How to Become a Vet Office Manager

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Does a career as a vet office manager sound like something you want to do?

You could make a great career as a vet office manager if you are dedicated and love animals.

In this guide, you will learn the following:

  • How to become a vet office manager
  • Vet office manager salary
  • Job Outlook
  • Education requirements to become a vet office manager
  • Licensing and certification are required to become a vet office manager

So, now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s dive right in.


Job Description

A vet office manager oversees different aspects of a veterinary office.

Your responsibilities will vary depending on the type of facility you work in.

You manage the office’s customer service and administrative points as a vet office manager.

You will be responsible for hiring new employees, scheduling staff, training new employees, and overseeing the receptionist and administrative staff.

Besides that, you may also be responsible for performing finance duties, human resource tasks, and marketing.

While you perform your operating duties, the veterinarian is responsible for rendering services to the animals in their care.

However, as much as you love animals and will be working in an animal environment, you will have minimal interaction with them.

Duties

Here are some of the primary duties you will have working as a veterinary office manager:

  • Executing security and safety protocols
  • Hire and train new employees
  • Handle all inventory
  • Manage practice software
  • Oversee performance of practice, including fees
  • Work aside the owner, doctors, and others to handle finances

Salary

Vet office managers can expect to earn an average annual salary of $87,360, which is $42 an hour.

However, the typical range can fall between $36 and $48 an hour, with the lowest-paying vet office managers earning just about $36 an hour.

This salary varies depending on numerous factors, including hours worked, education, certifications, additional skills, and experience.

Office managers who hold licenses typically earn higher wages than those who do not.

Moreover, vet office managers who work in certain facilities open on holidays or open late will also receive higher salaries.

Average National Salary: $87,360

$65K
10%
$75K
25%
$87K
50%
$99K
75%
$110K
90%
*Salary information last updated 2024

Average Annual Salary by State

State Avg. Annual Salary
Alabama $79,386
Alaska $94,071
Arizona $84,137
Arkansas $78,695
California $95,280
Colorado $88,110
Connecticut $92,775
Delaware $87,678
Florida $82,064
Georgia $83,532
Hawaii $90,270
Idaho $80,595
Illinois $88,370
Indiana $83,791
Iowa $82,668
Kansas $82,236
Kentucky $81,286
Louisiana $82,150
Maine $84,050
Maryland $89,061
Massachusetts $93,984
Michigan $85,260
Minnesota $88,370
Mississippi $77,053
Missouri $82,323
Montana $80,681
Nebraska $81,373
Nevada $86,728
New Hampshire $87,851
New Jersey $94,675
New Mexico $79,645
New York $92,084
North Carolina $82,927
North Dakota $85,519
Ohio $84,482
Oklahoma $79,904
Oregon $87,765
Pennsylvania $86,210
Rhode Island $90,184
South Carolina $81,545
South Dakota $77,658
Tennessee $79,990
Texas $84,569
Utah $82,150
Vermont $84,741
Virginia $86,642
Washington $93,121
West Virginia $77,744
Wisconsin $85,346
Wyoming $82,841

How to Become a Vet Office Manager: Step by Step

Step 1 Receive High School Diploma

To become an office vet manager, you must earn a high school diploma.

All office managers in a practice setting must be well-educated.

Earning a high school diploma is the first step if you want to further your education and enter an undergraduate degree program.

You can expand your business skills by taking certain classes in high school.

For example, high schools offer business law, accounting, business technology, and even finance investment classes.

Surprisingly, a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for vet office managers.

Step 2 Earn an Undergraduate Degree

To further your education, you can go even further by earning an undergraduate degree.

You can earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business administration or veterinary medicine.

Depending on your degree program, the time range can be two to four years.

You will take courses in human resources, chemical dynamics, accounting, etc.

You may also consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human resource management, covering economics, budgeting, marketing, and people management.

A degree will help you gain the traction and expertise required to be a vet office manager.

Step 3 Earn Certification

This step is not necessarily required but can help when applying for vet office management positions.

