What You Need to Know About Vet Tech Pay

Veterinary technicians, according to several reports, have been in demand in the United States since the late 2000s. This trend is expected to continue well into 2022. In the past, vet techs were popular among businesses involved in poultry and livestock, but nowadays, when practically everyone has a pet, they have become even more in demand. This is one of the reasons why a lot of people want to get into good vet tech schools.

This is also one of the reasons why vet technicians receive a good salary rate. It may not be of the same level as the one doctors get, but it is good compensation for their skills, hard work, and dedication.

But before we start talking about vet tech pay, let’s find out kind of work a veterinary technician really does.

Understanding the Responsibilities of a Veterinary Technician

Generally, a vet technician’s job is similar in some ways to that of a nurse’s. His main task is to assist the veterinarian when conducting tests or physical examinations for animals. They help veterinarians take care of animals who are sick or injured.

Aside from the above mentioned responsibilities, a veterinary technician can also perform other functions. Some examples include:

  • Administering medications
  • Inducing anesthesia
  • Assisting in surgical procedures
  • Performing respiratory tests
  • Taking pulse rates and temperature
  • Doing catheterization
  • Feeding animal patients
  • Assisting and/or performing dental procedures
  • Collecting blood and stool samples from animals

Likewise, vet techs are also often tasked with clerical responsibilities like file organization and record updating. In addition to this, when the veterinarian is out or not available, the veterinary technician is given the responsibility of taking care of and monitoring the animals/patients.

While being a pet lover will definitely be a big help for vet techs, it is not the primary qualification. Like doctors and veterinarians, vet technicians need to complete a program designed specifically for the job they want to have. In the United States, several schools (colleges and universities accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association or AMVA) offer veterinary technician programs that provide all the necessary education, training (theoretical and hands-on), and licensing.

After completing the program, one will not automatically become a veterinary technician. Instead, one has to proceed to the credentialing stage, which usually starts with the Veterinary Technician National Exam or VTNE. Only licensed vet techs can start working with a veterinarian in a clinic, healthcare facility, or hospital.

The Average Vet Tech Salary

Becoming a veterinary technician takes a lot of hard work, skills, and dedication. Being a good one requires more hard work, dedication, and a commitment to constant improvement and learning. Likewise, an efficient and reliable vet tech knows that the job can be quite demanding. There will be times when one has to stay on his feet, at work, for 10 or more hours.

These are some of the reasons why vet tech salaries are expected to be at a high rate. It is a specialized job, which means not everyone is capable of doing it.

Vet tech wages vary from state-to-state, but an average rate is usually used as basis. But the numbers are good, though.

In May 2011, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, vet techs earned an annual wage of more than $31,000 (average), or roughly over $15 an hour. About 10% of the best paid vet techs that years received around $44,000, while the lower 10% earned approximately $20,000 ($10+ per hour). Vet tech specialists or highly experienced techs can make upwards of $60,000-$80,000 per year. This also includes technicians that manage AVMA accredited programs that train veterinary technicians.

For the 2012-2013 period, the average vet tech salary was pegged at more or less $29,000 per year. It was reported, however, that some received as much as $40,000 plus annually. Again, this is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2015, the median salary for a vet technician is roughly $31,800. This is according to money.usnews.com. That year, the highest paid vet tech received over $40,000, while the lowest paid got more than $20,000.

Updated reports online, via indeed.com, indicated that the (approximately) average per hour salary of veterinary technicians as of May 28, 2017 is $14.65.

New veterinary technicians are expected to get more or less $18,000 annually, but this is expected to increase as the months or years go by. One of the best ways for a vet tech to earn a higher salary is by choosing to specialize in a particular field like anesthesia. Also, if you choose to start with a specialization like research or animal research, you should expect a lower salary rate. Then again, you can always decide to do further studies and earn another specialization, one that comes with a higher rate once you are employed.

According to 2010 statistics, the states that offer the highest veterinary technician salary rates are Massachusetts ($39,000-$45,000), New York ($22,000-$43,000), and California ($19,000-$45,000). In the year 2015, the highest pay rate for vet techs was in Alaska ($40,970), with Massachusetts a close second ($40,120). However, in recent more recent reports (March & April 2017), the state of Colorado is said to have competitive rates, too, particularly in the cities of Denver (average: $26,349-$50,023 per year) and Colorado Springs (with an annual average of $31, 426).

It is therefore safe to conclude that the pay rate of veterinary technicians varies depending on location or in which state he practices.

Factors That Affect Vet Tech Salary

There are several factors that determine the pay rate or scale of a veterinary technician. Here are the most common ones:

1.) Employer

It is important to remember is that the kind of employer affects the vet tech pay rate. If you are employed in small or private clinics, the pay can be smaller. The same thing goes for vet tech employment in an animal shelter. Hospitals and laboratories that are federal or state government-owned often have a higher vet tech pay scale.

Specialty clinics may also offer higher rates, such as those that focused on animal dermatology, dentistry, internal medicine, and cardiology.

However, this is not true in all cases and instances. These healthcare facilities and institutions do not employ majority of vet technicians. Only a small number work for them because, first and foremost, they have a different standard or set of guidelines for accepting applicants.

