I know what some of you may be thinking, “Man, what a dream job!”. Well, you are right it is, however it isn't puppies and kittens all day. Actually, a lot of the days you work with middle-aged and senior pets that have a lot going on. The veterinary technician is one career that used to be overlooked but now is considered more and more as a career.
Depending on your state, the pay when you're licensed will probably start around $16/hour. It also depends on the type of clinic you work in. Emergency and specialty offices will pay a little more, but in general, most employees in veterinary medicine are what I consider “underpaid”. It’s a lot of work for not a lot of monetary reward. So, don’t get into this for the money.
Pay aside, vet techs love our careers and grow very attached to our patients. Veterinary technicians are not your average nurses. A veterinary tech spends their days performing treatments on their patients that range from running lab work, dental cleanings, calculating drug dosages, placing IV catheters and central lines to monitoring anesthesia. Assisting the veterinarian in any way needed.
Did I mention that we put ourselves at risk for injury daily? In a matter of minutes, our patients can go from sweet loving kitty, to "I’m about to take you out". The animals we encounter are not our only risk. Radiology is not performed in the same manner as human medicine. Our patients do not always stay still for us and sedation is not always an option, leaving what’s not covered by our lead aprons exposed to radiation. Thankfully, we are getting better at this.
In addition, let’s talk about fluids. You will get anal glands, blood, guts, poop, pee, etc on you... Heck, I was peed on within 2 minutes of being at work today, so keep an extra pair of scrubs close by! Speaking of scrubs, I equate that to working in comfortable pajamas, so that’s a big plus.
If you think you want to get into veterinary medicine because you love animals but really don’t enjoy people, you should rethink that. Behind every patient is a pet owner. Many times you are working with these people during very emotional times with their pet. So patience, compassion and kindness are critical. Working in the veterinary field gives you the opportunity to interact with a wide range of animals on a daily basis. I love to look back and think about all the patients that I’ve been able to help, even save their lives. Being a veterinary technician is one of the most rewarding things I do.