Over the years, animals have evolved into something more than just pets; they have become a part of the family.
When something goes wrong with them, people automatically run to veterinarians to get professional medical
care for animals and their beloved pets. In a veterinary setting, veterinarians agree that the presence of veterinary technicians within the team is very important. With the wide range of tasks that they perform,
the role that they play is crucial.
But what is a typical Vet Tech salary?
Most people falsely think that just because they have a great love of animals,
they can immediately become a veterinary technician. While being an animal lover can help, it must be said
that not all animal lovers are a good fit for a job at a veterinary clinic. The job responsibilities of veterinarian technicians come from both ends of the spectrum. They provide support to pet owners, ensure
proper pet care, and maintain the cleanliness of operating rooms and equipment. Thus, one must be efficient, organized and compassionate.
The importance of veterinary technicians when it comes to providing animal care should not be underestimated. After all, a veterinarian can only do so much all at once. Having a competent assistant allows them to focus on the more important task at hand – providing quality animal care. If you are thinking of becoming a veterinary technician, you are in for a very fulfilling job. Not only does it allow you to earn good money, it also allows you to fulfill your passion of working closely with animals. The question is: how much is a Vet Tech salary?
According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in August 2013, the median annual wage for vet techs was $30,500. Those who are in the lowest 10% earned less than $21,270 while those who are in the highest 10% category took home approximately $44,490 in annual pay. Furthermore, the job market will continue to expand and opportunities for vet techs are expected to rise by 30% in the coming years, specifically until the year 2023. This can be attributed to the fact that the pet population is continuously growing. Such phenomenon will result in a higher demand for pet care services.
Of course, a lot of factors can influence salary and all of these variables come into play when considering how much a vet tech will take home as pay. Like any other job, a vet tech’s experience and location can dictate how much he or she will be receiving each year. Furthermore, veterinary technicians can go into different types of specializations while in school. Some of these fields include dental, anesthesiology or emergency care. Each field of specialization also has a corresponding salary so going into a specialized field will allow you to earn higher pay because you are more knowledgeable in an area and you are in possession of a skill that not all vet techs possess.
On a national scale, the average for a vet tech’s annual salary is currently at $31,760. The salary range is divided into three: lower, median and higher. Those who belong to the lower range receive $10.23 hourly wage and $21,270 annual wage. For those in the median range, hourly salary is $14.66 and yearly salary is $30,500. The lucky ones who are in the upper range take home $21.39 per hour and $44.90 per year.
Your place of work is also a determining factor as to how much you will be taking home in pay each year. Different states have different demands for veterinary technicians. Perhaps it is best to keep this in mind: the higher the demand is, the higher the pay will be. If you want to earn more, choose a state that has high demands for pet care. The top five states with the highest veterinarian technician salary include the District of Columbia, Alaska, New York, Massachusetts and Virginia.
The District of Columbia is the area with the highest Vet Tech salary. A veterinary technician working there, for example, could earn $39,710 each year, with an hourly income of $19.09. Coming in close is Alaska where a vet tech is paid $18.57 per hour and $38,620 annually. New York pays their vet techs $18.21 an hour and $37,870 per year while Massachusetts has an average hourly wage of $18.11 and an average annual wage of $37,670. Lastly, Virginia completes the top five of the highest paying states for vet techs. The state pays its vet techs $18.00 per hour and $37,450 per year.
Veterinary medicine encompasses a wide range of subjects. One may gain knowledge and learn a little in each field but there are those who want to concentrate and focus on a specialized area so they study further and specialize. Veterinary technicians can choose to specialize in the following fields: Surgery, Dentistry, Internal Medicine, Anesthesia, Critical and Emergency Care, Equine, Zoological Medicine and Behavior. There may be other fields not mentioned here but the point here is, specialized care pays more. So if you want to earn a higher Vet Tech salary than all of the other generalists out there invest in further education and specialize.
- Veterinary Surgical Technician
One field of specialization is becoming a Veterinary Surgical Technician (VST). They often assist in surgical procedures performed on animals. VST’s often consider their job to be more stressful than the other fields of specialization because of the nature of their work; but there is a different sense of fulfillment in knowing that you were involved in a procedure that has saved the life of the animal. A surgical veterinary technician’s average annual salary is $39,000. Again, the salaries vary depending on the size and location of the facility where the technician works.
Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technician
A veterinary technician specializing in Emergency and Critical Care works with urgent medical problems or when an animal encounter a medical crisis. Usually, animals requiring emergency and critical care are those that possess a condition that is either life-threatening or has the potential of becoming life-threatening. Vet techs who work in this field perform round-the-clock monitoring. They receive a 10 percent higher median salary compared to their other non-specialized veterinary technician counterparts. Fact is, their median income is $38,000 per year.
