Considering a career as a veterinary technician? Here’s what you can expect to earn in terms of salary and job outlook
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Veterinary technicians typically need at least an associate’s degree in veterinary technology, although some jobs may require a bachelor’s degree. Veterinary technicians must also be licensed in most states. Employment of veterinary technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. A growing animal population, along with an increased likelihood of owning pets with specialized diets and health needs, should lead to greater demand for veterinary healthcare services.
As veterinary technicians gain experience, they may advance to supervisory positions such as practice manager or laboratory supervisor. Some experienced veterinary technicians may become instructors in formal training programs or may specialize in a particular area of veterinary medicine such as dentistry or anesthesia.
What Does a vet tech Do?
vet techs are trained professionals who work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. They are responsible for the day-to-day care of animals in a variety of settings, including veterinary hospitals, clinics, shelters, zoos, and research facilities.
In addition to providing routine medical care, vet techs often assist with surgeries, take x-rays, administer medications, and collect lab samples. They also play an important role in educating pet owners about animal health and welfare.
The exact duties of a vet tech may vary depending on the size and type of facility where they work. However, all vet techs share the common goal of providing high-quality medical care to their patients.
The Education and Training Needed to Become a Vet Tech
In order to become a vet tech, you will need to complete a two-year accredited veterinary technology program. These programs are typically offered at technical schools, community colleges, and some four-year colleges. You will take courses in animal science, anatomy, physiology, zoology, and other related topics. Upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which is required for licensure in most states.
The Certification a Vet Tech Needs
Vet techs must have a certification in order to work in most states. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) offers a professional certification, the Associate Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), which shows that a vet tech has met NAVTA’s standards for knowledge and skills.
In order to become certified, vet techs must complete an accredited veterinary technology program and pass a credentialing exam. Once they are credentialed, they must maintain their certification by completing continuing education courses every two years.
The CVT credential is recognized in all 50 states, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. In some states, the CVT is also known as a licensed veterinary technician (LVT).
The Salary of a Vet Tech
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for veterinary technicians was $33,400 in May 2019. The salary range for vet techs is quite broad, however, and can vary depending on a number of factors, including experience, location, and type of employer.
The job outlook for Vet Techs
The job outlook for vet techs is excellent. The profession is expected to grow much faster than average in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of vet techs will grow by 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Vet Tech
The job outlook for veterinary technicians is good, with a projected 20% growth in jobs from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while there are many fulfilling aspects to the job, such as working with animals and helping to ease their suffering, there are also some challenges. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of being a veterinary technician.
1. You get to work with animals.
If you love animals and have an interest in animal medicine, then a job as a veterinary technician may be perfect for you. Veterinary technicians typically have close contact with animals, including cats, dogs, rabbits, reptiles, ferrets, and more.
2. You can make a difference in the lives of animals.
Veterinary technicians play an important role in the animal healthcare team. They often provide direct care to sick or injured animals and help keep them comfortable while they recover. In addition, vet techs often educate pet owners on how to care for their pets and prevent future health problems.
3. You can enter the field relatively quickly with an associates degree or certificate program.
While becoming a veterinarian requires four years of undergraduate study followed by four years of veterinary school, you can enter the field of veterinary technology with a two-year associates degree or certificate program from a community college or technical school. This means you can start working and earning money sooner rather than later!
4. You’ll have opportunities to specialize in certain areas of veterinary medicine.
As a veterinary technician, you can choose to specialize in areas such as dentistry, anesthesia, nutrition, ophthalmology (eye care), dermatology (skin care), emergency/critical care, or zoological medicine (veterinary care for nontraditional pets such as reptiles and birds). Pursuing specialization often requires additional coursework and/or clinical training beyond what is required for entry-level positions; however, it can lead to higher wages and more opportunities for advancement within the field.55 Moreover, many specialty clinics are always in need of well-qualified technicians!