What are the CONS of being a vet tech?

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Christina in Woodbine, Maryland

22 months ago

Safe2assume in Chandler, Arizona said: Oh so you want to make even LESS money?

Was this meant for me? If so can you please elaborate?

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Safe2assume

22 months ago

POOL_GODDESS in Scottsdale, Arizona said: I'm studying to become a Vet Tech with Penn Foster college . It's a self paced online course, they send you the books & homework/exams in the mail. They are full accredited with go through the AVA - Anerican Veterinary Association.

The reason why I want to work with animals is because they agreeable patients & the give no critisim. Unlike people & human patients, you can hear them grumble, complain... but not animals. The only thing you'd deal with is caring & concerned owners who treat their pets as family members.

Lol, you'll deal with owners that have no money and crazy people. Bless your heart though

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CindyRVT in Henderson, Texas

22 months ago

Christina in Woodbine, Maryland said: I was thinking about going to school and being a vet tech. I was wondering if any of you have experience with large animals. I have always lived on a farm and am interested in being a vet tech for farm animals like horses, cows, goats, etc. I am just not sure what jobs are available with these animals being a vet tech. Please give me any feedback you have as it is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Mixed practices and equine only practices hire veterinary technicians just like small animal practices. The daily duties aren't going to be exactly the same as if you are working in a small animal practice, but veterinary technicians are still a valuable asset.

I used to work in an equine hospital and loved it. It's quite different from small animal practice due to the farm calls and extremely physical tasks often performed out in a field.

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Laura RVT in Cincinnati, Ohio

21 months ago

I have been an RVT for a little over 4 years now and I worked in 3 clinics prior to this, and this is the first clinic where I actually feel that I am at home. I've been employed at my current clinic for almost 2 years. The doctors I work with are fantastic and are very understanding, and the staff is great, although I work with about 12-15 females total, so there can be drama sometimes, but I definitely try and steer clear of that. I worked at a practice before where the doctor had his "head tech" look over urines or blood smears because he didn't trust our abilities. I definitely think there is truth to the fact that you probably won't find a great clinic til you've worked at 3-4 minimum. Our head tech is great, and she has definitely served as a great mentor as opposed to some head techs I've heard about that won't take 2 seconds out of their day to educate and just criticize techs that haven't been in the field for as long. Heck, there have definitely been times where she'll ask me my opinion on something, whether it be when she's looking at something under the microscope, etc.

Honestly, the thing that gets me the most is the long hours. I work 4 days during the week and 2 Saturdays a month. On paper, it might not seem like a lot, but my body is constantly exhausted because of it. I suspect I'm hypothyroid so that really doesn't help much either. I definitely don't enjoy the early wake up calls. Over all, I love working in this field. I love interacting with the clients and patients (though we all have those crazy clients that we avoid like the plague). Our doctors are very good at praising us if we've done a good job. I feel that I'm not as negative because I've found a practice where everyone is respected and no one is better than the next.

While I wish I made more money, I'm just going to keep plugging along and my efforts will pay off. I make enough to pay all my bills and still afford things that I want, as well as take excellent care of my 3 cats.

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CindyRVT in Henderson, Texas

20 months ago

For all you current and past vet techs, would you mind taking a quick survey?
My name is Cindy Dittmar and I'm involved in Tarleton State University - Veterinary Technology Bachelors degree program. As part of my Veterinary Research and Writing class, I am conducting a survey to determine whether or not there is a relationship between continuing education and someone staying in the veterinary technology profession.

If you could spare time to take a 5-10 question survey that I have designed for my research, I would very much appreciate it. This link can also be passed on to anyone you know who is or was a veterinary technician.

The survey can be found at this link: www.sogosurvey.com/k/RQsQURSSsRsPsPsP

Thanks,
Cindy

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Mars007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

17 months ago

Don't go for an assistant degree. You can be trained to be an assistant in a few hours. Going to school for it is like going to school t o be a waitress...a little extreme, but true.

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Mars007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

17 months ago

Let me tell you; I am happy to hear it isn't just me having some bad situations.
Cons? The biggest is seeing owners put down animals that aren't sick just because they are tired of them. Owners waiting days, weeks, months to treat a problem and then expecting it to be fixed instantly and quickly for little to no cost and getting angry when it can't be...Seeing how much of a mark-up people are charged. $2 vaccines are $25 for example...
Then getting screamed at, having things thrown at you, seeing glaring safety violations for the animals and you, and poor animal care. Vets who don't even like animals, who yell at them, shake them...Assistants/techs who stopped caring long ago, cattiness, bullying, gossip, over scheduling, no benefits, no vacation, favoritism, poor discount, unfair discounts, low pay,. Pay for an assistant here starts at about $8.50. With exp you can get anywhere from $10 to $14. Certified it goes up to $16 and in rare cases $18 with YEARS and YEARS of exp.

