You probably feel that your veterinary team is invaluable. How can you ever put a price on all that they do? But guess what? You have to! Most of us view our team members like family, but we don’t consistently cut our grandmothers a monthly check. Your veterinary rates need to be competitive with other clinics if you want to recruit and retain top talent.
None of us joined the veterinary profession for the money, we did it because we’re passionate about the job. Your team members are dedicated to the patients and clients regardless of the size of their bank accounts. Unfortunately, utility and credit card companies and landlords don’t see it that way. No matter how little bearing the paycheck has on your team members’ job satisfaction, it still ends up being a pretty integral part of their lives. Make sure that you are paying them comparably to other veterinary clinics even though you might not be able to pay them what you feel they are worth. Here are some numbers to help you gauge your team’s pay against other clinics out there.
How Are Veterinary Team Members Paid?
Veterinary office managers are equally likely to be paid by the hour or by salaried. Other veterinary team members across the nation are largely paid at an hourly rate. This is probably because techs, assistants, and receptionists tend to work more flexible or part-time schedules than office managers do. Hourly pay is an easier way of working with this type of schedule in which hours worked can change week by week.
Just because most team members aren’t salaried doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy other benefits and bonuses. These bonuses can include a one-time sign-on bonus, commissions, or periodic performance-based bonuses. Incentives range from health insurance to pet insurance, CE allowance, retirement contributions, paid vacation and sick leave, and even a scrub stipend. Larger corporations, such as Banfield, even offer a health savings account along with life and disability insurance for veterinary technicians. Even if your clinic can’t provide any monetary bonuses, you can still incentivize your team with grouped days off so they can enjoy longer weekends and free or reduced care for all their furry friends.
Average Pay Rates for Veterinary Team Members
Now it gets down to the numbers. What team members get paid varies by the region and the size of the clinic that they work in. There is also going to be variation based on experience level, but we won’t get into that this time.
Veterinary technicians make an average of $16.55 per hour but can range from less than $10 to more than $26. Most of this variation is due to credentials. Veterinary assistants bring in $13.24 an hour on average but can again range from less than $10 to more than $26. Receptionists in veterinary clinics are paid $14 an hour on average, and office managers make an average of $15.65 but no less than $10, and sometimes more than $30 an hour.
If you look at how region affects veterinary team members’ pay scales, those of you in the Northeast are at the upper end, followed by the Southwest. The Northwest and Southeast are about equal in the middle, and the Midwest tends to be the lowest.
More than region, the size of the clinic can have a big impact on the income of the veterinary team. It may come as no surprise that the larger the clinic, the larger the income. This isn’t to say that larger practices love their teams more; it’s a result of having more bells and whistles. For example, a single-doctor practice might not be able to afford an ultrasound machine, while for a clinic with four doctors it becomes almost a necessity. The revenue generated by that ultrasound machine can be spread around to the team members because they will need to have increased training and and skills to use it.
This data is just to show a picture of the average pay for veterinary team members across the country.
If you’re worried that your compensation doesn’t quite measure up, you can provide your team members with bonuses that aren’t necessarily monetary. Since we’ve already established that no one joins veterinary medicine to become rich, you can help your team by nurturing their learning and helping to advance their skills. You can also set up a work environment that is fun, exciting, and a place where everyone feels valued.