Wondering how good a vet tech salary is? This is an important question, so don’t feel bad if it’s a factor in your decision as to whether or not you should pursue this career.
Obviously, you need to know that you’ll be OK financially – in fact, it would probably be foolish not to check your potential pay. That said, working with animals is more than a job; it’s a calling – and the salary you might earn should not be your main motivation for choosing this profession; it should, instead, be your genuine love and compassion for animals. OK, so back to the question: just how much does a veterinary technician earn? Vet tech salaries vary according to a number of factors, including your level of experience (generally the more experience you have, the more money you’ll make), the nature of your qualifications, your type and quality of education, who you work for, and what state you live in (Connecticut, New York, California, Massachusetts and Alaska are some of the highest paying states).
The average vet tech salary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook) is $29,710 annually. The majority of vet techs earn between $23,580 and $34,960 a year, but some can earn as much as $48,020!
As a new technician though, don’t expect this kind of salary; you’re likely to start off at around $18,840. (Don’t worry, you’ll work your way up!) Demand will also affect your starting salary, and in this case, there’s great news: the job outlook for vet techs is excellent! With the demand for vet techs expected to grow by 52% in the next seven years, it’s likely that potential earnings will also increase. If you would like to earn a higher vet tech salary, we have a few suggestions for you. Firstly, after you qualify as a veterinary tech, consider specializing further.
By qualifying as an expert in a particular field, such as anesthesia or dentistry, your salary as a vet tech is automatically likely to increase.
The type of field you choose also influences how much you earn; for example, a veterinary tech specializing in animal research often has a lower salary to start with, but is more likely to attain a higher income sooner than those working in vet hospitals or clinics. Secondly, consider the type of employer you work for. Employment with the federal or state government, diagnostic laboratories and medical/surgical hospitals can offer higher paychecks to vet techs than small private clinics or animal shelters.
State governments often pay $47,060, while pharmaceutical companies offer about $42,980. A veterinarian technician salary at a surgical hospital is also around $42,630, and laboratories offer around $40,960.
But before you start getting excited, bear in mind that although these organizations offer the highest salaries, they only employ about 1% of all vet techs. In order to have the best chance of getting a job in one of these industries, you should (as mentioned above) specialize as an expert in a particular veterinary field, as this would give you a significant advantage over other candidates. Thirdly, don’t just look at the figure you’ll be earning on its own; most companies (regardless of where you work) offer a benefits package.
Sometimes a lower paying job may offer more in terms of benefits (for example, more vacation days; if you’re a working parent, you may value this extra time more than money). Other benefits include health care, holiday pay, sick leave and a 401(k) plan.
Finally, perhaps the most important advice we can offer you is to remember that earning a high salary doesn’t necessarily give you the greatest job satisfaction. Doing what you love and working in an environment that makes you happy is essential for you to enjoy going to work each morning. You may be lucky enough to find a job that offers it all, but if not, find a position that offers a balance between the two. After all, you can’t put a price on happiness.