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Mars007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

17 months ago

Laura RVT in Cincinnati, Ohio said:
Whoo 2 Saturdays? I get every Saturday because i'm the newest girl...I'd kill for 2 Saturdays!
How can you afford your bills? I work p/t 5 days a week but even full time making what i make wouldn't cover my bills!
I agree that every clinic is different though. My fist one was AAHA and by the book. The only issue was cattiness. CVTs had it made too. They got to order assistants around to do all the work, did very very little work, and got to sit in this office most of the time. They were there for supervision only really.

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Mars007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

17 months ago

Alexandra in Phoenix, Arizona said: Hi! I would like to study: Veterinary assistant in Phoenix Arizona and was thinking to study at Animal Behavior College , can you give suggestions about another college, please.

No! You can seriously learn to be an assistant in just one day, two TOPS. It's not the same as an uncertified tech. Assistants just hold animals and fill prescriptions mostly. And clean. And if you are lucky and in a clinic with techs, they train you to do that too. Which is more skilled.
Go for a vet TECH program as that means something. A vet assistant makes as low as $8.50.
The animal behavior college, I believe, isn't anything technical either. Just animal handling experience which MAY be handy if you want to work in a kennel- which is another $8.50 job that requires cleaning and very little involvement with animals. And no exp.
If you REALLY just want to be an assistant, go to a local clinic now and apply to be one. Many hire w no exp required. NO money spent.

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Laura RVT in Cincinnati, Ohio

17 months ago

Mars007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin said:

Well, I generally only work 2 Saturdays because we have 3 techs. Our Saturday rotation is 1 doctor, 1 tech and 2 assistants. Our head tech generally doesn't work Saturdays because she knows the other tech and I will want more hours. One of our assistants works almost every Saturday because she wants to. Our practice manager is very good at catering to how many Saturdays we want to work. She'll come to me prior to posting the schedule and ask how many I want. Some months I'll volunteer to work 3, others I only want 1 or 2. I work on average 38 hours a week (7:30-6) and when I work Saturdays, I average about 42-43 hours for that week. Right now I make $12.50 an hour, so it's not too hard to do it on my salary. I don't have hundreds of dollars I am putting away in savings, but I still have money to handle all my bills, my cats receive excellent veterinary care (thank God I work in the field lol) and still able to buy things for myself.

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vital_sign_us in Fall River, Massachusetts

14 months ago

@CindyRVT
Sorry but the 'tiered' system you describe doesn't seem to actually exist from what I've read and seen. The vet I worked for didn't used Vet Assistants and frequently used me aka the Receptionist and the Vet Tech to restrain animals, do the laundry, clean the kennels, clean the surgical suite, clean and maintain the lab equipment, stock the supply closet, and enter their notes into the system (something that is illegal in EVERY state) etc . So far the ONLY vet techs that have been unionized is at Iowa State University and the last I heard, they were picketing (informational) but little else after that.
Vets and the AVMA will fight any attempts to organized unionization by the techs because 1)it will cut into their pockets and 2) they will have to charge clients more and clients already think they are charged too much. Many don't realized that the drugs required for their pet $150.00 for them costs the vet usually $125.00

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vital_sign_us in Fall River, Massachusetts

14 months ago

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CindyRVT in Henderson, Texas

14 months ago

For proof that a tiered system does exist, you simply have to look at the data collected in multiple surveys that show different classifications (credentialed veterinary technician vs non-credentialed tech or assistant) and different pay rates for those classifications.
student.aahanet.org/eweb/images/student/pdf/CompensationandBenefits_TrendsJF11.pdf discussed on pages 2 & 3 of this document
www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-technologists-and-technicians.htm
www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-assistants-and-laboratory-animal-caretakers.htm

Or even better, look at the survey results that break down who performs tasks in veterinary practices around the country: (2011 Survey) veterinaryteam.dvm360.com/firstline/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=711427

As I said, I have not suggested that unionization of veterinary technicians is common. And as for the AVMA and veterinary technicians, they do indeed support credentialing of technicians (which is what I discuss and encourage). www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/AVMA-Policy-on-Veterinary-Technology.aspx In fact, they are the agency that accredits veterinary technology programs which is required for a student to be able to sit for the veterinary technician national exam. www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Education/Accreditation/Programs/Pages/vettech-programs.aspx

You likely have a rather skewed view because you are from a state that doesn't require credentialing and where credentials are a voluntary recognition offered through your state veterinary technician association. This means that you have much less opportunity to see a tiered situation because the system to provide a tiered situation isn't setup in your state.

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CindyRVT in Henderson, Texas

14 months ago

Evidently the ether ate one of my posts.

