These days, a large of number of animal lovers are choosing careers as veterinary technicians. This line of work allows them to deal directly with the animals that they love, gives them job security, and offers a high starting salary. The starting salary of a vet tech, depending on where they live, is around twenty thousand dollars a year. Over time, many veterinary technicians can even double that earning rate through specialization, increased credentials, and increased experience. However, what many aspiring vet techs do not know, is that changing something as simple as their location might be all that is required to significantly increase their salary.
Find Work in Cities Rather Than Small Towns
Statistics show that big cities have higher earning and employment rates for veterinary technicians than small towns. If you live in a big city already, then you will not have to worry as much. However, if you currently live in a small town, you might want to consider relocating to a bigger city which would have more job opportunities. Larger cities usually offer a greater variety of specialized clinics and laboratories that need veterinary technicians. In addition, because there is a greater demand for vet techs in these cities, the pay rate in larger cities is higher as well.
Look Beyond Animal Hospitals and Clinics to Find Employment
While the bulk of work for veterinary technicians is in animal hospitals and private clinics, finding work in other locations is a great way to both diversify your experience and increase your pay rate. These specialized locations often require more qualifications and schooling, but the increased pay rate is worth the extra work. Here is a list of three job types where veterinary technicians tend to have larger salaries.
- Critical Care and Emergency Rooms: At these locations, veterinarians need a lot of qualified help. They have patients who are rushed into the hospital requiring surgeries and other procedures. Veterinarians need added help with the immediate bandaging of wounds, performing lab work, and preparing patients for surgery. Here, a veterinary technician who has received specialized training in critical care, surgical care or anesthesia can thrive. The average pay for a surgical or critical care vet tech specialist is around $40,000, while a vet tech specialist trained in anesthesia can make around $48,000. These specialized vet techs make nearly double the rate of a vet tech with no specialization, and get the added reward of working in a setting where they regularly save lives.
- Laboratories: Many laboratories use animals for psychological studies, clinical trials for medicine and other experiments. These laboratories have vets on duty who often require the help of veterinary technicians. The veterinary technicians that are in demand in these setting are those who specialize in internal medicine and anesthesia, with salaries ranging from $36,000 to $48,000, respectively. In addition, many of these laboratories are privately owned so they can pay more than the salaries listed. Work in this field, while controversial, can lead to important medical discoveries for humans and animals alike.
- Zoos: Zoos are a great place to work if you are a one who is fearless and enjoys working with large and exotic animals. Vets employed in zoos often have many animals to look after, so the help of a veterinary technician is crucial. Vet techs that specialize in dentistry, internal medicine and surgical care are the most in-demand in this industry. While internal medicine and surgical care specialists make around $36 to $39,000 a year, a vet tech specializing in dentistry can make around $44,000 a year. This salary can increase even more depending on the location of the zoo, and which animals the vet tech has to treat. While the injury rate might be higher for the vet techs who work in zoos, they make more money and work with more unusual animals than their peers.
General Places to Avoid if You are Looking for a Higher Salary
While some veterinary technicians go into their field because of an altruistic love of animals, most choose this career because of the promising salary. Above are some of the places which offer the best pay grades for veterinary technicians. If you do not have any specialization, but still want to keep your pay grade high, avoid working for non-profit organizations or animal shelters. These locations generally survive off of donations and volunteer work, so while the work will be morally rewarding, your pay check will not be as substantial.