A zoo veterinarian is a licensed veterinarian who has acquired additional education and specialized training as an exotic veterinarian or rare animal veterinarians. In the US, zoo veterinarians earn close to $83,000 per year compared to Australia where annual zoo veterinarian salary is nearly AU$111,000 ($86,194 USD) while those in New Zealand and Canada see similar earnings in US dollar equivalency at NZ$93,000 ($65,837 USD) and C$80,000 ($63,646 USD), respectively. Zoo veterinarians in the UK see annual pay of more than £42,000 ($50,651 USD) while those in South Africa earn R486,000 ($39,296 USD) and in India, the annual salary can reach Rs489,000 ($7,629 USD). Salaries vary worldwide for zoo veterinarians based on geographic region, professional experience, and work setting with details provided in this guide.
How Much Does a Zoo Veterinarian Make per Year?
Annual and hourly wages for zoo veterinarians are outlined in the chart below.
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Factors that Influence the Zoo Veterinarian Salary
While geographic region and professional work experience can strongly affect overall earnings, the type of work these professionals engage in makes work setting less of an influence on earning potential. Information on salaries, bonus pay, and career insight for zoo veterinarians are provided in this guide.
1. Geographic Area
Zoo Veterinarian Salary in US
Zoo veterinarians in the US earn nearly $83,000 per year, or $40 per hour, plus an additional $1,400 in bonus income pay. The average early career salary for those with up to three years’ experience is just under $59,000 per year while senior level pay exceeds $102,000 annually.
Zoo Veterinarian Salary in Canada
In Canada, zoo veterinarians see annual earnings that top C$80,000 per year in base salary and bonus income can add nearly C$1,400 to overall earnings. Hourly wage earners receive C$39 per hour, on average. Entry level zoo veterinarians earn nearly C$57,000 per year while those at the senior level see annual pay exceeding C$99,000.
Zoo Veterinarian Salary in UK
The average annual pay for zoo veterinarians in the UK is more than £42,000, or £20 per hour, with more than £700 in additional bonus pay. Early career zoo veterinarians with up to three years’ experience earn roughly £30,000 per year while the most experienced senior level professionals receive close to £53,000 annually.
Zoo Veterinarian Salary in Australia
Zoo veterinarians in Australia earn an average annual base salary of nearly AU$111,000 and an additional AU$1,900 in bonus pay incentives. The average hourly wage is AU$53 per hour. Entry level zoo veterinarians see an average starting salary of more than AU$78,000 per year compared to their senior level colleagues with average annual pay of more than AU$137,000.
Zoo Veterinarian Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, zoo veterinarians earn about NZ$93,000 per year, equating to roughly NZ$45 per hour. An additional NZ$1,500 or more can be earned through bonus pay. On average, entry level salaries for those entering this career are about NZ$66,000 per year while senior level positions garner an average annual salary of more than NZ$115,000.
Zoo Veterinarian Salary in India
Annual earnings for zoo veterinarians in India are nearly Rs489,000, plus another Rs8,300 in bonus pay. Hourly wage earners receive an average of Rs235 per hour Those with up to three years’ experience earn more than Rs350,000 per year compared to senior level professionals who receive more than Rs615,000 annually.
Zoo Veterinarian Salary in South Africa
In South Africa, zoo veterinarians see annual earnings exceeding R486,000 in base salary and another R8,200 or more in bonus pay. Early career zoo veterinarians see annual pay that tops R347,000 while the most experienced in senior level positions receive nearly R608,000 per year.
Additional professional experience can potentially boost overall earnings an additional 73% to 77% for zoo veterinarians. Those in the UK may see lower incomes compared to some regions, the rate of growth is among the highest at 77%, or £23,000 more per year for senior level professionals compared to their entry level counterparts. While annual salaries in the US are among the highest, the difference between senior level and entry level pay is about $43,000 more per year, an increase of 73%. Annual salaries are less in India; however, senior level professionals earn roughly Rs265,000 more per year compared to those early in their careers, an increase of 76%.
Due to the nature of their work, zoo veterinarians typically work in zoo settings and animal habitats, though some may be self-employed with their own private veterinarian clinics and work on a contract basis for these larger facilities. Some also work in research laboratories that engage in the prevention of animal extinction. Self-employed zoo veterinarians may have greater flexibility in their work and receive higher earning potential. Private sector employment may also offer higher salaries and the opportunity for bonus pay compared to those who work in publicly-funded organizations.
Zoo veterinarians often work full-time schedules of 40 or more hours per week, though there are some opportunities for part-time employment. Most work during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. Additional on-call hours for animal emergencies and births may be required, potentially adding work time in the evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Benefits packages for zoo veterinarians are typically comprehensive and include healthcare coverage and paid time off. Some may also offer retirement savings plans and additional perks like meal allowances or conference attendance fees. Bonus incentives are common worldwide, but do not significantly add to overall earnings. Those who are self-employed usually must cover these expenses and part-time zoo veterinarians may be ineligible for these benefits or bonus pay.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 18% growth among veterinarians, including those who specialize in zoo animals, between 2016 and 2026. These employment opportunities may be more prevalent in larger urban areas where zoos and animal habitats or sanctuaries are located rather than smaller communities. To work as a zoo veterinarian, one must complete a doctor in veterinary medicine degree, followed by internships and residency lasting up to an additional four years. Additional training and experience related to specific species and exotic animals may be required.
Zoo veterinarians earn solid salaries with the opportunity to further increase earnings through bonus pay. A full range of benefits are also often provided to those working in this career field. While some are self-employed, many are part of the permanent animal care staff of zoos and animal habitats. Faster than average growth is expected in this career field, which should support income levels and offer sufficient employment opportunities for newly trained professionals.