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Exploring Animal Health Jobs as a Veterinary Professional

One of the biggest trends happening in the Veterinary profession right now is that there are many veterinarians who want to explore Animal Health jobs and make the transition from Veterinary clinical practice. This has been a trend within the profession for quite a few years and it does not look like it’s going to reverse itself anytime soon. According to a study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, at least 25% of veterinarians in clinical practice want to explore Animal Health jobs outside of clinical veterinary practice.

Many of you may be reading industry journals and looking online and noticing that there are ads for positions within your area of expertise in the veterinary industry. This might be causing you to stop and pause for a second. You enjoy your practice, but perhaps you’ve always wondered what else is out there besides private practice.


Job Opportunities Outside of Private Practice

There are six areas of opportunity that exist outside of private practice for Veterinary professionals. They include the following:

  1. Government
  2. Academia
  3. Military
  4. Non-profit organizations
  5. Associations
  6. Industry

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus specifically on opportunities in industry. The Animal Health industry is comprised of companies that make products or offer services for pet owners and veterinarians. There is a wide array of companies that operate within the industry. This means that there are more employment opportunities and Animal Health jobs available to you.

The types of companies within the Animal Health industry include the following:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Vaccines
  • Medical Equipment
  • Medical Supplies
  • Pet Foods
  • Insurance
  • Laboratory/diagnostic services
  • Laboratory supplies/equipment


Reasons to make the switch from practice to industry

Keep in mind that veterinarians are hired in almost every business that makes, provides, or sells these types of products and services. Once again, this represents a sizeable number of opportunities. So now we know where Animal Health jobs exist.  So let’s move to why veterinarians leave their private practice to work in industry.

Some of the more common reasons include the following:

  • They want to look for a new challenge and broaden their skill base
  • Disillusionment: basically, they thought that private practice would be more fulfilling than it is, and now they want to seek something else.
  • Allergies
  • Injury
  • Partial retirement
  • They want better compensation, better benefits
  • Better quality of life
  • More flexibility

The reason that you’re seeking to leave your Veterinary practice is important, so that’s not something you should dismiss or overlook. Keep this in mind. Companies want to hire people who have a positive reason for change, such as they are looking for a greater challenge or want to move to the business side. On the other hand, employers are NOT looking to hire people who just want to escape practice or are running away from something. They want to hire candidates who are motivated for the right reasons.


Categories of Animal Health jobs

There are a couple of things you should consider when thinking about making a move to the Animal Health industry. First, the transition may require you to be farther away from working with animals. If you love working with animals, then that is something that should definitely be part of your decision-making process.

Second, while you might be tempted to think that you’re wasting your veterinary school degree because you’re not in practice, you may actually have the opportunity to impact more animals by working in the Animal Health industry instead.

It all comes down to what is most important to you. Once you know what those things are, then you can make sound decisions regarding your career.

The following is a quote by Dr. Dan Green, who was a veterinarian working in industry:

“I realized I could do more good, and help more animals, by spreading the information about new treatments in veterinary medicine than I had done in 18 years of emergency medicine. I touch so many veterinarians and hopefully inspire them to do better quality medicine.”

This article will present the different categories of Animal Health jobs that are available in industry. We’ll present each one and then analyze some of the specific Animal Health jobs that are included within those categories. Overall, there are seven categories of Animal Health job opportunities in industry. Those categories are:

  1. Professional or Technical Services
  2. Pharmacovigilance
  3. Regulatory Affairs
  4. Sales and Marketing
  5. Liaison/Cross functional
  6. Business Development
  7. Research and Development


Animal Health jobs: Professional Services

The first category on the list is Professional Services. Animal Health jobs exist within Professional Services for different species of animals. These include companion animal, equine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, poultry, and swine. What are the duties involved with positions within Professional Services? Some of those duties include:

  • Providing product information to veterinarians
  • Presenting seminars to sales staff and practicing veterinarians
  • Speaking about an organization’s products or services
  • Providing technical support to marketing
  • Providing technical training
  • Riding with sales reps

But what about some of the characteristics and requirements of these types of Animal Health jobs?

