Inside Vet Technician Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Vet Techs Take On Many Roles Within A Clinic...
Most people are surprised by everything that a veterinary technician actually does and how little it pays. Besides assisting the veterinarian, the technician assumes the role of dental hygienist, hospice nurse, laboratory technician, radiology technician, surgical assistant, anesthesiologist, patient advocate, and so much more. The pay does not usually align with these roles as it only marginally pays above minimum wage." (Veterinary Technician; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Veterinary at Penn Foster in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2012

"Not Enough Variety...
I was surprised by how quickly I became bored with the work that I was doing. I though that there would be enough variety to keep me interested, but it's really just the same situations with different patients and it got old a lot faster than I thought it would." (Registered Veterinary Technician; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Veterinary Technology at Foothill College in California; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Human Interaction Important Too...
I was surprised about how much of a people-person you have to be in order to work as a veterinary technician. Although animals are your main focus, humans are extremely important as well." (Veterinary Technician; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Veterinary Technology at Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Repetitive Nature Of The Job...
I work in a pathology vet lab, and what I'm most surprised about is the repetitive nature of the job. It is a very independent kind of a job, not a lot of communication with others is necessary to accomplish the goal as a histology technician. In addition, the amount of work that needs to be done, and the relative weakness of the benefits is also surprising." (Histology Technician; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Biology: Neurobiology, Physiology, And Behavior at UC Davis in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"I was surprised to find how much work being a Vet Tech is. It takes a long time to understand everything there is to it." (Vet Tech; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Vet Tech at Cincinnati University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

I was most surprised at the amount of team work and support you receive from co-workers. It is not a job you do single handedly, the entire office works together to do one job." (Vet Tech; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Veterinary Technology at Penn Foster in Arizona; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Good People Skills Are Essential...
I was surprised at how difficult it can sometimes be to deal with the pet owners. The pets themselves are usually much more predictable in their actions than the owners." (Vet Tech; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, female
School: Studied Veterinary Technology at Colorado Academy Of Veterinary Technology in Colorado; completed Associate degree in 2011

"I was surprised how much responsibility a technician has. We are the right hand of the doctor and the person whose job it is to not only care for the animals but to do lab work, x-rays, anesthesia, pharmacy, client education, dental cleanings and assessments, calculations and administrations of controlled drugs, surgery assistants and the first contact for most pet owners. I was also surprised by the low pay and lack of respect we get. If a human nurse had to do what we do they would have many degrees and only in one species where we have to know many." (Registered Veterinary Technician; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Veterinary Technology at Columbus State Community College in Ohio; completed Associate degree in 2004

"It's a ton of work, but it's a lot less working with the public (at least in my current position) then we were taught. I get to spend most of time working with the animals, working on lab work, and studying, which I love. I hear other Vet Techs complaining about how they have to deal with the owners, but that's what the Vet and Assistants do at my job!" (Vet Tech; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Science-Biology at Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina; completed Associate degree in 2012

"I was surprised how much I enjoyed working with the animals in such a fast-paced, stressful environment. Normally I wouldn't enjoy something that took that much out of me on a daily basis but it was nice seeing how well I could succeed and how much trust my colleagues had in me." (Pet Stylist; 2012)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Pet Grooming at Petsmart Grooming Academy in California; completed Certificate degree in 1999

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Veterinary Technician: "My job has a great daily satisfaction to it. I get to work with dogs and cats all day. The only real downside of my day is the cleaning of big messes, such as when a pet get sick." (2011)

Career Background

Vet Technician

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"You Can't Learn Everything In A Book...
If you want to be successful in your career as a veterinary technician, you need to find a good clinic or hospital setting that allows for further advancement and training. Get a good mentor willing to teach you all the many aspects of the job." (Veterinary Technician; 2014)

"A Positive Emotional Outlet Is Necessary...
This can be a very emotional job, and there are times when you need to figure out the best way for you to deal with the emotional tolls the job may take on you. But the rewards for working with animals makes the job worth it." (Vet Tech; 2013)

"Emotional Work...
Make sure you are prepared for the emotions that come along with the job, a lot of people want to see how we help but on a daily basis you also see the hurt." (Vet Tech; 2013)

"Go To Veterinary School...
I would suggest going to veterinary school instead of settling after undergrad with a bachelor's, if you want to work in the veterinary field." (Histology Technician; 2013)

"Volunteer First...
I highly recommend getting some hands-on volunteer experience or at least shadowing someone before jumping in to a vet tech career. It isn't working with cute puppies and kittens all day, a lot of animals are scared and will try to bite and scratch. Plus there is a lot of cleaning up after sick animals involved. Know what you are getting into to make sure it is right for you." (Registered Veterinary Technician; 2013)

"Start At A Clinic...
After graduating, avoid going into a lab-centered career. Stay at a clinic for a couple of years to fully work on all of your skills." (Veterinary Technician; 2013)

"Get Experience...
Try to find as much experience as you can." (Vet Tech; 2013)

"Compassion Is Essential...
You should learn as much as you can before going into this field. You should also have a big heart and a great deal of passion for this career as it is demanding. If you have to start in the kennel be grateful for the opportunity and learn all you can." (Veterinary Technician; 2011)