Veterinary Technician Job Outlook

Learn more about careers as veterinary technicians and vet tech education. Find information on careers, job outlook, salary, and recommended schools. View popular schools that prepare students for careers as veterinary technicians.

Overview

Pet owners appreciate the value of the care that is provided to their animals, especially when they are injured or sick. While veterinarians are typically responsible for providing this type of care, veterinary technologists and technicians can also aid in delivering care. Veterinary techs provide support services to veterinarians that are analogous services that are provided by a nurse for a physician. In most instances these professionals are responsible for assisting the veterinarian and conducting needed diagnostics tests to evaluate an animal. Additionally, veterinary techs are responsible for providing direct care to the animal. This aspect of the job can make it emotionally demanding. However, for true animal lovers this may be one of the most rewarding aspects of the job.

While many veterinary techs work directly with veterinarians to provide direct care to animals, other professionals working in this field work in specialized laboratories. In these facilities, veterinary technicians are responsible for administering medications, evaluating animals and preparing tissue samples for analysis. Veterinary techs can be employed in a wide range of occupations that range from biomedical research to wildlife preservation. For individuals that truly love animals, this profession provides numerous opportunities to work with and care for a broad range of animals.

Careers

The title veterinary tech can be used to identify two different groups of professionals working in the field of veterinary medicine: veterinary technologists and veterinary technicians. Although technicians and technologists perform many of the same duties, there are some differences in each of these professions. In general, veterinary technicians obtain a two-year associate degree from a community college that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Technicians typically work directly in a veterinarian’s office providing direct care to animals. Individuals seeking a four-year degree in the field can obtain a Bachelors Degree in veterinary technology. Veterinary technologists typically perform the same job as veterinary technicians. However, veterinary technologists typically seek employment in research laboratories. Most veterinary technicians and technologists are required to obtain a license or certification in their field. The specific requirements for licensure vary by state. Advancement in the field typically results in professionals entering into managerial or supervisory roles.

Industry Salary Info

Salary information for veterinary techs indicates that professionals in this job earned modest wages with average annual salaries of $28,900 in 2008. Professionals working at the upper levels of the profession earned $41,490 annually and those working at the lowest end of the profession earned $19,770 annually. Although these salaries reflect all veterinary tech jobs including technicians and technologists, professionals in these occupations working in research laboratories typically earn more than professionals that work in veterinary offices or clinics. Career advancement that includes promotion into management and supervisory roles may also provide the professional with the opportunity to increase annual earnings. Management and supervisory roles typically pay more than tech positions. Salaries for veterinary technicians may also vary based in the specific organization in which the professional is employed. Veterinary technicians working in organizations such as zoos or aquariums may command higher salaries that techs working directly with veterinarians in private practice.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for veterinary technicians and technologists is quite robust. In addition to higher than average job growth in the field, shortages of qualified veterinary techs will increase the total number of positions available for professionals. Increased demand for veterinary services will also fuel growth in this job field. Over the last decade pet owners have become more interested in providing care for their animals. Many pets are viewed as integral parts of the family and protecting their health has become a priority for many pet owners. The application of technology to veterinary medicine means that care providers are able to extend life and improve quality of life for animals that are sick or injured. As more pet owners seek this type of specialized care for their pets, demand for qualified veterinary technologists will continue to increase. Job growth in these occupations is expected to increase by 36 percent by 2018.

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