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Veterinarians: What kind of hours are you working currently?

Do you normally work 40 hours a week?

This question was asked anonymously by a junior in high school

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Subject: Career question for you

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Houcine’s Answer

Hello,

As a junior in high school considering a career as a veterinarian, it's great that you're exploring different aspects of the profession. Veterinarians' work hours can vary based on their specific role and practice. While some may work a standard 40-hour week in clinics, others, especially those in emergency or specialty practices, may have irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Veterinarians in research, academia, or public health roles may also have schedules that differ from a typical 9-to-5 workweek. It's essential to consider the type of veterinary practice you're interested in and the associated work hours as you explore this field further.

As you continue your journey, connecting with practicing veterinarians, shadowing opportunities, or speaking with professionals in the field can provide valuable insights into the varied work schedules within the veterinary profession.

Best wishes as you navigate your future career choices!

Warm regards,
Houcine
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Xiaojie Johan’s Answer

Hello,

My hours are usually 40 hours a week, but it depends from week to week. Sometimes, it is 50 hours, but it really depends on the week. I'd say if you are interested in working in consulting, a standard 9 to 5 is not what this career track entails.

Hopefully this helps.

Best regards,

Johan
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Michael’s Answer

I like your question. The 40 hour work week has been in place for some time in the majority of professions and even applies to veterinarians to some degree. I wouldn't pretend to know all the history behind this important social gain, but suffice it to say it allows for a certain balance between your personal life and work. I am currently employed as public health veterinarian working for the USDA. As a federal employee, I pay attention to how our employer protects and supports our lives as people. The type of company that we provide inspection services for works for more than 40 hours a week, especially in the winter. Any time that I work past the 40 hours it is counted as overtime, and it is paid at a higher rate than normal work. Veterinarians are often in a position of responsibility that do not allow them to be the last ones arriving in the morning, nor the first ones leaving in the afternoon/evening. Physicians traditionally took their Thursdays, which I always thought was a privilege, but when you realize how much they work, you understand why this was the case. As was already pointed out by others, depending on the type of work you will be doing as a veterinarian, your hours may not be regular. I think it all comes down to animals not always being sick within a 40 hour work week. For small animals, for example, it is not necessarily that animals tend to get sick on the weekend or at night, but their sicknesses are usually not reported by their owners until the owners have a chance to notice or doing something about it, outside of their work schedule. For horses, foal bearing appears to occur more frequently when things are quiet, late at night or very early in the morning. It is an important question when veterinarians are often working too many hours and it is one of the factors impacting their mental health. Let's continue to think about how to address the challenges that affect our profession.
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