programs have completed more than two years of university work in a related faculty such as science or agriculture. Suitable pre-veterinary medicine programs are offered by post-secondary schools throughout Alberta.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

University of Calgary

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon accepts 20 Alberta students annually as part of an interprovincial quota system agreement. Applicants must have completed at least two years of full time post-secondary instruction at a recognized college or university, and complete an interview.

Elsewhere in Canada, four-year DVM degree programs are offered at the following post-secondary schools. However, applicants must be residents of the province for at least one year prior to applying:

Post secondary schools throughout Alberta offer university transfer programs that allow students to apply up to two years of study toward university bachelor's degree programs. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the courses they choose to take will be accepted for credit at the school to which they wish to transfer.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 10, 2017


Veterinarians diagnose animal illnesses, treat diseased and injured animals, perform surgery and dentistry, provide preventive medical services and provide advice regarding the care and breeding of animals, food safety and security and public health.


Under Alberta's Veterinary Profession Act and General Regulation, only registered veterinary members of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) may call themselves or practice as Veterinarians. However, animal health technologists may provide veterinary services under the supervision of a Registered Veterinarian.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of: (1) an approved Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and (2) the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). Graduates from non-accredited universities must complete a Basic Clinical Skills Exam, Clinical Competency Exam and the NAVLE. All applicants require a Certificate of Qualification from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the ABVMA website or contact ABVMA.

Working in Alberta

Veterinarians who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered veterinarians in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated veterinarians, see Veterinarian Licensing Process on the website.

Contact Details

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association
Building #3, Elm Business Park
Suite 104, 9452-51 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta 
Canada  T6E 5A6
Phone number: 780-489-5007
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-404-2862
Fax number: 780-484-8311

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Some veterinarians establish their own veterinary practices but most find employment as associates or partners in established veterinary practices.

Veterinarians who do not choose private or clinical practice may be employed as:

  • agricultural commodity inspectors (see the Agricultural Commodity Inspector occupational profile)
  • food hygienists
  • researchers in the field of animal disease
  • pharmaceutical company representatives
  • administrators of veterinary public health programs
  • race horse inspectors at racetracks
  • teachers at veterinary colleges
  • animal health or public health researchers
  • clinical veterinarians for laboratory or zoo animals.

Veterinarians employed by government agencies may advance in grade and salary as they accumulate time and experience on the job.

In Alberta, 87% of veterinarians work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 10, 2017
NOC code: 3114

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $27.47 $51.28 $36.80 $33.33
Overall $29.76 $65.00 $44.76 $42.69
Top $32.05 $99.47 $62.20 $51.92

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


2015 Vacancy Rate

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
  • Natural Resources
    • Agriculture
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 10, 2017

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) website:

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) websites: 

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 27, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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