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.