An aquatic, or marine, veterinarian specializes in the treatment and preventative care of marina animals. She may work for an aquarium, zoo, research facility or charitable organization and may care for fish, invertebrates and marine mammals. Her training is comparable with that of other veterinarians, and her duties will range from performing immunization treatments, monitor the health of animals in captivity, treating sick or injured animals, planning and adapting environmental and dietary programs, and taking measures to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases, particularly when introducing new animals into an environment. Her salary depends upon her employment circumstances.
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In a survey conducted by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009, the mean annual salary for veterinarians of all types, including marine specialists, was listed as $90,110, equivalent to $43.32 per hour. The median salary for the occupation was $80,510. The top ten percent achieved an average of $142,910, and the lowest-earning ten percent received wages of $47,670. An aquatic veterinarian may receive augmentative benefits such as paid vacation time and health insurance, depending on the individual terms of her employment contract.
Salary by Employer
Salary levels for an aquatic veterinarian are not uniform across all the different sectors of industry where she can find employment opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists medical and diagnostic laboratories as offering the highest salaries--$114,590. Scientific research and development services offered an average of $97,620, while positions within federal government agencies brought rewards of $84,200. A marine vet conducting research and teaching in an academic milieu received a mean salary of $72,350.
Salary by Location
Where an aquatic veterinarian practices her profession will also affect the wage level she achieves. The May 2009 data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that New Jersey offers the best pay rates, averaging $117,170 per year. Connecticut and Florida are the nearest rivals--$116,150 and $105,540 respectively. Wisconsin, Colorado and Idaho offer similar pay levels--$74,680, $74,670 and $73,760 respectively. In terms of the metropolitan level, Miami, Florida, tops the table at $162,650. In contrast, the Fort Collins, Loveland district of Colorado was listed at just $68,600.
The job market for veterinarians of all sorts, including those specializing in marine animals, should be reasonably buoyant in the immediate future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 33 percent increase in opportunities through 2018, with more vacancies than qualified practitioners to fill them. As a result, aquatic veterinarians should continue to receive good levels of compensation.