First of all, these jobs typically require at least five years of private practice experience. Professional Services is a good transition point from practice to industry, and sometimes you can advance to other jobs and continue developing your career.

Keep in mind that there is heavy travel involved with these positions. In fact, you might be traveling up to 75% of the time. The good news is that in many cases, you can secure a company car or at the very least a car allowance.


Professional Services: Veterinary Affairs Manager

Different organizations call Professional Services by different titles, including Technical Services. An example of a Professional Services job is Veterinary Affairs Manager. This is an actual Animal Health job that companies want to fill. There are four main responsibilities that a person in this position has:

  1. They position the organization as a leader among the academic community and practicing veterinarians.
  2. They provide technical training and development in the areas of sales and distribution.
  3. They assist with calling on key accounts.
  4. They’re responsible for the delivery of technical presentations.

The qualifications for this particular Animal Health job is as follows:

  • The person must have a veterinarian degree.
  • Not only that, but a MBA, advanced training, and board certification is preferred.
  • The person should also have two to five years of practice or veterinary experience, and a current Veterinary license is preferred.
  • One to three years in the Animal Health industry
  • In addition, they should have one to three years of public speaking experience, and they should have sales, communication, or marketing experience.
  • People in this position should also possess excellent communication skills, presentation skills, and computer proficiency.
  • As we mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of travel, too. This position involves up to 80% travel, including overnights and some weekends.


Professional Services: Specialty Account Veterinarian

Another example of a Technical Services position is a Specialty Account Veterinarian. The main responsibility involves making sales calls and sales presentations to boarded Veterinary specialists in specialty referral hospitals throughout the region.

The qualifications for this Animal Health job include:

  • A DVM or related degree, plus P&L responsibility
  • Of course, the person must be able to sell to boarded veterinary specialists.
  • As part of that person, an outgoing, confident individual is often hired to fill the position.
  • Once again, travel is a consideration. This position involves 75% travel, and overnights is required.


Animal Health jobs: Pharmacovigilance

The next category of Animal Health jobs is Pharmacovigilance. A veterinarian who works within this category handles complaints about a product and then follows up on those complaints. This includes handling the reporting and tracking of these complaints and working with regulatory agencies on the reporting. To that end, those in Pharmacovigilance work with a database such as PV Works.

Here is a job description for a Pharmacovigilance Veterinarian:

  • They review adverse event and product defect claims for accuracy, completeness, and consistency prior to being submitted to the Regulatory Affairs Group.
  • They also apply regular knowledge to all Pharmacovigilance practices, assist with the formation of assessments in adverse event cases, and ensure those assessments are included in the case report.
  • In addition, they collaborate with Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance to analyze the trending results and they communicate those results internally.
  • Lastly, they assist Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance in the generation of product reviews for submission, and they also assist Veterinary Technical Services.

In terms of qualifications and requirements associated with this position, a Pharmacovigilance Veterinarian:

  • Must have a DVM or equivalent degree.
  • They must have at least five years of private practice and/or clinical experience, and they must have a valid license to practice veterinary medicine in the United States.
  • They should also have one year of pharmacovigilance experience and be computer literate.
  • This person should have an understanding of companion animal veterinary medicine and practice and equine and livestock experience would also be beneficial.
  • Another requirement is knowledge of current U.S. regulations relating to post-marketing product safety.
  • There is only a 5% travel requirement, although some international travel may be involved.


Animal Health jobs: Regulatory Affairs

The third category of Animal Health job opportunities is Regulatory Affairs. People who work within this category are in charge of all communications with the appropriate regulatory body, including the FDA, the EPA, the USDA, and even foreign regulatory agencies. An example of this would be a Regulatory Affairs Manager taking a new drug concept to the FDA and negotiating with the agency about the work that must be done to get the drug approved.

The responsibilities and qualifications associated with a Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager all revolve around leadership and direction:

  • These professionals handle regulatory goals through interactions with federal and state regulatory agencies.
  • They also ensure all products receive regulatory approval, and they handle any post-approval regulatory issues that might arise.
  • They also provide input on strategic planning related to regulatory issues.

