The Special Features of The Veterinary Profession in Finland
The veterinary profession in Finland is undergoing a change along with the change in agricultural structureand also due to the higher demand for specialisation in subdisciplines.
There are about 2 170 veterinarians in Finland (2012). Of these, a number a bit more than 400 work as municipal veterinarians and local veterinary officers. The municipal veterinarian deals not only with the traditional veterinary tasks but also with governmental duties, e.g. food hygiene in a larger extent than ever and also animal welfare.
The government employs approximately 150 veterinarians for the moment. This number includes veterinarians working at the National Agency for Food Hygiene and Veterinary Medicine, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Helsinki University and the central government run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
There are a bit more private practitioners than municipal veterinarians - approximately 500. The private practitioners are almost exclusively in the small animal or equine business, with only a few of them working full time with production animals and herd health. This is a special feature of Finland, in which the municipal veterinarians earlier used to treat all animals, large and small. The first private clinics were established not earlier than during the 1970's in Helsinki. There is more than 225 private clinics in Finland.
Nowadays some 70 new licentiates of veterinary medicine are graduated at the Helsinki university each year. Most of the younger veterinarians are female; more than 60% of the profession is female, while the percentage of female students today is 92 % (2009). There is also about 130 finns studying vaterinary medicine in Estonia, in Estonian University of Life Sciences, Eesti Maaulikool.
Despite the high overall unemployment rate in Finland, the situation among veterinarians is good. During 2011 only a few veterinarians were unemployed. The figures can be explained by the fact that slightly less than 300 young veterinarians are very mobile and work shorter periods in different areas of the country, without having a private practice ofvtheir own. Usually these settle down after a few years of gathering experience and constant moving.
The rest of the veterinarians are within the industry, other than veterinary fields or simply retired.