While veterinarians and their support staff have really good job prospects, the work they are doing is emotionally draining and can cause many to leave the profession, writes Nancy Stedman for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Between January 2019 and May 2021, for every veterinarian seeking a job there were 18 open positions. There were six open positions for every technician and assistant, as well as 12 in related positions.
“We have four vets,” said Veterinarian Michael Weiss, owner of 2nd Street Animal Hospital in Northern Liberties. “We could have seven to eight, but we can’t do that because I can’t hire enough support staff.”
The labor shortage was especially intense during the pandemic because vet appointments skyrocketed as home-bound people rushed to adopt animals to keep them company.
This shortage is not driven by lack of educational opportunities, as there are enough students in post-graduate veterinary medical schools as well as enough candidates in certified vet tech programs.
In addition to burnout, the shortage is partly influenced by finances. Vets and techs who leave their schools with huge student debt often pivot to more lucrative medical fields where they can earn nearly twice as much.
Read more about veterinarians in The Philadelphia Inquirer.