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Veterinary technicians provide many basic treatment services in a veterinarian clinic. They perform lab tests, give shots, do blood and test analyses and clean and maintain equipment. A two-year degree and a state license or certification are typical requirements to get into this career, which has its ups and downs.
Nursing Animals to Health
On its veterinary technician program website, the Pima Medical Institute describes technicians as "animal nurses." While vets get much of the credit and money, techs often get at least as intimately involved in caring for sick and injured animals. Additionally, when you earn your degree, you become an expert in animal behavior, care and treatment. Not only can you help the animals, but you often offer advice to owners about proper care for health maintenance.
Diverse Career Options
With vet tech certification, you can actually enjoy a very stable and diverse career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 52 percent for technician jobs through 2020, which aligns with general growth in pet care. You can choose from a number of employment settings too, including traditional vet clinics, zoos and wildlife preserves and humane societies. Animal health research is another possibility for a vet technician.
Pay for veterinary technicians is very modest, compared to the much higher salaries earned by veterinarians. The average annual salary for a tech as of May 2012 was $31,470, according to the BLS. With a little more time in school, you can become a veterinarian. The average annual salary for vets was $93,250 as of May 2012.
Sick and Injured Animals
Though a love of animals helps, getting emotionally attached to the sick and injured animals you care for can add stress to your job. Additionally, vet techs have an above-average injury and illness rate, the BLS reports, because they care for animals with illnesses and diseases that occasionally infect humans. Plus, injured animals can sometimes get aggressive and bite, scratch or claw when frightened.
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- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statististics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012: Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Veterinarians
- Pima Medical Institute: Veterinary Technician Program
- Hillsborough Community College: Veterinary Technology Program
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images