I'm not sure where you are coming from with the comment about unionization, @vital_signs_us, because I have never mentioned unionization in any of my posts. What I have talked about is credentialing of veterinary technicians, which is done in the majority of states, and the requirements for it. Those same states where credentialing is performed, also typically have laws that differentiate between the types of tasks a veterinary technician can perform and a veterinary assistant can perform and with what levels of supervision. More than 38 states currently credential technicians and most of those require that a veterinary technician be licensed by the state.

For a breakdown on what states do credential technicians and scope of practice for technicians and assistants, you can find a table here: www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Documents/scope_vet_assistant_duties.pdf

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lol in Griffin, Georgia

14 months ago

well i want to become a vet tech it sounds really fun to help animals and all that what do u think did u like the job im doing a project on vet tech

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Sarah in South Lake Tahoe, California

14 months ago

I started working at as a vet assistant when I was 17. I worked at a few different vet offices around the country one in CT one in VA and a small one in So cal.

Yes vets are cheap. But all the ones I worked for were great. well one was a B but you just had to know how to deal with her. One was a crazy old man that did not wear deodorant. Vets can be weird but fun! I went to vet tech school after working as a assistant for a few years . I dropped out be came a snow bum. I regret not finishing school so to anyone that is in the corse and thinking about dropping out Don't Do it!

One thing about being a vet tech is that it's not a job I could see myself doing once I was in my 50s. It's a very physical job and you need good reflexes. The sad thing is for all the work vet techs do they still don't get paid well. I am 31 now and I have a bad wrist due to a snowboard accident. I don't think I could scruff a cat like I use to.

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nickyl in Loma Linda, California

11 months ago

However, when you do clinicals you really need to shine and maybe they will hire you. A lot of places I know won't hire new graduates with zero experience. So get a part time job at a clinic as a kennel tech or vet assistant or really step up during clinicals.

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anonymous in Stockton, California

6 months ago

Carrington College offers an associates in VT (vet tech). My experience was horrible! It starts with education and management and if your school lacks in those areas then you will suffer too. If you can muster up the BS and keep to yourself...basically get in and get out then you will do fine! I have consumed too much BS in a lifetime that I am very picky about being around negative people or deceit. While I attended the stockton campus, I felt ALL OF IT! IMO It all starts with management! If you don't stay on top of it then they can screw you over somehow and if you are outgoing then I suggest you keep to yourself! Now as for the career field, it all depends on who you are working for because there are aLOT of people with no integrity in this field and I can assure you, the industry preys on people who care about their pets and like I said, it depends on who your working for. If you are working for awful people then you will have bad experiences. It all depends is all I can say! If you can suck it up then great, if you can fake it till you make it, then great. I am one of those that I have put up with too much in a lifetime where I won't tolerate any BS from anyone regardless the pay. Starting out the pay is VERY VERY crappy. While I was attending school I was hired right away on one of my clinicals and they paid me entry level (min wage) and the work and how you get treated is awful but that's because I worked for shady foreigners. Gluck, I completely went into a whole new career field..something I should've done a long time ago! I have a deep love for animals and if you guys are experiencing the same then this can mess up your whole outlook...Alot of these vets don't care about animals and the way they rip people off is insane, the company I worked for can easily make 5-20k in one day!!!!

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Taylormade79 in Manassas, Virginia

4 months ago

Honestly, after reading that review, WHO would want to enter those 9 concentric rings of Hell you just described as a vet tech? I am an LVT, albeit a new one who has been in the veterinary medical field in total for about 4.5 yrs now, and you make ME not want to stay in it or progress any further if THIS is what I have to "look forward to" (at least in companion animal medicine). Geez, that's depressing! I do agree with the part about being treated like a complete imbecile just because you have an LVT after your name and the doctor has a DVM. Although, I have found the converse also to be true: doctors do not like it that I am in INTELLIGENT LVT who understands and can "hang" with much of their knowledge, although clearly I have not been trained in their diagnostic methodology. They seem threatened by it, even though I would never usurp the role of a DVM and stay within the confines of my oath as an LVT. Perhaps I am just a frustrated DVM, as they say? Anyways, is there much positive you can find in our field? You may be speaking the truth, which is all the more sad that they teach us what they do during our 2-2.5 yrs of vet tech school, only to be so severely limited in HOW and WHEN we apply that knowledge.

