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

Responses: 61

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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.

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

Money!!

I agree RVT don't make a ton of money. But if money was just the case we all would be actors/actresses or athlets and make millions. So if you love animals, are comfortable with animals,and love what you do then the money is just a bonus. Those that said that RVT did well cause their (spone) most likely works. Well i don't know about you but i would want my spose to work and make a life for themselfs. So those that just want money, i suggest going into computers not animal care.
—Guest joshua

DO NOT GO THIS ROUTE!!! READ THIS!!!

I went to school in San Diego, CA. I paid $24,000 for school, and I am making $8.50 an hour. Last year I made less than $9,000. Rent here, for a small 1 bedroom apartment, runs around 1100 per month. Not including utilities. I really wish I would have researched this before I paid all that money for school. Since I am STILL forced to live at home, I have decided to change career paths. I also do not like cats freaking out on my, and dogs trying to bite me. I have had to go to the ER due to a dog bite, not my fault either! You are always on your hands and knees, ALWAYS. I feel DISGUSTING after work, covered in dirt, grease from dogs fur, and covered in hair. I have acne and diarrhea from all the stress. I am constantly being watched for a mistake, and I am one of the best workers at my place of work. I will never be good enough for my manager. All in all, I AM ALWAYS BROKE. BROKE. BROKE. AND I HAVE NO LIFE! I WORK 10-11 HOUR DAYS 4-5 DAYS A WEEK!
—Guest Poor Gal

Living a Fantasy

I don't know if anyone else is finding this problem: I am an RVT in Missouri where there used to be only 1 accredited Vet Tech program. When I went to school, there were 3, now there are a lot more. By the time I graduated and became registered fully by taking the VTNE and my state's test, jobs are scarce. I can either work for a very small private practice and be their very first RVT instead of someone they trained off the street and make $8.50 an hour or keep calling and begging the specialty practices I really want to work at hoping something will open up. No one is leaving their positions right now and any job that is available gets about 500 resumes sent and there's always a tech that has more experience than me. I am a Mom who took time off to raise my son because I was married. Now I'm getting a divorce and questioning my career path because I can't make a living from a career as a Vet Tech. Jobs anywhere are scarce right now. Choose wisely. I wouldn't go to school now
—EllenNolan

School=nervous breakdowns

I'm in one of the best Vet Tech programs in Canada. It is hell-and I've seen everyone in my class cry at least once from stress. It is incredibly fast-paced and for what? 20/hr? The fact that people with out an education can make that honestly makes me sick inside. We do all a human nurse can do and on several different kinds of animals yet, we're paid half the salary they do. Why? WHY?
—Guest A Vet Tech Student

Working with animals is awesome.

I Just wanted to add that I don't want to disparage the profession, but there's nothing wrong with wanting more financial security. Good luck out there.
—Guest Just trying to help

Please read : ) I know it's long.

I just want to say, if you enjoy school, study something else. RNs have an awesome job and make a ton of money. Honestly, for those deciding between RN and RVT; I'd strongly suggest the RN. It's hard to make a living as a tech. It is possible though. Your best bet is becoming an RVT at a community college (lower cost) then work at a government shelter if you can or an emergency clinic. Jobs at county shelters are pretty scarce and the hours at an emergency clinic can be crazy but you will make more money. This is a great college job, there's almost always jobs out there and it's good for pre-vet students; but supporting a family or even yourself? Not so much. Again it is possible but it can be really tough. I worked with a head tech that had a family of four and he did pretty well ( his wife probably worked too). On the other hand I had coworkers who were living at home in their 30's. Not to be mean or anything, just keep your options open.
—Guest Just trying to help

We are hearing the same from vet student

We are hearing these same comments from vet students. Things are as difficult as I have ever seen them for everyone. I live very simply no cable bill, minimal Internet bill but it is tough.
—Guest Oldanimaldr

oh well

i know for a fact i did not go to school to get paid high amount, its not about the money. yes, you need money to survive but im in this for the love of animals and to make a difference that i try my best to do everyday. i wouldnt trade this job for the world.
—Guest lassy

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