Would anyone actually recommend this career?

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Comments (5)

Cindy R in Dearborn, Michigan

46 months ago

I just returned to school and am in my first semester of a two-year vet tech program. I love animals so I thought vet tech would be a great fit, but so far, everything I've read online from people who are vet techs has been overwhelmingly negative. I'm starting to second-guess my decision. If the job is as horrible as everyone says it is, I don't want to waste my time and money on 2 more years of school. Any insight from someone experienced in the profession would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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KAT the Dog Lover in Long Beach, California

46 months ago

Cindy, everyone has their own experience, and many of the negative posts seem to originate from the environments with bad coworkers and poor management. Remember that most people are apt to voice their displeasure and the many with positive experiences have not chimed in here.

Clearly, not all work environments are reflected in these posts. Ask yourself this: if it's so awful, why do people stay in it? I'm sure they're quite capable of doing something else for a living.

It's true that this is a very physical job and you will be tired at the end of the day, but working with animals can be very rewarding for those who love caring for them. Explore the various animal-care industry job options (hospitals, clinics, private practices, nonprofits, universities, research, etc.), and decide for yourself.

No matter what, no one can take away your knowledge, so remember that your education an investment in yourself--a college degree is never a waste of time.

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erikalvt in Enterprise, Alabama

27 months ago

Interesting question! I don't think that I would ever "recommend" this career - ONLY because for me, it is more of a "calling". It is such a deep seated, passionate part of my life that becoming a credentialed technician was just a natural progression.

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cindyrvt in Henderson, Texas

27 months ago

Ask Erika and KAT have already pointed out, this really is a calling and whether it's right for you is a very personal decision. There are definitely those of us who love the profession and spend decades in it.

It's important to remember too that really happy people don't typically go online and share how excited they are about their profession (or their relationships), it's those people who are frustrated that tend to go online to rant and blow off steam. So the number of unhappy posts you see are going to be disproportionate to what actually occurs in "the real world". That isn't to say that their complaints aren't valid, but they have to be taken as experiences that can help you not make the same mistakes. For example, many of the people who rant online have chosen to stay in toxic situations for years. They have, in effect, given up their choice to find a better situation.

There are going to be bad bosses and bad situations in every profession or line of work. That's just the reality of living and working with people. We have to take responsibility for our own happiness and choose not to stay in those situations when we realize that they aren't likely to change. You are responsible for your own choices and that includes choosing the practice you will work in. Take that into account even when job hunting. Make sure the practice fits you as much as you fit their needs.

If you haven't already experienced working in a veterinary practice, I would strongly recommend that you get some experience either volunteering or working as a veterinary assistant before you put 2 years of time and tuition into your education. This is because it is very possible to love animals and want to help them yet hate the veterinary technology profession. So, you need to make sure this is the way that you want to help animals.

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VT2RN in Provo, Utah

20 months ago

Another consideration - many people might find themselves unhappy with this career because of unrealistic expectations and little real world experience. Often it is younger people who are self identified animal lovers who feel this career is a natural choice. I myself was one of those people. Fortunately I did start working as a secretary at an animal hospital and then technician (licensure was not required in my state) and could see first hand what the work was really like. While I did enjoy taking care of animals and have fairly positive relationships with my managers and coworkers, I still chose to leave the field 3 years later and go into nursing instead. My reasons for leaving were as follows: low pay (most I ever made was $13/hr working the night shift at an emergency clinic), lack of access to quality education for a REASONABLE price (only accredited program in my state wanted to charge $30,000 for an associates degree) and a sense of being able to progress in the profession beyond the actual technician role (with the exception of working in different specialties or going into management).

$30-$40k per year may sound like a liveable wage to the younger crowd who have yet to be responsible for things like rent/mortgages, health insurance, transportation costs, groceries - as the most basic of needs. Those things will be hard enough to manage without considering other non-essential expenses such as entertainment, hobbies and travel that many people do infact want to experience in their life from time to time. And while some areas may have higher wages for their vet techs, it is often accompanied by high costs of living or states that require certification which requires money spent on schooling. The few of my tech friends that stayed in the profession did so because they became office managers or lead techs. There are only so many of those positions available. Hence people leaving after 5-7 years.

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