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anonymous in Stockton, California

4 months ago

Taylormade79 in Manassas, Virginia said: Honestly, after reading that review, WHO would want to enter those 9 concentric rings of Hell you just described as a vet tech? I am an LVT, albeit a new one who has been in the veterinary medical field in total for about 4.5 yrs now, and you make ME not want to stay in it or progress any further if THIS is what I have to "look forward to" (at least in companion animal medicine). Geez, that's depressing! I do agree with the part about being treated like a complete imbecile just because you have an LVT after your name and the doctor has a DVM. Although, I have found the converse also to be true: doctors do not like it that I am in INTELLIGENT LVT who understands and can "hang" with much of their knowledge, although clearly I have not been trained in their diagnostic methodology. They seem threatened by it, even though I would never usurp the role of a DVM and stay within the confines of my oath as an LVT. Perhaps I am just a frustrated DVM, as they say? Anyways, is there much positive you can find in our field? You may be speaking the truth, which is all the more sad that they teach us what they do during our 2-2.5 yrs of vet tech school, only to be so severely limited in HOW and WHEN we apply that knowledge.

Taylormade, are you referring to my comment? I think everyone will have diff experiences and I think it is a great field to work in but that all depends on who you work for. Management is very important and if you are around the crooked people while you have integrity then it will def not work out. You might be strong enough to block out or muster it but I no longer have the strength to do it. DVM's are threatened and they do get mad if you have knowledge and I think that goes for anyone that thinks they are superior because of their achievements! Doctors are the same way! You have gone this far and I would say not to give up just yet but long time VT's do give up down the road...

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Taylormade79 in Manassas, Virginia

4 months ago

I generally agree with alot of what you say (forgive me, I do not see who the comment is posted by thanks to indeed, but I trust you can read this like the last one). DVMs are some of the more thin-skinned professionals I have come across, but I'm sure at times I can rub them wrong simply because I am not a sheep who bows to their every demand without question. Of course, there are always pleasant exceptions to the rules. I have had a difficult time of it lately since getting my license this past fall (2014) so when I read your review of the field, it reinforced some feelings that I already have and are becoming difficult to "de-program". I totally know of those unscrupulous people you speak of that can destroy team morale and your love of the job. I hope to be in biomedical/biotechnology research before long. My education is almost completely wasted in vet technology, and vet school is totally not the good investment many people think it is. I came to this field in my early 30's so I totally can empathize with your perspective as a more mature Vet Tech!

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Taylormade79 in Manassas, Virginia

4 months ago

Taylormade79 in Manassas, Virginia said: I generally agree with alot of what you say (forgive me, I do not see who the comment is posted by thanks to indeed, but I trust you can read this like the last one). DVMs are some of the more thin-skinned professionals I have come across, but I'm sure at times I can rub them wrong simply because I am not a sheep who bows to their every demand without question. Of course, there are always pleasant exceptions to the rules. I have had a difficult time of it lately since getting my license this past fall (2014) so when I read your review of the field, it reinforced some feelings that I already have and are becoming difficult to "de-program". I totally know of those unscrupulous people you speak of that can destroy team morale and your love of the job. I hope to be in biomedical/biotechnology research before long. My education is almost completely wasted in vet technology, and vet school is totally not the good investment many people think it is. I came to this field in my early 30's so I totally can empathize with your perspective as a more mature Vet Tech!

BTW, I don't think my first reply was to your comment, but rather, a comment that talked about how terrible the vet tech field is while that commenter was giving "advice" to a younger person looking into the field. Sorry for that confusion, indeed does not seem to make it clear who I was trying to respond to :-/

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anonymous in Stockton, California

4 months ago

Taylormade79 in Manassas, Virginia said: I generally agree with alot of what you say (forgive me, I do not see who the comment is posted by thanks to indeed, but I trust you can read this like the last one). DVMs are some of the more thin-skinned professionals I have come across, but I'm sure at times I can rub them wrong simply because I am not a sheep who bows to their every demand without question. Of course, there are always pleasant exceptions to the rules. I have had a difficult time of it lately since getting my license this past fall (2014) so when I read your review of the field, it reinforced some feelings that I already have and are becoming difficult to "de-program". I totally know of those unscrupulous people you speak of that can destroy team morale and your love of the job. I hope to be in biomedical/biotechnology research before long. My education is almost completely wasted in vet technology, and vet school is totally not the good investment many people think it is. I came to this field in my early 30's so I totally can empathize with your perspective as a more mature Vet Tech!

Yes I entered the field in my early 30's and was turned off completely by the whole experience! Carrington is awful because you cannot transfer credits if you want to ride off or add to your degree/career. I hope you get into the biomedical aspect of it...I heard it was much more relaxed than the Veterinary field in general. It is truly sad and I am glad I dropped out before I had spent too much money on something I would probably quit later in life. I experienced plenty people leaving the career behind in their 40's. I wish I found a decent Office to work for but a few clinicals and actually working for a vet was draining and stressful! The pay is def not worth it at all. My whole life is animals but things took a diff turn last year and I let my passion go. It is sad but it is the best choice for me at the moment

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Truth in Federal Way, Washington

4 months ago

As an equine vet assistant of 4 years I must insist that whether a tech or an assistant make sure you PROTECT YOURSELF. The post about illegal dangers that you are pressured into being a part of is SPOT ON. And to add insult to injury you will be majorly undercompensated for your efforts.