You’ll find that these positions are highly competitive during your job search.

The more experience, education, and certification you have, the higher your chances are of landing a job.

Speaking of certification, it can be crucial in helping you get your dream job.

You can earn certification through the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, or VHMA.

You will have to pay a fee ranging from $675 to $825, depending on whether you are a VHMA member.

There’s also a separate list of requirements for eligibility for the CVPM exam, including three years of active employment.

You can find more qualifications listed later on in this guide.

Step 4 Gain Working Experience

A great way to jump-start your career as a vet office manager is by landing a job in a vet clinic or similar practice.

Having experience in an office setting can also be helpful and appealing to hiring managers.

Working in an office setting can help you gain the necessary skills and experience to succeed as a vet office manager.

Many employers like to see you’ve worked at least two to three years in a prior office-setting position.

And finally, since you’ll be looking to work in a certain industry, aim for entry-level office jobs in a healthcare or vet setting.

Step 5 Gain Management Skills

It’s no secret that working in an office setting will help you gain relevant experience and skills required to work as an office manager.

When gaining experience, you should also gain management skills for your next role.

For example, office vet managers should be good at communicating, organizing, budgeting, leadership, and more, to name a few.

Step 6 Apply for an Open Position

Finally, you can apply for an open position once you feel confident that you’ve acquired sufficient experience and met the requirements.

Look online for openings, but don’t limit your research to the internet.

Ask around. Perhaps friends or family may know or have heard of openings in the area.

Be sure to highlight the skills that demonstrate your management abilities on both your resume and cover letter.

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Office Vet Manager Education & Requirements

Completing a bachelor’s degree in business administration or veterinary medicine typically takes four years.

Some of the courses you will cover in the program include physiology, pharmacology, anatomy, immunology, toxicology, and surgical techniques.

If you enroll in a business administration program, you will take various courses, including corporate law, marketing, human resources, finance, accounting, and more.

During your time in school, you will learn about the many practices of veterinary medicine and entrepreneurship.

Some of the requirements needed to become an office vet manager include:

  • 5+ years of experience in a vet practice setting
  • Exceptional communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills
  • Able to utilize Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to multitask and remain calm when facing pressure
  • Have a valid driver’s license and dependable transportation

Moreover, it’s important to note that no legal requirements state you must take certain college courses to become a vet office manager.

Nonetheless, it shows employers you are knowledgeable and well-qualified to run their practice.

There are certain cases where previous office experience is necessary without formal education.

If you have the skills and experience working in a veterinary office or similar setting performing administrative-related duties, you should be good to go.

Certain employers may even require managers to have at least an associate’s degree in a business or management-related field.

An associate’s degree can take up to 24 months to complete.

This level of education ensures that office managers can perform their duties in the best possible way and earn a competitive salary.

Certification is also helpful and will be discussed in the next section.

Employers prefer applicants who are certified.

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Licensing & Certification

While having a certificate or license is not essential, it looks good to employers.

You have the option to earn certification from the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association.

No formal requirements are needed to become a vet practice manager, although taking college-level courses will enhance your skills and qualifications.

To become certified, you must have earned at least 18 semester hours of related college coursework.

The process of receiving additional certification is entirely up to you.

Certification will be awarded to those who pass the exam.

Exams are administered electronically via testing centers throughout the country.

You must pay an exam fee of $675 if you are a VHMA member.

The fee for non-members is $825.

Here are the qualifications to sit for the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager exam:

  • Must have at least three years of active employment (within the last seven years) working as a vet practice manager.
  • Have at least 18 credit hours in a business management-related program from computer science, labor relations, marketing, and accounting courses.
  • Have at least 48 hours of continuing education courses through a university or college. Continuing education may also come from a professional organization.
  • Have at least four letters of recommendation.

Moreover, to maintain certification, you must earn at least 48 professional development credits and pay a re-certification fee of $210.

The CVPM application will explain the qualifications in detail.

Many of the questions that you will be asked on the exam will range from scenario-based to multiple-choice questions.

