You’ve all heard of the top-tier journals Science and Nature, right? They’re the ones that will pave your way to academic stardom if you can manage to get your name published somewhere inside.
Nature evidently finds our veterinary profession newsworthy enough to run a feature summarizing the U.S. National Research Council’s recent report on Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine. Check out that link for the full report. I’ve skimmed bits of it and there is some really interesting and in-depth information on the future of our profession.
Back in October, however, Nature published this article titled, “Beyond the Farm: Veterinary expertise is an advantage for researchers hoping to stem disease outbreaks and bolster food safety.” A PDF of the article can be downloaded here.
The article summarizes the key findings of the NRC report while also bringing in some stories and quotations from individual veterinarians working in non-traditional fields.
So what do you need to take away from this news, and from the NRC report in general?
The job market for uncommon veterinarians is looking good!
You’ve probably heard lots of people throw around the “shortage” term when talking about our profession. Yes, there is a shortage, now and into the future. But it’s not in the market for small animal clinical veterinarians. It’s probably not even in the market (or lack thereof) for rural vets willing to do old-fashioned large animal practice. In Nature‘s words:
With the notable exception of clinical practice, shortages haunt pretty much all the sectors in which veterinarians typically look for jobs. Within government, academia and industry, alike, positions for veterinarians with master’s degrees or PhDs remain vacant.
Do you really need another graduate degree in order to be eligible for these jobs? No. There are plenty of veterinarians working in non-traditional fields with only the veterinary degree, so don’t lose heart. This article in an academic science journal naturally focuses on the benefits that might accrue to those who add an additional degree (like I wrote about last week) to their resumes.
Here are a couple more quotations that I found especially interesting:
“People have a very narrow view of what veterinarians do,” says Bonnie Buntain, a public-health expert at the University of Calgary in Canada who started out as a horse veterinarian. “Who would have thought that a horse vet from Hawaii would be guiding national regulations on food safety and humane animal treatment in Washington DC at the USDA, and then be offered a tenured professor position?”
Mary McConnel, a strategic initiatives director at Pfizer, says that her combination of a DVM and a master’s in business seemed to be in demand. As soon as she sent her CV to Pfizer, “they were after me like a bat out of hell”, she says. McConnel enjoys her job as a consultant for veterinary businesses, and the generous salary that goes with it.
I would highly recommend that you take a look at this encouraging article and the accompanying report. They’ve definitely inspired me as I wonder about what the future might hold for my own veterinary career!
What about you? Does this article give you any new ideas?