I earned BS in large animal science and eventually ended up in KY with a vet assistant job at a large equine referral hospital. I had vast equine breeding and management experience, but limited medical experience. I was trained on the job and within 3 months I was handling and injecting radioactive isotopes into patients and running nuclear scintigraphy by myself. I was completely ignorant, not having a medical background. By 2 years I was sole manager of the bone scan, MRI and the NVSL regulated disease testing program. I Worked in the lab, surgery, 30 stall inpatient facility and ICU. We offered emergency services and sx, so I shared on call with 1 other assistant which meant NO LIFE. My responsibilities had become a lengthy list I can not fit into this post.

I received a salary of about $320 net/week plus onsite housing. A 6-7 day work week with one other tech, 2 doctors, and 2 interns. The day ends when things get done which can result in 12, 14, or 24 hr days on the regular. The other assistant had been there over 10 yrs with NO PAY INCREASE. I never received a pay increase, despite my ridiculous overflow of responsibilities. I loved the work, but when your bosses wife talks about her Jimmy Choo heels and their tropical island house... you become livid since you are helping make that happen. No appreciation. And no matter what people say, it matters. The risk of being hurt by our equine patients (which is ever-present) is not what makes it hard, it's the dead end disappointment. No matter how qualified you are you will plateau.

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alr1987 in Belmar, New Jersey

3 months ago

I am 3 months away from attending Vet Tech Institute of Pittsburgh. I currenly work as a Certified Vet Assistant at a very large emergency vet hospita. I love my job, I make a decent pay $12.75\hr. Its my passion to further myself in this field. I fell in love with VTI and the city of Pittsburgh. Its my dream to succeed and be happy in what I do. VTI even helps you find an externship in the state of your choice. And are determined for you to not slip through the cracks and pass you CVT. But, I applied for financial aid twice as a independent and got denied twice. I got approved of a $22,000 loan but I am still $11,000 short. I'm worried sick that I won't make it in the future. Like being able to afford paying off my loans. I hold a A.A.S in Liberal Arts, a certification in Applied Math in Healthcare, I have over 2 years experience working at a 24 hour emergency Vet Hospital then got promoted to work at the Rehab Center apart of my job, and also I hold over 20 credits of Continuing Education classes. Plus getting my A.A.S in vet technician and my CVT.I want to make sure that in the end everything will be okay and rewarding. I wondering in the end is my education of going back to get my A.A.S in Vet Tech, without getting my Bachelors (no i dont want toget my bachelors for personal reasons) Any advice from CVTs with experience in this field?

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alr1987 in Belmar, New Jersey

3 months ago

I am 3 months away of attending Vet Tech Institute of Pittsburgh. I currently work as a Certified Vet Assistant in NJ making $12.75 at a Emergency Vet Hospital. I absolutely love my job but I feel I would be more satisfied if I continue to be a Vet Tech. But, even as a independent I was denied financial aid twice. I received a loan for $22,625 but I am still short $11,121. I fell in love with VTI, especially Pittsburgh. I believe VTI is a perfect match for me considering I have special needs and a IEP (Individuaized Education Program) and they'll help me on every possible way I won't slip through the cracks and pass my CVT. I had a few bad experience s with colleges as I struggled before with classes. Its my dream to go to this college and the satisfaction I'll receive in the end. After graduation, I'm thinking of moving to SC where my family will be.I hold a A.A.S in Liberal Arts, a Certificate in applied math in healthcare, my Certificate in Vet Assisting, over 2 years experience working at a Emergency Vet Hospital plus being promoted to the Rehab Center, and over 20 credits in Continuing Education classes, plus on my way for a A.A.S in Specialized Technology plus my CVT. But I'm worried sick as I'm hearing bad vibes of this field and worrying if I'll make it in the end and afford to pay off my $33,000 loan. I'm getting up to a point where I am thinking of quitting my dream, which my family doesn't want me to. Any advice from experienced CVT's?

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CindyRVT in Henderson, Texas

3 months ago

The debt from a veterinary technology education is certainly a concern and even more so when you attend a for-profit program than charges 2-3 times the amount a community college or university does.

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letaguilera2012 in Arizona

3 months ago

Are you kidding me? If your worried about criticism then maybe you should make sure you are doing you job right. ..Just because they can't complain dosen't mean you aren't hurting them. You need to realize that animals, no matter how big or small, DO FEEL PAIN! You are supposed to be there to help not just do whatever because they don't complain. Jesus help the animals you handle!

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letaguilera2012 in Arizona

3 months ago

Btw that was for POOL_GODDESS.

