(Closed) Any Vet Tech bees?

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 4
Member
672 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Although I support the growth in the field I have to say you’ll spend a lot of money on education for a job where they’re simply going to teach how to things they way they want them done.

If there is one thing I can say about small practices, emergency hospitals, and rescues it’s that they’re all operated very differently.

You have to be a certain kind of person if you want to make it as a tech. If you are the kind of person who thinks about things hours after they happen, are opposed to doing some of the most disgusting things imaginable, or are unable to control your emotions and think with a level head in a crisis it’s probably not a job for you.

It’s very easy to get burnt out as a Vet Tech. You’ll put in crazy hours unless you work for a very small, appointment only practice that doesn’t kennel animals(those are few and far between) all of that for MAYBE $20,000 a year if you are lucky. The highest paid tech I know has worked in the biz for 20 years and is now solely a surgical tech..she makes about 32k a year but she works about 60-70 hours a week at an emergency hospital.

At one practice I worked a 2pm to 4am shift only to come back in and work 9am to 7pm. As a tech you will not only work with animals but you’ll have to function as a receptionist and a liason between clients and doctors as well. The hardest part of it all is the clients. Some are well intentioned, others are absolutely crazy, some are wonderful to work with, and others are the vile, disgusting creatures you will ever meet in your life.

It’s an overwhelming, underappreciated, and dirty job. Everyday you are confronted with death, illness, anger, frustration, and on occassion a little happiness and gratitude. You have be prepared for people who bring in perfectly good pets to euthanize because they are “too furry,” “expecting a baby,” “got too big,” or my favorite “didn’t realize they’d cost so much money.” You have to be prepared for the fact that it’s not all cute puppies and silly kittens. It’s often incredibly aggressive animals or horribly neglected animals. You have to be prepared for the fact that under most state laws you can’t have anything done during a case of suspected animal abuse. All you can do is call it in and hope for the best but the person will likely get away. Also be prepared for the fact that your household will increase by at least one other animal. It’s unavoidable. You’ll always say “I am not getting another pet” but then someone will want to euthanize a healthy animal and you just can’t stand it so you take the animal in. Or a box of kittens will be left on the doorstep. It happens all the time. If I had a dog  for everytime I said I wouldn’t bring another pet home I would have 5x as many pets as I have now(and we have A LOT)

I’ve had a lot of different jobs but none has ever tested me the way being a tech did. There were many nights I went home crying for one reason or another.

Despite all of that, I’ve worked with so many wonderful people. Doctors, techs, rescues, and clients who would give or do anything to help an animal in need. I’ve seen incredible acts of kindness like the time a financially stable client paid for an emergency surgery and hospitalization (around $1500) for an elderly lady on disability who was caring for her grandson.  The cute puppies and kittens are ALWAYS a plus and there will always been that one(or 12) dog or cat you REALLY bond with. You’ll learn so much and it will help you be a better owner to your pets. There are few feelings that are greater than realizing you’ve help save a life and nothing warms a heart like a little kid thanking you for saving their friend.

If it’s really something you are considering I recommend applying for Kennel/Receptionist positions and getting in the business now. Offices will often hire more people around summer time because they usually see a significant influx in clients.

I miss it at times but I’ve worked for Vets/Shelters for 8 years and I honestly just couldn’t do it anymore. I’ve done everything from basic kennel cleaning to assisting with surgergies to new animal intake at shelters to euthanasia with our local Animal Services department. The older I got the more responsibility I was handed and the more responsibility I was handed the more stressed I became. I’ve learned that if you are constantly stressing about your job, to the point it makes you sick, you should probably find a new job.

Post # 5
Member
595 posts
Busy bee

Agree with everything the PP said. I love vet medicine, but you can get burnt out pretty quickly. I’ve been a tech for 5 years, not certified, trained on the job. 

I agree with working at a clinic for a little bit to get a closer look and see if it’s something you really think you want to go into. Obviously you’ll have an advantage being certified and you will get higher pay. The pay, along with the experiences you will have, will vary based on your area. I’m a non-certified tech working in a busy, reputable general practice clinic with 4 full time doctors and I make more than the 20yr experience tech that the PP mentioned above. That being said, around here it’s stil a low-ish salary. it’s a LOT of work and very physically, emotionally, and mentally trying at times. My clinic has techs and receptionists, at some clinics you will be both. 

