Last February, THE NEW YORK TIMES, which seems to love to cover the lousy ROI on professional-school degrees, provided the grim facts about the cost of becoming a veterinarian. Then it presented that that field's poor job prospects for Millennial graduates.
In some ways they were in worse financial shape than lawyers. For example, student loan debt could reach $300,000. The jobs which existed might pay only $40,000 or $50,000, with long hours.
That was what THE TIMES said. This evening I sat down with several Millennial veterinarians who gave me the scoop, off the record. My interest in this is high because, like many who bond better with animal companions than humans, I seriously considered a career change to that field.
Well, in their experience, it takes a while but most graduates do get jobs, most paying in the 50s or 60s. There were none of those plum $160,000 entry-level jobs there are in law. Because the pay is so relatively low the field, once dominated by men, is now primarily filled with women.
Yes, some new graduates can manage to fly solo with their own practices. Most lawyers can't pull that off since they don't know enough about the practice of law. Among vets, those who open a practice frequently succeed because they are hard-working hustlers.
Loan debt can reach $500,000 since some eager beavers took advantage of going to exotic places like China to study elephants. Others did pick up $300,000 because they had their hearts set on a dream school, got in, and turned down offers from less expensive schools. Had they been more practical the debt could have been significantly less. For example, they could have attended a vet school in their state.
These particular vets contended that it was known for about a decade that there would be a glut of graduates. However, the schools did not reduce the number admitted.
Even those in the profession wonder what bright young people with high grades are entering it instead of medical school. One man applying to U.S. vet schools from a foreign nation was chastised several times for choosing that route. Yet, he told me that some medical doctors, given the changes in healthcare payments and malpractice lawsuits, confide to him that they wish they had become vets instead. One was a cardio specialist.
The work itself is beyond satisfying. They not only love the animals but the kinds of people who become parents of animals. Not one vet regretted this decision, even though all were in debt.