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Laura (from vet tech to RN) in Kittanning, Pennsylvania

2 months ago

The only thing good that I will say about the veterinary technician field is that it prepares you for further education. I truly believe that in a few short years that vet tech will be an extinct job. Research has taken to hiring only those with animal science or laboratory science degrees or they hire interns (for pennies on the dollar). Since there are no unions and the economy is so bad, we are no doubt seeing the local vet office hiring only what they can afford...the veterinary assistant. That leaves no one else to hire us except for the large vet hospital and they are usually fully staffed (or just too long of a drive to get to). I chose to go to school to become a vet tech instead of RN years ago because there were no prerequisites, admission was easy, and school was a mere 18 months. In contrast, nursing school will take a year of prereqs then an additional two years to graduate, not to mention it isn't easy to be accepted as a student. I just did a search, veterinary technician and Pittsburgh yielded 30 jobs available. Same location for RN and it was over 1200 results! This is why I chose nursing, treat me bad and I'm going elsewhere for a job. No can do with vet tech!

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Kim, CVT in Denver, Colorado

21 days ago

It's hard to admit it sometimes but the longer I stay in this field, the more I regret being in it to begin with. Being a veterinary technician has made me a cold, bitter person with a very grim outlook on pet ownership, and life. It started all rainbows and puppy kisses out of tech school, but after over 5 years in the field, all I see is neglectful owners, cats that want to claw my eyes out, and dogs with no manners to speak of whatsoever. I have gotten to the point where I admit that I truly HATE other people's pets. The dog that tries to eat you when you are just trying to get a TPR, the cat that you can't even touch without sedation, the chihuahua that has never touched the ground and hates strangers. I'm being buried alive by the negligence of owners and their inability to grasp the fact that it is THEIR fault that they cannot afford veterinary care, not ours. What is it truly like to be a veterinary technician? The word "miserable" is honestly the first thing that comes to mind. My days are filled with owners that yell at me because they can't even afford a $90 exam fee (but they paid $800 for a pet store puppy). I see puppies that get parvo because their owners wouldn't pay $20 for a vaccine. I get verbally abused on a daily basis by clients that blame me for their pets' problems and their own financial strain. It's not abnormal to go home with stains on my scrubs from one or more unknown body fluids from cats, dogs, etc. I go home smelling like poop, anal glands, urine, vomit and other scents I can't even identify. I never, EVER go home on time. We are ALWAYS expected to stay late and help, (though it's an unspoken rule in many clinics), for the owner that waited until 5:30pm on a Friday to bring in their dog that has been vomiting for 4 days (but now it's an emergency). I can't tell you how many times I've cried due to the emotional stress that is put on me every single day I don my scrubs and enter that hospital.

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Kim, CVT in Denver, Colorado

21 days ago

(cont) The only reason that I am making any more than the other techs at my hospital is because I demanded it; I wouldn't settle for less and I am VERY good at what I do. Honestly, I feel that I am worth far more than i am even getting paid right now, but unfortunately the veterinary industry is riddled with owners that can't afford to care for their pets, and due to the lack of true pet insurance (most companies work on a reimbursement basis, not a deductible type of plan the way human insurance does) a lot of owners simply cannot afford to care for their animals the way they should. I can't count how many times a pet has been relinquished or euthanized due to an owner's financial strain; unfortunately we see it far too often. I'm also plagued by owners with a veterinary degree from Google University, who try to medicate and treat their pets at home, many times making the problem worse. They see us as the money-hungry enemy, not their trusted resource, and their pets suffer for it. Unfortunately, I feel like it is going to take a VERY long time for anything in the veterinary industry to improve, but a lot of it for me is simply the clients and their pets being the cause of all of my stress. Clients that hate me, dogs and cats that hate me, and me hating them right back. Of course there are the rare clients that are kind, gracious and grateful, but they are the minority a lot of the time. A lot of technicians say that those cases make it all worth it, but for me, those rare ones are simply not enough to keep me trudging through day after day, taking the emotional, verbal and physical abuse that this job entails. And I haven't even gotten to the salary yet. It should be no surprise that veterinary technicians get paid terribly. There are rare clinics that offer $8-10 above the normal for the area, particularly if the technician is a specialty tech (ER, Internal Med, Surgery, etc), but these are very hard to find, much less get a job at.