In terms of qualifications:

  • Must have an advanced scientific degree to become a Regulatory Affairs Manager. We’re talking about a DVM or a PhD.
  • You must also have between seven and 10 years working in industry, and at least three of those years should be in a leadership capacity.


Animal Health jobs: Sales & Marketing

The next category of Animal Health jobs is Sales & Marketing. This category consists of two parts: first Sales and then Marketing.

A person in sales travels to potential buyers. In our case, that would be Veterinary clinics. They present product information, and they take orders. It makes sense that those who are in this role are well-suited to working with other people and with traveling. A person in a sales role must possess persuasive skills to convince another party to buy their products or services.

On the marketing side, these professionals present a company’s products and/or services to the veterinary profession. This could include advertising and working with ad agencies, promotions, and presentations. And although marketing does require some travel, it’s typically not as much as sales. On average, marketing roles tend to involve 25% travel.


Sales & Marketing: Specialty Sales Representative

Let’s take a closer look at two specific positions within Sales & Marketing. The first position is a Specialty Sales Representative in either Swine or Bovine.

  • Their primary responsibilities are to promote and sell products in the United States market.
  • They set up and perform product demonstrations, sometimes at trade shows, and build relationships with key opinion leaders.
  • They also provide technical support and respond to customer complaints.
  • They’ll be expected to represent their company at trade shows. As we discussed, there’s travel involved in a position like this one, and it’s both domestic and international travel.

As far as qualifications are concerned, you must have a DVM degree, experience in herd production, and knowledge of the United States swine and/or bovine market.


Sales & Marketing: Senior Technical Service Veterinarian – Marketing

The second Animal Health job within Sales & Marketing is Senior Technical Service Veterinarian – Marketing. This position is a more senior-level position, and as a result, it has more responsibilities and requires more qualifications.

  • A person in this position collaborates with the Manager of Technical Services.
  • Reviews marketing material for technical accuracy and appropriateness
  • Devises marketing and advertising strategies
  • Product promotions for medical and technical accuracy
  • Represents the company at industry events and trade shows
  • Develops technical product profiles
  • Participates in the technical aspects of product positioning

In this role, the person acts as a medical authority in two ways:

  1. They write scientific articles and make presentations.
  2. They also assist in technical product training.

This person’s role within the organization is to:

  • Review national animal health conditions.
  • Then they advise senior management of specific requirements and make recommendations regarding present and future needs.
  • They collaborate with the manager to aid in networking with key opinion leaders in the Animal Health industry through veterinary organizations and technical associations.
  • They represent the organization at technical associations.
  • They keep abreast of scientific and political changes and help to influence change.

What kind of qualifications are needed for person to be a Senior Technical Service Veterinarian – Marketing? The qualifications include:

  • Must have a DVM or equivalent degree.
  • They must have five years of clinical practice experience and at least three years of industry experience and/or related business experience.
  • They should understand disease control and animal requirements
  • Ability to develop prevention programs
  • Have strong organizational and communication skills.
  • They should also have the ability to analyze research, diagnose serious animal health problems, and develop appropriate prevention programs.


Animal Health jobs: Liaison/Cross-Functional

Up next is our fifth category of Animal Health jobs, and that category is Liaison/Cross-Functional Positions. Before we look at a specific position in this category, let’s first look at some of the trends that exist in this section of the industry.

These positions are typically found in larger organizations, and they involve veterinarians who serve as a link or bridge within a number of disciplines, including:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Research & Development
  • Technical Services
  • Executive Function

Candidates for this position must be veterinarians with a strong background in business management and organizational skills. As you would expect, they should also have strong people skills. This would not be an entry-level position from practice to industry.


Liaison/Cross-Functional: Marketing Liaison Veterinarian

One of the specific Animal Health jobs we’re going to look at within this category is a Marketing Liaison Veterinarian.

This person is responsible for support of companion animal products. This includes:

  • Marketing strategies, product communications, and technical support.
  • This person must also interface with Research & Development and marketing to develop market support trials.
  • They’re also a resource for the pharmacovigilance department in the handling of difficult cases.
  • They discuss and report adverse reactions, efficacy problems, and formulation complaints.
  • They prepare and deliver technical lectures.
  • They teach sales reps.
  • They are also responsible for alerting the business regarding emerging diseases and new trends.
  • They develop key opinion leader support and attend trade shows.

