Veterinary Technologist and Technician Overview
Veterinary technologists and technicians handle lab work, radiology, nursing care, surgery assistance and dozens of other tasks related to animal health care. “We do everything except diagnose, prescribe and do surgery,” says Julie Legred, a veterinary technician and executive director at the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. They often work in private clinics and animal hospitals, assisting veterinarians with the care of animals. While the job might sound like a lot of fun, Legred is quick to point out that “it’s not just holding puppies.” She adds, “You’re not going to make a lot of money, you have to pick up poo and you get peed on.” In other words, the work isn’t glamorous, so only those with a real commitment to animal care tend to stay in the field.
The number of jobs for veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to surge between 2014 and 2024. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 19 percent. Veterinary medicine is becoming a more advanced field, and qualified vets and vet techs are required for the specialized tasks of treating animals in clinics and animal hospitals. There’s also particular demand for vet techs to work in public health, food and animal safety, and national disease control. The BLS attributes this growth to the increasing importance of pets to Americans, along with their willingness to pay for more advanced medical treatments.
$31,800 Median Salary
1.8% Unemployment Rate
17900 Number of Jobs
Veterinary Techs and Technicians rank #20 in Best Health Care Support Jobs. Jobs are ranked according to their ability to offer an elusive mix of factors. Read more about how we rank the best jobs.
Veterinary Techs and Technicians are ranked:
The BLS reports that veterinary technologists and technicians earned a median salary of $31,800 in 2015. The highest-paid earned $47,410, while the lowest-paid earned $21,890. Technologists and technicians working for hospitals or government at the national, state and local levels tend to earn the most. Top-paid cities for vet technicians include Poughkeepsie, New York; Boston; and Brockton, Massachusetts.
75th Percentile. $38,480
25th Percentile. $26,350
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Veterinary technologists and technicians earn two- or four-year degrees in veterinary technology. While they share many of the same responsibilities, technologists typically hold four-year bachelor’s degrees in veterinary technology, whereas technicians hold two-year associate degrees. They must also pass an exam and become certified, licensed or registered, depending on the state. Strong science and math backgrounds are essential, Legred says, since much of the job involves drug calculations and lab tests.
Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and a career that’s fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here’s how Veterinary Techs and Technicians job satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.
Upward Mobility. Below Average
Opportunities for advancements and salary
Stress Level. Average
Work environment and complexities of the job s responsibilities
Flexibility. Below Average
Alternative working schedule and work life balance