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Kim, CVT in Denver, Colorado

21 days ago

I can tell you that I live in Denver, CO (yes, I attended Bel-Rea) and started out making $11/hr (not much more than non-certified assistants). I've worked my way up to $16.25/hr simply by growing and demanding what I'm worth, and finding a clinic that will pay that. It's difficult to live on that wage in this city, with a monthly rent of $1200 (split between myself and my fiance), plus car payments, student loans, food, bills, etc. I SCRAPE by, living month to month, paycheck to paycheck. It's hard, and it's miserable. Maybe other cities have a better income to cost of living ratio, but here, it's tough to live on what I make. I barely make $30k/year after FIVE YEARS in the field. I have missed out on holidays, vacations, concerts, snowboarding, and plenty of other opportunities simply because there was no way that I could take time off of work, much less afford the trip or event. We are scraping by to save enough money for our wedding photographer. You will hear this time and again, but no one gets into this field for the money, because it's NOT THERE. If you want to help animals AND make a livable wage, go all the way and be a veterinarian, but be warned that the debt is ludicrously high compared to what you will make out of school. Honestly, the entire veterinary field suffers from low overall pay and has the highest suicide rate of any profession. The culprit is a real ailment called Compassion Fatigue. Giving and giving and giving until you have no love left. That's where I'm at right now. Rock bottom. And I can't keep doing it so I'm getting out. I'm back in school to move into human medicine and make almost 6 figures doing a much less stressful but still satisfying and challenging career. I wish i had known what I was getting into long before I signed up to be a vet tech. I wish someone had told me how miserable I would be, but they didn't. They fluffed it over with puppy kisses and kitten purrs. And I hate them for it. For lying to me.

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Kim, CVT in Denver, Colorado

21 days ago

For getting me neck deep in depression and loathing. I hate my job every day I walk into my clinic and I would never recommend it to anyone. Ever. We have no union, just NAVTA to speak for us. They are trying, and maybe some day it will be better, but probably not in my lifetime. And honestly, it wouldn't be worth waiting for because it won't change the fact that owners will still yell at you, you will still get pooped and peed on, scratched, bit and clawed, and you will still euthanize animals that could have been saved. Plain and simple, it sucks. As far as career advancement, there is no where to go aside from supervisor, or maybe practice manager, but even then, most hospitals now want someone with a Bachelor's degree for upper management. Anywhere else in the veterinary industry also requires a Bachelor's, such as most food and drug reps, reference laboratories, etc. You would be better off getting a 4 year degree and using it in the veterinary field and helping pets indirectly. Drug reps make great money, but you don't have to have been a tech to do that. My advice to you is this: For anyone out there who thinks they may want to be a veterinary technician, please don't unless you are 100% sure you are emotionally tough enough to handle all of these stresses for decades to come. Can you hold a dying pet in your arms knowing that you could have saved it if only the owners had planned ahead and made an emergency pet fund? Can you get bit and scratched day after day and still keep a smile on your face? Can you handle owners blaming you for their financial problems? If you are even questioning your stance on these, you probably shouldn't bet a vet tech. Find a job that is challenging and engaging to you, and then help in other ways by volunteering at your local animal shelter. Become a foster parent for a rescue group. There are a lot of ways to still help animals that don't require the emotional turmoil that this job will put you through. Trust someone who knows.

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vtint in Odessa, Florida

21 days ago

I lasted 3 years while going to vet school. Worked at 3 different clinics and all the same. Most Vet Techs are very territorial and competitive. They'll tell you it's all about the animals, but they're full of it. It's all about their egos. So, I'd have to say the worst part of the job are the Vet Techs. One in particular would always make fun of the clients behind their backs, calling them stupid and most of the vet techs I encountered were just plain snobs. Their were one, maybe two, vet techs that I liked but they quickly moved on elsewhere, as I did. Getting bit, cleaning, poo and pee, hard work, clients - loved all of it! I loved the job! Just wish people in the field were not so horrible. I now work from home on my computer doing customer service and it is great! No stressing out in traffic, no dealing with mean doctors or egotistical vet techs! YEY!!!!!

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vtint in Odessa, Florida

21 days ago

Mars007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin said: Let me tell you; I am happy to hear it isn't just me having some bad situations.
Cons? The biggest is seeing owners put down animals that aren't sick just because they are tired of them. Owners waiting days, weeks, months to treat a problem and then expecting it to be fixed instantly and quickly for little to no cost and getting angry when it can't be...Seeing how much of a mark-up people are charged. $2 vaccines are $25 for example...
Then getting screamed at, having things thrown at you, seeing glaring safety violations for the animals and you, and poor animal care . Vets who don't even like animals, who yell at them, shake them...Assistants/techs who stopped caring long ago, cattiness, bullying, gossip, over scheduling, no benefits, no vacation, favoritism, poor discount, unfair discounts, low pay,. Pay for an assistant here starts at about $8.50. With exp you can get anywhere from $10 to $14. Certified it goes up to $16 and in rare cases $18 with YEARS and YEARS of exp.

WoW! What kind of town do you live in? I used to be in the field and the only euths I encountered were ones that were necessary. Get over yourself.

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vtint in Odessa, Florida

21 days ago

vtint in Odessa, Florida said: WoW! What kind of town do you live in? I used to be in the field and the only euths I encountered were ones that were necessary. Get over yourself.