Once again, since this person has so many responsibilities, there are quite a few requirements and qualifications involved. They must:

  • Have a DVM degree, at least three years of private practice work experience, and three to five years of industrial experience.
  • Specifically, they must have expertise and key focus in immunology, vaccinology, and shelter medicine and/or diabetes.
  • They must also possess excellent communication skills—including verbal, written, and listening skills—as well as good presentation skills.
  • They have to work effectively with cross-functional teams, and they travel approximately 30% to 50% of the time.


Animal Health jobs: Business Development

We’re now up to our sixth category Animal Health jobs in industry, which is Business Development. As far as responsibilities for Animal Health jobs in this category, people in these positions:

  • Look for potential new products and make deals with other companies.
  • They foster relationships and negotiate deals with companies in the United States and abroad.

In terms of qualifications in Business Development:

  • A business degree is typical, and a technical background is necessary.
  • The person must have a track record in a business development leadership role with capabilities to manage and support all business development activities.
  • Also, human or veterinary pharmaceutical experience is required. Typically, they want veterinary experience. This would also not be an entry-level role from practice to industry. I know a number of veterinarians who work in business development-type roles.


Animal Health jobs: Research & Development (R&D)

This brings us to the last of our seven categories, and that category is Research & Development.

Keep in mind that this an area that you’ll want to explore if you still want hands-on work with animals and you have an interest in clinical medicine.

Many of these positions are open to veterinarians, although some do require additional training.


Research & Development: Manager of Clinical Development

The position we’ll be analyzing for this category is Manager of Clinical Development. A person in this role must:

  • Develop and execute comprehensive plans for products in clinical development, design and write study protocols, and select veterinary investigators to execute clinical trials.
  • They also oversee and monitor studies, which includes writing study reports and interpreting study results.
  • In addition, they prepare submissions to regulatory agencies, provide support to commercial operations, and present the results of studies to the scientific community.

In terms of qualifications, a person in this role must have:

  • A Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and/or a PhD in an Animal Health-related area.
  • They should have at least one year of experience in product development within or closely associated to the animal health pharmaceutical industry. Although this is not absolutely necessary, it is a preferred requirement.
  • They should be self-motivated, possess good interpersonal skill, and possess the ability to lead and work within and across interdisciplinary teams.
  • As far as travel is concerned, they travel approximately 25% in the United States and there is also some limited international travel.


How The VET Recruiter can help

Something to keep in mind about making the move from practice to industry is that there have been and continue to be mergers and acquisitions in the Animal Health industry. When a merger or acquisition occurs, companies don’t need two of each department. As a result, they reduce redundancies. That can lead to employees being overworked, and when that happens, those employees may start to look for another job.

Consequently, there are two things happening at the same time. First, there are veterinarians working in clinical practice who are looking for Animal Health jobs in industry. Second, because of ongoing mergers and acquisitions, there are experienced professionals already working in industry who are looking for new Animal Health jobs. This creates more competition for the jobs that exist. Because there is more competition, those looking for jobs in industry do not have as much leverage as those who are looking for jobs in practice.

Because there is more competition and less leverage for candidates in the Animal Health industry, candidates might have to make sacrifices, including those looking to make the transition from practice to industry. For example, you may have to relocate for a new Animal Health job in industry, when that might not be the case for a job in practice. So if you’re looking to make the move from practice to industry, be prepared to be flexible and also to meet the requirements of the employer.

The VET Recruiter has more than 25 years of experience working with job seekers, candidates, and employers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. Our recruiters have also helped Veterinary professionals explore Animal Health jobs in an effort to make the transition from Veterinary practice to the Animal Health industry.

There are companies right now that have Animal Health job openings available for the right candidates. If you believe that you’re ready to make this move in your career, we would love the opportunity to consider your qualifications.

Click here to see examples of The VET Recruiter’s placements. These are all examples of real positions we have filled in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession.

We’re eager to hear about your needs and how we can help you. Contact us today for more information about The VET Recruiter’s services for candidates by calling (918) 488-3901 or (800) 436-0490 or by sending an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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