How To Become A Veterinary Technician
A veterinary technician works in a clinical setting, helping sick and injured animals. They assist veterinarians with the daily requirements of the job, from administering medications to preparing for surgeries.
This is a great career choice for somebody who loves animals, is great at science, and wants to work in the medical field. It takes two years of a veterinary technician program in order to start in this profession, making this a good choice for those who want to start a career quickly.
Why Become A Veterinarian Technician
Nurses assist physicians with their everyday needs on the job. Likewise, veterinary technicians assist veterinarians with whatever needs to be done at a clinic. Veterinary technicians help with bringing animals into the clinic and getting their full medical history. They provide first aid to injured animals.
In examinations or procedures, they often need to restrain animals. They help take x-rays and other types of scans, blood samples, and more, and send them into the laboratory for diagnosis. Veterinarian technicians prepare the clinic rooms for surgery. They often administer vaccines and medications. These are only a sample of their many everyday tasks.
Often veterinary technicians start in this profession because they love animals. Technicians will work with all kinds of animals on a daily basis. It is important to note however that not every moment is a positive one.
Many animals come in because they have terminal illness, and technicians themselves will have to euthanize animals. Animal shelters are also a large component of clinics, and they may have to care for several animals that have been neglected and abandoned.
Veterinary technicians are sometimes confused with veterinary technologists. Both of these professions perform the same tasks, helping veterinarians in a clinic. The only real difference is the education involved. While a veterinary technologist must obtain a bachelor’s degree, a veterinary technician simply must graduate from a two year program.
Veterinary Technicians should possess the following qualities and skills
- Loves animals
- Good communicator
- Manual dexterity
Veterinary Technician Work Environment
Veterinary technicians work in veterinary clinics. Their main task is to support veterinarians in the everyday role in a clinic. They see a variety of animals, mainly household animals such as cats and dogs. Some clinics also see large animals such as cows, horses, pigs and other animals.
A veterinary technician may have to restrain animals, or work with animals that are scared or upset. Understanding animal behavior is important in this job. Their tasks often involve euthanizing animals or taking care of animals in a shelter, which may put an emotional toll on them.
Many veterinary clinics are open overnight and during the weekends. Veterinary technicians should be prepared for the long hours involved with this profession.
Veterinary Technician Salary
The median annual salary for veterinary technicians was $32,490 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are many factors that play a part in salary. Those with additional experience and education may be able to earn higher salaries than their peers. Also, the facility where one works can play a role in determining salary.
Veterinary technicians who work for research institutions, colleges and universities tend to earn higher salaries: $40,000 on average in 2016. Those who work in veterinary clinics may earn less. This is something to keep in mind when considering the type of environment one wants to work in.
Average Veterinary Technician Annual Salary
The average annual salary for veterinary technicians is $34,710 a year. Salaries start at $22,880 a year and go up to $49,350 a year.
Average Veterinary Technician Hourly Wage
The average hourly wage for a veterinary technician is $16.69. Hourly wages are between $11.00 and $23.73 an hour.
Stats were based out of 103,430 employed veterinary technicians in the United States.
Highest Paying States For Veterinary Technicians
- 1. Connecticut $20.85 / hr $43,360 / yr
- 2. New York $20.60 / hr $42,840 / yr
- 3. Alaska $19.79 / hr $41,160 / yr
- 4. Massachusetts $19.69 / hr $40,950 / yr
- 5. California $19.08 / hr $39,690 / yr
Top Paying Cities For Veterinary Technicians
- 1. Hartford, CT $23.72 / hr$49,340 / yr
- 2. San Francisco, CA $23.06 / hr$47,960 / yr
- 3. Framingham, MA $22.78 / hr$47,370 / yr
- 4. Johnstown, PA $22.76 / hr$47,340 / yr
- 5. Santa Cruz, CA $22.47 / hr$46,740 / yr
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Veterinary Technician Career Outlook
Employment for veterinary technicians is expected to grow by 20 percent from 2016 to 2016. Compared to the overall 7 percent growth rate for all jobs across the United States, this is a much greater rate of employment growth. Those who would like to find employment in this field should find it quite easy.
Medical professions, in general, will continue to be needed in society. People will seek out qualified experts when their animals are sick or injured and need treatment. Veterinary technicians will be needed to help veterinarians with tasks in a clinic, such as performing tests, restraining animals during procedures, administering medications, preparing animals for examinations, and other tasks.
It is quite difficult to become a veterinary technician and the rigor of the program will result in the high need of people in this field. The few people who do have credentials will be in high demand.
Veterinary Technician Degree
To learn more about becoming a veterinary technician, read about this exciting career below.
Step 1: Veterinary technician program. After completing high school, a person must enroll in a veterinary technician program. There are currently about 200 such programs across the United States. These programs take two years to complete. This is different than the program required for veterinary technologists, which is a four year program. Students will take coursework, and also work in a clinic alongside veterinarians, learning everything about the industry.
Step 2: Licensure. Each state requires that veterinary technicians be licensed to practice in their state. This includes a certification exam at the end of the veterinary technician program, which a person must take and pass. States vary with their requirements, so it is important to check individual state requirements for what is needed.