Veterinary Technicians Week on October, 2023: veterinary technician salary?
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"Median hourly earnings of veterinary technologists and technicians were $12.88 in May 2006."
" Most full-time veterinary technologists and technicians work about 40 hours a week, although some work 50 or more hours a week."
That would be $24,729.60 a year for working 40 hours a week.
You'll work alongside the vet at first: restraining the pets, clipping toenails, cleaning ears, getting/reading fecal samples and temperatures, etc. Vet techs also are licensed to do teeth cleaning, intubation, administer IVs... more invasive things. Some vets I've worked for have allowed their techs to actually perform minor surgeries such as neutering or declawing, although I don't believe that's technically legal.
Schedule is usually office hours through the week - 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. Many offices are open on Saturdays until noon or so. If there's boarding at your office, you may have to come in to walk and feed the pets, but they usually delegate those tasks to kennel workers or vet assistants.
I don't know about salary. I'd say you're going to start out around -$26 to $28,000.
What is it like to be a Veterinary Technician?
Working as a veterinary technician has it's ups and downs, just like any other career. And how long you stay in the profession will depend on your ability to balance those ups and downs and make good choices for yourself. Your choice of employer will have a lot to do with how happy you are (again, just like in any field of work), so remember to consider interviews as going both ways-you are there to see if you like them as much as they are there to see if you will fit their needs. And if you end up in a position that turns out to not be what you expected, you can always move on to another practice. You don't have to be trapped. This goes for respect, pay, benefits and overall personality issues; the job has to suit you as much as you have to suit the job.
It is a stressful job because you are dealing with stressed owners, stressed animals and often stressed co-workers but it can also be extremely rewarding. You have to be sure to have time away from work to distress and really not think about the job. You also need to put time into continuing education because continuing to learn and grow professionally builds your self-esteem and the respect you get from co-workers and helps to balance out the negative aspects like loosing patients. And learn to put things into perspective, see both the good and the bad and realize that that is how life goes.
General duties include: collecting patient histories, collect biological samples (blood, urine, feces, etc), running diagnostic tests, monitoring and medicating hospitalized animals, assisting in surgery, administering and monitoring anesthesia, performing dental cleanings, providing treatment for outpatients as prescribed by the attending veterinarian, filling prescriptions, answering client questions on preventative medicine, disease processes, medications, etc, maintaining inventory, caring for surgical and medical equipment such as anesthesia machines, taking radiographs, entering medical records.
Working conditions depend very much on the type of practice you are in. In small animal practice you will be generally inside and working in hospital setting, in equine or large animal practice you may spend as much time outside in the weather as inside a barn or clinic. Stress is common, breaks/lunches often missed because you never know what a day will bring and when you will have to drop everything else to deal with an emergency. Hours also can vary greatly. It may be 4 hour days a few days a week or it may be 11-12 hour days 5+ days a week. You may work days only and not on weekends or you may work weekends, nights and holidays, or a mixture of all. (I have been in all of these situations over the years depending on what type of practice I was working in.)
Education and training: in the majority of states you MUST have completed an AVMA accredited veterinary technology program (typically a degree program though a few don't grant a degree) before you can be credentialed as, use the title or work as a "veterinary technician". This education includes courses covering veterinary anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, animal husbandry, surgical assisting, anesthesia, medical nursing, diagnostics such as radiology and ultrasonography, clinical pathology, parasitology, medical terminology and record keeping, biological collection and sample handling and preperation, etc. They can also specialize in areas such as emergency and critical care, internal medicine, anesthesia, dentistry, behavior and equine nursing. It also includes a minimum of 250 hours in a veterinary clinical setting.
Veterinary technicians make between $28,000 and $48,000 a year. The difference is due to changes in pay in different areas of the country and even variances in each state depending on type of practice, number of years experience, whether the practice is in a rural or urban area, etc.