The VHMA Files: Results from the 2013 Compensation and Benefits Survey
True confession: Managers love their jobs, but many are curious about how their salary and benefits compare to other practice managers. The VHMA's 2013 Compensation and Benefits Survey reveals which factors impact earnings.
The tough truth about salaries
The type of practice a manager is affiliated with can also impact compensation. Practice managers working in emergency practices earned the highest salaries but worked the longest hours. Of all hospital administrators who responded to the survey, the 4% who worked in specialty practices reported the highest average salary. Hospital administrators managing more than one hospital reported a 25% increase in salary. Small animal hospital administrators worked the fewest hours but, in general, earned the lowest salaries.
Seniority is a weak driver of salary. And, in many cases, salaries trended lower as seniority among managers and administrators increased.
The issue with benefits
Office managers received an average of two weeks paid vacation each year. And practice managers and administrators received an average of three weeks.
Hospital administrators received more comprehensive benefits; office managers were likely to receive the weakest benefits. Continuing education and veterinary product discounts are benefits enjoyed by all managers. Hospital administrators are most likely to receive health insurance. The median co-payment for health insurance among all managers runs between 78% and 90%.
Since the last VHMA survey in 2011, veterinary managers and administrators have experienced a decline in salaries. Traditionally, seniority and experience have resulted in higher salaries but the survey results indicated that these factors do not guarantee higher salaries. Managers committed to earning higher salaries would benefit from enrolling in certification or advanced degree programs or negotiating a profit sharing arrangement with their employer.
Visit http://https://dvm360.com/VHMA for an overview of job responsibilities by title for office managers, practice managers and hospital administrators in veterinary practice. You'll also find the 2013 Compensation and Benefits Survey methodology and more data that outlines how credentials change what you make.
Christine Shupe, CAE, is the executive director of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. The association is dedicated to serving professionals in veterinary management through education, certification and networking.