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Readers Respond: Are vet tech salaries representative of the level of training & responsibility?

Responses: 74

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The subject of veterinary technician salaries is a hotly debated topic on this site. Is love of animals enough? Factoring in the cost of a formal vet tech education (versus on-the-job training), is this a career with adequate income for the level of training and responsibility?

You are invited to post your thoughts and experiences here. Think of this as your own mini-article.

Please note: questions or responses to others cannot be published. All entries are moderated prior to appearing live on the site.

Can love & money coexist?

Only for love of the job

I just graduated this week from an LVT program. I take my boards in a few months. In my state, you are not required to be licensed to do the job. I only went to school for it because I wanted to learn more than what they tell us at my clinic. I loved the program, and the schooling will definitely make me a better tech. There is alot of useless stuff taught in the required classes, and the most useful learning actually takes place in clinical rotations. Being able to rotate through several clinics and see different ways of doing things really hones your skills. I quit a good job in retail management because I needed the career change. If I didn't have a husband who makes great money, there is no way I could survive working in a clinic. The hours are long, the days are stressful, and the risks are great. We have to be good at all aspects of medicine, unlike human nursing where you can just be a radiology tech or a phlebotomist. I make $10/hr - less than I made just as a cashie
—Guest New Graduate

Not what people think... But so worth it

absolutely love my job as a vet tech! Some people go into tech work thinking they just get to play with cute animals all day WRONG! Poor gal... Of course ur gna get dirty and hair all over u and bitten ans shit on and pissed on... What did u think u were going to do... Play fetch all day. Maybe u should have researched the job description before spending the $ on school... Anyway animal care is harder than human care we have to figure out what is wrong where it's hurting... Humans can tell us animals can't... I believe a vet tech should be paid more than a human nurse partly because of this aspect of our job! And yeah its not the most high paying job of there but if you TRULY love animals it is so rewarding! And it is sad sometimes but we help so much more than those we can't is worth it! Don't go into this job thinking you will get to pet puppies all day cuz u won't! Just do your research and decide if it's the right career for you And yes advocate for a higher pay rate for us al
—Guest Doglover29

vet assistant

Iam a nurse assistant, and my salary is very low. I have being a nurse assistant over 20 years, and it's a shame that we don't get compensated for all the work we do. I was thinking of becoming a vet assistant because I love animals. Been a nurse aide, I have to deal with patients that are chronic complainers. And animals don't complain, judge you, or criticize you. All they want is to care for without the drama from human patients always threatening you about reporting you about the smallest things. Also human patients, are demanding, they want everything done right then and there. Is bad enough to deal with some ignorant co-workers, but also some demanding families. At least but not last, animals are better to care for because they just simply want someone to care for them, even though you have to deal with their owner and maybe pain in the neck co-workers.
—Guest olivia

Interesting

I am in my 3rd year of College pursuing my B.S. in Agriculture/Animal Science with an Option in Veterinary Health Technology- Excellent program. From research, I must say the pay is NOT well. However, I have worked at general practices clinic since 16years and I worked at IDEXX for a way making 13.60 and went back to clinics to make 11.50..That was REALLY good for me because I was about to graduate high school and in my first year in college..But I would like to say that the MOST you will earn in the career path is what you make yourself. If you want to make BIG $$ then show yourself capable of the responsibility that comes with it i say you make your own salary. I WORKED hard in clinics to learn and in the Lab but I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT . and when I get out, I plan to work in research surgical medicine makeing up to $70k.and I KNOW that it will NOT come easy...what I am saying is that you make your own salary.i worked from 6-8pm sometimes do you love vet med that much?
—Guest The Guy

Starting your own business

After I started my pet sitting business it did not take long until I was making more money than I was working as a techinician in a hospital. Even though my business is now making a little less money than in past years, I am still probably making more than I would be if I were still working in a hospital. I have kept my liscense current, but I'm not sure I could afford to return to work in a veterinary clinic. I am still not making that much money, but it is nice to be able to get by for the most part, and not have to deal with many of the stressful components of working in a hospital. I have read about veterinary technicians starting pet related businesses, and think it can be an option worth considering. Plus, I am still able to use much of the knowledge I learned training to be an RVT.
—Guest Brian

Back to my ROOTS!!!

Growing up in rural MT I was introduced and involved with about every farm and ranch critter imaginable, thus began my passion for animals. I entered college right out of high school as a Pre-vet major. Knowing everything at 19, after 18 months of school, I thought I needed a break. Its now some 25 years later, thats one hell of a break. In that time I have tried my hand at a variety of occupations,jack of all trades, master of none, and not one involved my passion,Animals. To make a long story short, I am working on a career in veterinary technology. Not in it for the money,obviously,gettin back to my roots. My parents,gettin up in years, still reside in MT, and I need to be closer to them. Employment options are few and far between in a rural farming and ranching community, so my hope is as a vet tech to secure employment, keep a roof over my head, be closer to my folks, and last but not least, a dream coming full circle."Regret is for what you didn't do,not for what you did.
—8itamazn

More money, more problems.

