Become a Veterinary Practice Manager – The Role and Where to Study
A veterinary practice manager runs the business, allowing veterinarians to spend more time treating animals. Vet clinics that use veterinary practice managers tend to have higher productivity levels, because the veterinarians can look to serving more clients while the manager takes care of the practice’s administration.
In a typical day, veterinary practice managers may:
- Manage financial activities, including billing, monitoring inventory and budgeting
- Organize patient paperwork and process insurance
- Offer client services to patients through communication and problem-solving
- Involve the practice with community events and outreach
This is just a small list of the administrative tasks practice managers oversee, and each practice manager’s tasks will be unique to their practice.
Education for Practice Managers
While veterinarians must seek an advanced doctorate degree, veterinary practice managers do not need a degree to begin an entry-level administrative position. However, completing a short certificate program will enhance the career of a veterinary practice manager and enable them to receive CVPM endorsement from the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA).
Here are a couple of training options that offer veterinary practice management programs:
- Penn Foster College is an online school offering a 19-credit-hour certificate in veterinary practice management. More information here.
- Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) offers business certificate programs that allow new vets to open their own business, because it gives them the business skills that their traditional veterinary training didn’t provide.
Pay Rate for Veterinary Practice Managers
In 2015, the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) conducted a survey to study the income of veterinary practice, office and hospital managers. Their findings showed that practice managers earned a median income of $50,000 per year in 2015, an increase of 6 percent from 2013 median. It looks like the income rate is on the rise for this career field.
What Does it Take to Become a Veterinary Practice Manager?
After graduating or earning your high school diploma or GED, it’s wise to complete a program ending in a veterinary practice management certificate or business degree. Then, gain important hands-on skills by entering the workforce. Find a job training as a practice administrator to gain on-the-job experience.
After completing at least 18 credit hours of training and gaining at least three years of work experience, practice managers may apply to be Certified Veterinary Practice Managers (CVPMs). Applicants must also verify 48 hours of continued education and submit four personal reference letters.
The CVPM endorsement is very helpful on the resume of veterinary practice managers, as it demonstrates their high standards in the veterinary field.
Practice Managers in the Workplace
The type of workplace for veterinary practice managers varies, as practices could be large animal hospitals or small, private clinics. Anywhere veterinarians work, you’ll probably find practice managers making sure everything is running smoothly. Practice managers may run emergency clinics and work in training facilities.
Since veterinarian employment is expected to increase 19 percent by the year 2026, you can imagine that the demand for vets will create a demand for more veterinary practice managers. The odds look good in the future for this career path. Anyone who has a strong love for animals and an equally strong desire to work in administration should consider becoming a veterinary practice manager for a life-long rewarding career.