The clients can be the hardest part, as the PP said. You have to be ready to deal with people of all kinds, LOL. Also, you’ll be working pretty closely with a team of other techs and doctors, so being outgoing and personable is a must. You have to be willing to ask for help and to give help. If you don’t have time to go work at a clinic I would call around and see if you can shadow the techs for a week or so. 

I think as long as you get a taste of it and think you do want to become a tech, going to school is the way to go. Being certified you’ll have access to better jobs faster and higher pay. The PP is right that every clinic does things differently, but that’s just a matter of learning their ways once you’re hired. 

Good luck! 

Post # 7
Member
1370 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I am not a certified tech, but I did manage and assist in a vet practice for 6 years, large animal only.

I second all PP’s have mentioned above.

I could handle all the animal stuff…my issue came with all the people, the owners and their crazy nonsense.  I finally had enough, it was ridiculaous.

Post # 8
Member
595 posts
Busy bee

Like I said, I love vet medicine. I love the medical aspect of what I do. I get burnt out towards the end of the week but I think that’s the case with most jobs, lol. I know I won’t do this forever, but I’m not 100% burnt out yet ;). I worked as a receptionist for 2 years at the clinic and it was a great way to get a feel for the field. I wish I had thought of it right out of highschool and had gone to tech school but oh well! Good luck!! 

Post # 9
Member
672 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@strangewaysherewecome: 

Techs do deserve a lot more respect. You pretty fill the same role of a nurse and then some.
It can totally be a rewarding job. I honestly just got tired of dealing with owners. Obviously I don’t expect people to come to the vet knowing everything there is to know but a little care, consideration, and research helps.
Honestly the last straw for me was a man who brought a Beagle puppy in (I have a HUGE soft spot for Beagles) that had a cherry eye (which looks like it sounds…a cherry protruding from the eye) This guy kept going on and on about how worthless this dog was because she wouldn’t hunt. He had over 20 Beagles in his yard that weren’t even vaccinated against rabies (which is a public health hazard) and he kept saying “Now this worthless piece of **** has a deformed eye. ” I didn’t breed my two best dogs (who look haggard and neglected) to produce a mongrel like this. Then he kept telling his wife if she (the dog) didn’t get he act together soon he’d have to “take care of her.” After we told the guy what the issue was and that it would cost $150 for the surgery he flew into a rage over the price (which is EXTREMELY reasonable comparitively speaking) and stormed out without paying.
Not all clients are like that obviously but this guy is a fairly accurate description of some of the worst people you’ll come in contact with.

I can handle the long hours, I can handle the stress, I can handle being pooped or vomited on but the few clients that were the worst just really got to me. I just couldn’t handle that part anymore.

But anyway good luck on your search. A few months in an office will get you started off in the right direction and will help you decide if you want to pursue an education in that field.

Post # 10
Member
1102 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I am an underpaid, overworked RVT (registered veterinary technician) in Ontario and my best advice would be to get into a clinic as a receptionist or kennel staff and work your way up.

I went to school for over 2 years, paid over $15 000 in tuition, books, supplies, gas etc to go to college, and I make < $24k a year.

Honestly, in Ontario/Canada clinics DO NOT HAVE TO HIRE PROFESSIONALS. They can hire Joe Blow off the street and train them to do the same job I went to college for. That being said, I know a lot more technically than these on-the-job learners do, and am honestly probably better than them, but clinics just like whoever they can pay the least amount of money to do the same job.

I work late night, weekends, holidays. I get yanked out of bed at 2am to rush into work and have to be back at 7am for my regular shift.

I have only been working for 2 years out of school, and I’m already contemplating quitting. I used to work at a day spa and made a similar amount of money for a LOT less work and stress.

I too thought I would love what I do and wouldn’t care what I made. It’s very disheartening to work your bum off, miss Christmas and holidays, get mistreated and be underappreciated daily AND make peanuts.

Just my opinion.

Post # 11
Member
242 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I am a registered veterinary technician.  It’s true its a hard dirty job, but I love it! ( some days more then others, lol) If you feel it’s something you really truly wanted you go for it. don’t listen to other people That have maybe been around in the field for many many years. Sometimes when you work in this field for a long time you get very burnt out and its Only natural to guide people away. Happiness in your job is going to depend on where you work and the people you work with. Schooling cost me around $10,000 but in the state of Ohio they only hire registered veterinary technicians you have to have a license in order to get a job. Otherwise without a degree you can be a veterinary assistant. I do highly recommend getting a job in a clinic just so you can see what it’s all about and if it’s something you truly want to spend the time and money on.

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