If you're doing it for the money, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. I understand people have responsibilities and mouths to feed, but the good need to keep trudging on. Animals are subjected to all kinds of abuse and it is up to people like us to make a difference in their life. I'm glad that this field doesn't make a lot of money, why? Because then you get people doing it for the right reasons! I can't tell you how many horrible Nurses I have personally had who clearly just went into the field for the paycheck and didn't care about their patients. I believe people should be able to live comfortably and with tight budgeting and a side business it is possible. Doesn't hurt if you have a partner to split the bills and living expenses, but where there is a will there is a way.
—Guest Student

pondering...

Am thinking of getting into animal eye care. I currently work in Ophthalmology, but think I'd enjoy it with animals.
—Guest dana

salary

I'm just in school now and it is disappointing to see the low salaries when I know how much I will owe in loans soon. But it is worth it to help the animals and even if I'm making enough to just get by, its better than being on unemployment because the bachelors degree I had didn't get me a job either
—Guest jyn

Yes you can

I think all if you need to get out of general practice and into specialty clincs with board certified departments. I work at one if the biggest veterinary hospitals in Louisiana. Board certified dermatologist, surgeons, rehab, internal medicine, and oncology. I just passed the vtne ad make 17$ an hour with 40 hours a week. I do work 12hr days in ICU and emergency. I'm off four days a week. Not bad at all. It only cost me 10,000$ in loans to go to school here. I love my job and the money I wouldn't change it for anything. Get out of those slow clinics just doing vaccines and dentals and see what the real veterinary world has to offer!
—Guest Samantha

Yes Great Pay and Love for Animal Cando

The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science has 3 levels of certification tied to pay. Assistant Lab Animal Technician, start pay 10-13.00 per hour, Lab Animal Tech (RVT) 24 - 36 K per year and Lab Animal Technologist (Supervisor)40-50 K plus per year. I worked as a Army Vet Tech and switched into lab animal science with a specialty in Genetically Engineered Mice and it paid good. While working at William Beaumont Army Medical Center my career was ruined when I reported falsified research data and scientific misconduct in a goat stem cell bone transplant in which all Phase animals died and the data was negative for the presence of the specialized osteogenic stem cell required. I was fired by Army officials for standing on the ethical and morale principals essential for the humane use of animals in biomedical research. My case is being appealed in court Google KVIA, Military,whistleblower, goat . During my appeal I have applied for RVT positions and the wages are very low
—Guest George Heath

Cost of School, VTNE and Low Wages

It is a shame that a student has to go through the two year program, then be required to take another national exam at $300 per test. A diploma should be more than enough for such a job with wages under $20 per hour! If a vet tech has a diploma, they have proved themselves time and time again with every exam they passed during those two years. The VTNE should have been worked into the diploma. When you finished school, you should have had the VTNE in hand!
—Guest Canada

You can get paid decently.

a lot of my friends are starting to get jobs at schools teaching for future RVT's and that's starting out 45,000 a year. Something ill also consider in the future.Where the money is really at is at shelters,laboratory research,and marketing example working with pet insurance or pet food yes they need technicians too. I love this profession because you can do so many cool stuff with it.You just need to be smart about it , have the drive ,work hard and do some research. Try to get experience in all area ex. Day practice,emergency,shelter,large animals,etc. Just because you went to school and got a degree doesn't automatically guarantee a good paying job, you have to work your way up and that's with every profession.I too believe we should get paid way higher but we don't and the reason why is because animal care is not mandatory like human health and humans have insurance ,the majority of animals do not.If a client can't pay then we can not provide treatment.humans' we HAVE to treat.
—Guest Cali girl

country girl

I am an RVT with now 36 years in this field. I absolutely agree that Techs do not get paid anywhere close to what we should. However, neither do veterinarians. Of course I would love to see this change! Animal hospitals are allotted a certain percentage of their income for payroll. That is the simple truth. If a clinic, or any business, offers a prospective employee a certain salary and the prospective employee agrees to work for that salary, then that employee is expected to work for that salary. If the prospective employee cannot fulfill their financial responsibilities with the offered salary that person should seek employment elsewhere. Working in the veterinary field is not for most people. Sine i have to go to work every day, it is a lot easier going to a job I enjoy. I realize that the financial aspect of a job is important. I will always hope for more money, But whether or not that ever happens, I will continue to LOVE my career and be proud that I am an RVT.
—Guest Kim

Registered nurse and veterinary nurse

I have worked in animal rescue and shelter work for the past 12 years and have also worked as an EMT and RN for the same amount of time. Although I would love to make a living working with animals, it just doesn't seem feasible. I would have to become a veterinarian to make the same amount of money I do as a Registered Nurse (and for those of you who don't think we do phlebotomy and other skills as well as advocate for patients, critically think etc obviously are not aware of what we do); I work as an RN to pay the bills, volunteer with a local animal rescue group 1-2 days a week and fill in at my local veterinary clinic as veterinary technician/nurse to fulfill my passion for animals-I have the best (and stress!! Lol!) of both worlds...
—Guest Nursingcats

Can love & money coexist?

Are vet tech salaries representative of the level of training & responsibility?

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