Government agencies need veterinarians, study reveals

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Washington — The federal government is hiring, and veterinarians rank as the most sought after by Uncle Sam.

WASHINGTON — The federal government is hiring, and veterinarians rank as the most sought after by Uncle Sam.

"Where the Jobs Are: The Continuing Growth of Federal Job Opportunities," released in February, takes a comprehensive look at the government's hiring projections. The result: There's plenty of opportunity for DVMs.

In the next two years, the government will be making a big push in five high-skilled areas including engineering and sciences fields, reports the study, conducted by the Partnership for Public Service and the National Academy of Public Administration. Of the projected 23,806 new hires in this arena, many jobs will go to veterinarians, the study says.

"The threat of bioterrorism has increased the government's demand for scientists," the study says, adding the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to hire 400 food-safety specialists and almost 1,000 more trained experts in biological sciences. The Department of Health and Human Services will hire the most new biological scientists — 2,215, the study says.

"USDA is marketing itself as an employer of choice, expediting the hiring process and utilizing intern programs to increase the pipeline of new talent," the study says. "In addition, USDA is making use of all available hiring authorities, such as the use of direct-hire authority to hire veterinarians who are difficult to attract and essential in protecting the safety of the food supply, as well as using pay flexibilities."

USDA reports 1,663 employees in veterinary science at an average 52 years of age. Five percent will be eligible to retire in fiscal year 2005. By fiscal year 2009, that number is projected to reach 41 percent. New hires for 2002-2003 reached 248. This year, 105 veterinarians are expected to join the federal agency.

The study was funded via a grant by The New York Times Job Market. To view the complete report, visit www.ourpublicservice.org.

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