Vets and vet techs help keep pets healthy. They also need to be compensated fairly for their services. Vets are medical doctors who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease in animals. Vet technicians assist veterinarians with patient care, laboratory testing and other administrative duties. Read on to learn more about how much vet techs get paid and what it takes to become one.
Vet Tech Career: A Career Review
In the United States, there are more than 650 different job titles classified under the umbrella of “veterinary medicine.” Each role in this dynamic field offers unique opportunities to serve as an advocate for animals and help advance the science of veterinary medicine.
Even with such a wide variety of roles, commonalities exist across all occupations within the field of veterinary medicine.
While compensation can vary widely based on location, experience, education level, and other factors, most workers in this field enjoy stable employment with excellent benefits packages and above-average wages. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how much does a vet tech make?
What Is a Vet Tech?
Veterinary technicians, also known as vet techs or clinical technicians, are crucial members of the veterinary team. When a veterinarian makes a house call, a vet tech is likely by their side providing support. When animals arrive in a veterinary clinic, vet techs play a vital role in the diagnostic process and the provision of care.
In short, vet techs do whatever is necessary to help animals receive the best possible care. Technicians are responsible for assisting veterinarians in a wide range of procedures. This work could include drawing blood, administering injections and injections, taking radiographs, assisting in surgery, and other procedures.
How Much Does a Vet Tech Make Annually?
Veterinary technicians make a decent living by most standards—especially given that there are no formal education requirements for this role. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for veterinary technicians is $29,730 per year, or $13.75 per hour.
Technically, there is no real ceiling for the amount that a vet tech can earn. That said, there are a number of factors that affect salaries in this field.
Certain regions of the United States, such as the Southeast and Southwest, pay higher-than-average salaries to vet techs. To a large degree, this is due to a shortage in the number of people willing to enter the field. Veterinary technicians with advanced education are more likely to earn higher salaries.
For example, certified veterinary technicians (CVTs) can earn as much as $38,000 per year. Similarly, technicians with advanced degrees such as a master of science in veterinary technology (MSVT) might earn even more.
Vet Tech Pay by Industry
Like many other fields, the type of work that a vet tech does can have a big impact on their salary. On average, veterinarians in the medical and diagnostic laboratories industry make $84,650 per year, or $39.60 per hour.
Veterinary technicians working in animal and zoological gardens make, on average, $30,010 per year, or $13.35 per hour. For veterinary technicians working in animal breeding services, the average salary is $29,530 per year, or $13.45 per hour. Other industries in which veterinary technicians can expect above-average salaries include scientific research and development services and veterinary services.
How Much Do Veterinarians Make?
Veterinarians, of course, are the professionals responsible for the direct care of animals. Many vets also take the initiative to advance the science of veterinary medicine through research, publication, and education. Veterinarians make, on average, $90,520 per year, or $40.40 per hour. Veterinarians working in scientific research and development services can expect to make even more, on average, $116,500 per year, or $52.44 per hour.
Vet Tech Pay by Location
Certain regions of the United States pay higher salaries to veterinary technicians. In general, the Southeast, Southwest, and Pacific Coast offer higher salaries to veterinary technicians than other regions. Those in the Southeast can expect to make the most in this field, on average $33,250 per year, or $15.66 per hour. Those in the Southwest can expect to make, on average, $29,960 per year, or $13.95 per hour. Those along the Pacific Coast can make, on average, $29,820 per year, or $13.90 per hour.
The practice of veterinary medicine spans a wide range of disciplines, procedures, and specialties. Given the high degree of variability in the field, it is difficult to present an accurate picture of the average salary for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. However, several trends are clear by looking at data on pay by region and industry.
Some of the highest-paying industries for veterinary technicians include scientific research and development services, and medical and diagnostic laboratories.
It is likely that, as the United States experiences a shortage of qualified workers in this field, salaries for veterinary technicians will continue to rise. With a growing population and an increasing number of pets in need of care, veterinarians and technicians alike can expect to have plenty of work for years to come.