- Veterinary Technician Anesthesia Specialist
Veterinary technicians who specialize in the field of anesthesiology are responsible for administering anesthesia to animals that will be undergoing surgery. The average annual salary of vet techs in this field is approximately $48,000 but then again, salaries differ depending on experience, years of experience, state, and the institution where one is employed. Naturally, a vet tech who works in a big animal hospital will earn more as compared to one who is a working in a small clinic in a small town.
- Veterinary Dental Technician
Dental hygiene is important for animals, too. In fact, veterinary dentistry has somewhat rivaled those of humans and many states have required specialized practice in the field. As a result, it has paved the way for the opening of a specific career path for veterinary technicians who are interested in performing dental hygiene to the animals. Veterinary Dental Technicians can receive a salary of $45,000 annually. Again, this may vary depending on geographical location and a vet tech’s number of years of experience.
- Internal Medicine Veterinary Technician (IMVT)
The field of internal medicine involves a wide range of areas. Mostly, vet techs who specialize in this field are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic animal diseases and conditions as well as other medical concerns affecting an animal’s health. Internal Medicine is composed of several sub-categories which include neurology, cardiology, oncology, and the treatment of cancer, among other things. IMVT tasks include acting as a lab tech doing analysis, using laboratory equipment, ultrasound, blood drawing, blood test and the evaluation of urine samples.
Because of the scope of work, IMVT’s are paid rather handsomely. Their salaries are higher compared to their non-specialized counterparts with a similar career path. Each year, an Internal Medicine Veterinary Technician receives up to $40,030 depending on their location and experience.
- Veterinary Behavior Technicians (VBT)
Veterinary behavior technicians are well-trained and duly qualified to assist with animal behavior management, training and modification. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average yearly salary of VBT is somewhere between the range of $31,030 to $44,030. Aside from the monetary aspects of the job, other benefits are also provided such as a uniform allowance, paid vacation, as well as dental and medical insurances.
- Veterinary Zoological Medicine Technicians (VZMT)
Vet techs who specialize in zoological medicine are responsible for tasks required to assist veterinarians who are employed in a zoo. Some of these tasks include giving injections, fluid administration, radiography, catheter insertion, changing of bandages, taking care of surgical sites, collecting samples for diagnostic tests and many others.
The zoo has a lot of animals and naturally, a veterinary technician who works in zoological parks should be knowledgeable about proper treatment of various types of animals. While some consider the job as stressful, a VZMT can take home an average salary of $42,000 depending on experience and geographical location. Aside from this, he or she is also provided with other benefits which may include dental and health insurance as well as paid vacation leaves.
- Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians (EVNT)
If you have a particular fondness for horses and would love to take care of these animals for a job, then you can very well get into Equine Veterinary Nursing Technician programs. This field of specialization allows an EVNT to deal closely with horses when it comes to procedures involving medication, surgery, collecting specimens for laboratory, radiographs and the like. The average salary of vet techs specializing in equine nursing is $35,000.
- Veterinary Nutrition Technicians
There are vet techs that specialize in the provision of proper advice on the overall nutrition of animals. Some veterinarians may be too busy to focus on the nutritional care of pets and other animals so this task is often delegated to veterinary nutrition technicians. The average pay for this type of specialization is about $40,000 a year. The salary may differ from one state to another. Your years of experience practicing veterinary nutrition can also dictate how much you will receive in salary.
Perhaps there are other fields of specialty that were not mentioned here in great detail but no matter which you want to focus on, know that further specialization and further education is often rewarded with higher pay. Your geographical location also matters. Some states have high demand for pet and animal care and that is why they continue to hire veterinary technicians by the hundreds or thousands with each passing year. The growth outlook for vet techs is looking particularly good so you may want to start taking the necessary steps now.
A lot of information is available on the internet. The worldwide web has changed the way information is being delivered. With a click of the mouse, you automatically find answers to the most pressing questions on your mind. Some websites will offer direct comparisons of the salaries of different professions to help you make up your mind as to what field you are going to pursue.
But then again, work is not all about how much salary you are going to take home at the end of each pay day. Aside from the financial aspect, it is also best to keep in mind that the personal satisfaction associated with the work that you do is a determining factor in gauging success. Veterinary technicians find fulfillment and joy in being able to make a difference in the lives of their patients. They know that the pet owners treat their animals as a part of the family and the overall welfare of their pets is very important to them.
Salary is relative to location, experience and specialty. Some people may actually consider it as average. But vet techs will tell you that they can live quite well on a veterinarian technician salary.