Veterinarians go through years of schooling to learn to treat pets or livestock. Most of them did so because of a love of animals, not the desire to manage the business side of the practice. That’s where the animal clinic manager comes in. This career combines practical business experience with helping animals. If you are detail-oriented, like animals and are good with people, this could be the job for you.
Clinics. How much an animal clinic manager gets paid depends on the size of the facility. Animal clinics are not generally as large as animal hospitals, which might have specialists on staff and offer more intensive medical procedures. However, clinics range from single to multiple-vet practices, and may offer additional services such as boarding or grooming. In the larger clinic, the manager is likely to deal more exclusively with clients, billing and paperwork. In a single practitioner’s office, the manager might do some hands-on animal work, but not to the same degree as a veterinary technician. You will be exposed to sick animals, some with contagious diseases, so keep hygiene in mind when working to avoid exposing other patients or your own pets.
Salary. According to DVM360, in 2013 office managers earned an average of $19.91 per hour, practice managers earned $21.60 per hour and veterinary hospital administrators earned $28.94, although salaried workers of all types earned slightly more than hourly workers. Information available from Payscale from 2015 indicates that these jobs pay between $30,786 and $59,287 annually. The animal clinic manager would fall among the office or practice manager salaries. Besides practice size and type, location and experience also play a role in the manager’s salary. Expect to earn more in major metropolitan areas and less in rural animal clinics.
“Expect to earn more in major metropolitan areas and less in rural animal clinics.”
Responsibilities. The clinic manager schedules patient appointments, as well as personnel schedules for vet techs, groomers, animal care workers and other non-veterinarian employees. She keeps track of inventory, especially important when dealing with pharmaceuticals. Depending on the size of the operation, she may also handle bookkeeping and payroll. She may interview and hire certain employees, as well as fire them if they don’t work out. Experience with computers and basic office software is required.
Education. The best degree for an animal clinic manager is in business or a related field, according to the Canadian Veterinary Journal. You should also have experience with animals, either as a pet owner or caregiver for small animal practices, or familiarity with equines or livestock for a large animal practice. Even if your clinic does not require you to physically deal with clients, understanding veterinary terms and related animal diseases and conditions can aid you in all aspects of your job.
If you want a career involving animals with skills you can transfer to other fields, consider becoming an animal clinic manager. Another perk – you may receive discounts from your employer for treatment of your own pets.
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