I do agree with the part though about the attitudes of the vet techs and assistants! Way too much ego in this field.

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Husky in Roxboro, North Carolina

20 days ago

In response to Kim from Denver:

Wow. Sorry, but you sound like someone who shouldn't be in vet med-or any medical profession whatsoever. If your school and it's experienced persons didn't fully prepare you for everything you complained about, then it's a terrible school (I know the one in my area has an orientation that describes everything you mentioned in order to turn away those that can't handle the job). If you can't handle the stress of vet med, you'll probably feel just as miserable in human medicine. Find yourself a desk job where you don't have to deal with people much.

Yes, the salary is rough, I'll give you that. Maybe I'm just very lucky to have found a hospital I fit into (and maybe you've never tried different places), but your complaints are extreme. Getting "stains" on your shirt? Well, yeah. And a good vet tech shrugs, asks a coworker if they smell like anal glands, changes their shirt, and moves on. I bet you have so much trouble with the clients and pets because they can feel your bitterness and the fact that you're suffering from severe compassion fatigue.

Yes, people can suck, nobody trains their dogs anymore, cats are easily scared, and euthanasias happen for many reasons (some not so agreeable). But the job still has a lot to offer if your personality type can deal with the stress. I urge anyone looking to get into the field to get an assistant or kennel job. You'll get a taste of the profession and you'll know if continuing is worth it.

Kim, in as unoffensive a way as I can manage to put it, getting out is definitely the right thing for you. I can honestly say I'd never want you caring for my pet or myself with all that you said in your posts. I hope you can find a job that better suits you.

I've been in this field for 10 years and have experienced bad coworkers, hateful clients, horribly behaved pets (because the owners are ignorant), and stess/pain galore! I still find it worth it to go to work most days.

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sunnyday in Tampa, Florida

18 days ago

When I was in high school I volunteered at a local vet hospital. I was very driven to get into the field, even the hospital administrator praising me and managers happy for my drive. Throughout my time, it was difficult not only from the work involved (which is to be expected) but just how much so little compassion some people have in the field sometimes, surprisingly and especially working with animals. Don't some realize you also have to work with people as well?

One coworker was very controlling in the department *knit-picking at everything I did), aside from the managers who were really helpful and friendly and one tech praised me on becoming one at the time. I had my bird for 12 years now, and at the time an owner lost their bird and one of the techs made a snarling comment by saying, "Who would want to do this for a bird?" because they wanted foot prints made. I really wanted to say something to her. Be that as it may, most would be also be so surprised there are pet cemeteries now. Some work may have had to go in it but she could've been a little more compassionate.

They are a part of our families and important members just as much as humans. I also remember a receptionist after hours said, "Why doesn't that dog shut the #%^# up?" when he was barking in the kennels. But again I could've also known she was just exhausted throughout the day as well. I remember applying at our dog's vet before where my mom took him, and when I had an interview with the veterinarian, he was very condescending. I understand the burden of having to go through school and yet the education loans, but a lot of experienced vets have been established, but he was severely lacking in interpersonal skills with humans. We switched vets.

I've also learned at the time and know for every bad apple out there, there are good and better ones out there. It is nice to know that and reading some of these comments that their heart and compassion is in this field.

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jazz in Walled Lake, Michigan

17 days ago

vtint and sunnyday have obviously not spent a lot of time working in the field. you "love" all the stuff that comes with the job except the co-workers? haha bullsh*t. you're offended when a receptionist wishes a dog who's been barking all day would shut the f up? like i said, you've not been in the business long.

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sunnyday in Tampa, Florida

11 days ago

jazz in Walled Lake, Michigan said: vtint and sunnyday have obviously not spent a lot of time working in the field. you "love" all the stuff that comes with the job except the co-workers? haha bullsh*t. you're offended when a receptionist wishes a dog who's been barking all day would shut the f up? like i said, you've not been in the business long.

No, I wasn't in the field that long. Like I said, I was also in high school at the time and explained the reasoning behind the comment too, as well as that behind many different kinds of mixtures of people in the field. I never said anything about not liking my coworkers at the time. I enjoyed working with them besides a few which is normal and common for anyone to say. Also while I particularly didn't "love" some aspects of the job there are many that I did.

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Kim, CVT in Denver, Colorado

8 days ago

To Husky,

Thanks for pointing out what I was obviously getting at: this job isn't for me. My point was that it's not the fluffy, happy job that people want to pretend it is. Yeah, a lot of it is great, but for someone like me, the cons outweigh the pros. I don't find any joy in it anymore. Compassion fatigue is real, and I'm living proof. And don't worry, I don't want to touch your pets anyway, or anyone else's for that matter. Obviously I'm getting out ASAP.

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