The total number of questions on the certification exam will also vary.

However, the maximum number of points for any exam will be no more than 200.

Average Training Program Duration: 2-4 Years


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Job Outlook

The career outlook for vet office managers may change from one year to the next.

The main reason for this is fluctuations in the economy.

For example, when the economy is thriving, employers will be more inclined to hire managers and administrative assistants.

But if the economy is not doing so well, managers and administrative staff are typically the first to be laid off.

It’s also important to mention that if you are interested in becoming a vet office manager, you will face a lot of competition because there are only a limited number of positions in management and executive jobs available.

Employment Growth Projection: 20%

15,000
2020
18,000
2030

That's a higher than average projected growth of 3,000: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Vet Office Manager?

Overall Satisfaction

Overall Satisfaction: High

If you are a people person, you will thrive as a vet office manager.

Many people who hold these positions report high job satisfaction.

If you already possess the skills needed to become a vet office manager, you’ll quickly find that your duties and responsibilities come easily.

Being an office manager in any practice requires organizational and communication skills.

Most vet office managers are proud that they can make a difference in people’s lives.

Average Salary

Average Salary: High

On average, office vet managers make $87,360 per year.

This is equivalent to making $42 an hour.

This salary tends to be more on the higher side of earning potential.

However, the more experience and certification you have, the more your salary will increase.

Job Growth Outlook

Job Growth Outlook: High

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there isn’t much data regarding vet practice managers’ job outlook.

However, research does show that job growth is expected to fluctuate depending on the economy’s state.

This could lead to a lot of uncertainty about the future of your career.

The good news is that the job outlook for veterinarians is strong.

And as long as there is a need for veterinarians, there will be a constant need for office managers.

Education Duration

Education Duration: 2-4 Years

After you earn a high school diploma, it’s highly recommended that you earn an undergraduate degree if becoming a vet office manager is a goal that you’re pursuing.

You can enroll in an undergraduate program to receive an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business management or administration.

These programs can take up to four years to complete.

You can earn your certification from the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association after graduation.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

It’s important for a vet office manager to have these personal skills:

  • Ability to problem-solve effectively.
  • Ability to motivate others and take the lead when needed.
  • Being able to budget and take charge of finances is an important skill to have.
  • You will need to have both excellent verbal and written communication skills to help you better connect with your employees and form new relationships.
  • It’s critical to have empathy for those you lead.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much money does a vet office manager make a year?

An office manager makes $87,360 per year or $42 an hour.

The lowest-paid vet office managers can make around $40,000 per year, which is $3,333 per month.

Vet office managers in the 75th percentile make about $59,000 a year.

Q. What kind of education do you need to be a vet office manager?

While not required, vet office managers typically can earn a bachelor’s degree in business management or administration.

It’s also possible to earn a degree in veterinary medicine to jump-start your career as a vet office manager.

A bachelor’s degree takes about four years to complete, and you will take courses ranging from corporate law to human resources, depending on the degree program you enroll in.

Q. Are vet office managers in high demand?

Vet office manager positions are in high demand nationwide.

However, this also depends on the economy.

As mentioned earlier, if the economy is performing well, demand for these positions will ultimately become more available.

If the economy is performing poorly, positions as vet office managers will not be in demand.

With that being said, fluctuations in the economy can vary and have a direct effect on how fast you land a job.

Q. How long must you go to school to become a vet office manager?

What skills do you need to have to be a vet office manager?

To successfully work as an office vet manager, you will need to have the following skills:

  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Organizational
  • Decision-making
  • Leadership
  • Empathy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Administrative
  • Management

Furthermore, enrolling in additional courses to obtain an undergraduate degree will ensure that you learn these skills if you do not already possess them.

Q. How long must you go to school to become a vet office manager?

While there are no formal educational requirements to become a vet office manager, completing an undergraduate degree is favorable as it helps to enhance your skills and qualifications.

Depending on what degree you aim for, it could take between two and four years.

You will need an additional 18 credit hours of related college coursework for certification.


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