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

Responses: 67


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?


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


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

Operation Assistance

I'm currently an RVT student and I want to let you know that you naturally will overcome the fear of blood/surgeries. I used to feel like I could faint at the sight of blood, but now I'm poking animals veins and drawing blood on the reg. Not to mention also watching surgeries and working with cadavers (sometimes even just one body part of the animal, such as a dogs head) If you love animals that much, this is probably a good field for you. I thought I absolutely loved animals, and I do, but honestly the 2 year school I'm attending is so incredibly stressful to the point that I no longer want to work with animals anymore. It's sad how the schooling can completely shatter your dreams. I personally do not recommend this field to anyone. It is not worth the stress or money that you have to go through in your youthful years during college. I am telling you, the stress is HORRIBLE. But I must say, it definitely is the PERFECT career for some people. (I think...)
—Guest Marie

Love it, but can't make it.

I went to Hickey college here in Missouri. Program was hard and expensive. My loan will be a total of $30,000. They want like $350 a month. I now work for 2 clinics part time and pull in about $1000 a month. Love my job and the people I work with so much at the clinic I've been at for 3 years, but I can't pay the bills looking for a new career.
—Guest Lindzbobo

Something needs to change

I think that we as Techs need to fight for our salaries. The problem is that clinics find us replaceable with new Grads that they can pay barely anything. NEW GRADS: Ask for higher wages, and it will help our profession as a whole. One of the biggest problems I find is that Vets don't charge for our services because they want to be nice and give the owners a break (and partly because the way that clients judge good veterinary medicine is by prices). We expose ourselves to radiation, put ourselves at risk of being bitten, and we need to be compensated for it. I make sure the Vets I work with know how I feel about them not charging for my services. I feel that it is a slap in the face, and almost says that we aren't worth the cost. I love my job, and I encourage all the new Tech I work with to continue to grow in the field, and specialize. Be proud of your skills, and make sure you are being compensated. We are all smart enough to be doing human medicine, but we choose to work with pets.
—Guest Lee Lee

a lil disappointed

I did a little research and the average salary for a vet tech in my area (Richmond, VA) is about $30k to $35k. I would expect a single person could live somewhat comfortably off this. But it does seem rather low for the responsibility that comes with this job. I was looking to work my way up to a tech. I am currently a receptionist at a vet and only make $8.00/hour. I am studying a vet assistant course now and I am not expecting a huge jump in pay. I was hoping to make about $20k a year as an assistant because assistants also have quite a bit of responsibility. I can't say I was hoping techs could make maybe up to $50k/year but I guess not. :/ Now I'm wondering if I should try and go into human nursing as an RN. I love animals but I would like to make a comfy living. I think the highest pay an RN can make is up to $80k/year after probably a good 20 years working.
—Guest Heather

I love it, but redonkulious

We are way better than human nurses- we are surgical nurses, anesthesiologists, radiology technicians, flabotomists, dental hygenists, AND receptionists...kennel help too, hahaha- no one will ever understand, unless you're an awesome vet tech!!!
—Guest Lafrance


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


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

Can love & money coexist?

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

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