Likewise, you need to consider that most of these hospitals and clinics offer additional benefits to its employees. These may not be money, but they’re still essential for one’s daily survival.

If you want a definitive advantage over other vet techs, though, you can always specialize.

2.) Specialization

Earning a good pay rate will be easier if you specialize in a particular field. But it is important to know which ones to choose. For example, a vet tech working in animal research will not earn the same pay rate as a vet technician who specializes in anesthesia.

And as previously mentioned, a new vet tech is expected to earn a lesser pay rate, but he can always move up the ladder by specializing.

The specialties that veterinary technicians can choose from include:

  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Internal Medicine
  • Equine
  • Behavior Tech
  • Anesthesia/Anesthetist
  • Nutritional
  • Dental/Dentistry
  • Zoo Vet Tech
  • Veterinary Nutrition

3.) Education

Veterinary technicians who completed a 4-year program or a bachelor’s degree are expected to earn more than those with associated degrees only. Four-year programs tend to cover more areas of veterinary tech and students have more opportunities to do hands-on practice.

Likewise, majority of bachelor’s degrees offer internship programs that further enhance the skills of students (aside from giving them self-confidence).

4.) Experience

Veterinary technicians who have been practicing for years, and with a good track record, tend to earn more than those who just started their profession. So if you think you’re not earning that much yet but you’ve been in practice for only a year, fret not because you’re bound to earn more, especially if your work is exemplary.

5.) Cost of Living

A city, state, or country with a high cost of living tends to offer higher salary rates than those with lower cost of living. Therefore, the place or location where you decide to work or practice your profession is an important factor in determining how much salary you can get as a vet tech.

In Conclusion

Veterinary technicians are professionals who are trained to perform specific tasks that not everyone is capable of doing. They work just as hard as nurses, doctors, and their veterinarian bosses. For these reasons, they deserve to get a good salary rate.

Above everything else, however, it is important to remember that your salary is not the only thing that matters in whatever job you do. The best thing about being given the chance to practice your profession is that you are able to do something you love and are passionate about – and you get paid for doing it. As a veterinary technician, you help a lot of people – pet owners/pet parents/pet families – who pin their hopes on you. You and the veterinarian are the only ones who can make them happy; who can restore the lives of their pets. That alone is already enough compensation for your hard work.

Tips for Choosing Good Schools for Vet Tech

If you love animals and like to spend your days taking care of them, you have a good chance of becoming a veterinary technician. Basically, a vet tech is to a veterinarian what a nurse is to a medical doctor. A vet tech assists and performs various functions under the supervision and direct orders of a veterinarian.

The most common responsibilities of a vet technician are observing the health condition of animals, performing laboratory examinations, giving medications, administering vaccines, caring for injured or sick animals, and cleaning or bathing animals. Occasionally, they perform more complicated tasks, but not without the supervision of a veterinarian.

Majority of veterinary clinics assign vet techs to mostly small animals like dogs, cats, and birds, although there are instances when bigger animals, like cattle, would need health-related assistance. Nevertheless, a vet technician is trained to handle practically all types (and sizes) of animals.

Aside from performing nurse-like duties, a veterinary technician also does supervisory and clerical tasks. Some examples include assisting fellow vet techs, managing the staff schedules, and doing some reports.

Vet technicians are confident and compassionate, they have an eye for detail, and they are meticulous. Additionally, a good vet tech has a solid background in math and science, specifically in algebra, chemistry, and biology.

In Demand

Even if veterinary technicians are not as popular as medical doctors, there is a great need for them. The demand for good vet techs is on a constant rise. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number can go up to at least 30% or over 20,000 from today until around the year 2022.

So if you’re planning to become one, you have the assurance of a future filled with good opportunities.

However, since veterinary technicians are licensed and state-credentialed, it is important to get the proper training. But getting the proper training and education, is more than just going to school and listening to the professional instructors. To become a licensed vet technician, it is essential to get into the right vet tech school.

Tips for Choosing the Best Vet Tech School

There are several things that you need to consider in choosing a vet tech school. Aside from asking about fees and other related stuff, it is also important to take note of details that will give you an idea of what kind of vet tech education the school or college provides.

Here are some useful tips that you should follow if you want to make the best decision when choosing a veterinary technician school.

1.) Choose an Accredited Vet Technician School

Do not just go for any school; rather, look for a veterinary technician school that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association or AMVA. If you choose just any school – an ordinary one – all the studying, training, and learning will be for nothing because you will NOT qualify for veterinary technician credentials required to work. Also, if you select a school that is not accredited, your degree won’t receive any weight, especially when you start looking for a job.

In addition to an AMVA accreditation, the school or schools for vet tech that you choose should have professors or instructors who are licensed in the field. Likewise, they should be practicing or at least with actual vet tech experience. If possible, find a way to gather information about their career and education background.

Practicing instructors are a big help because they can share first-hand, actual vet tech experiences to their students.

2.) Choose a Vet Tech School That Has Onsite Facilities

A good veterinary technician school must have world-class onsite facilities. This will give you and other students opportunities for well-rounded hands-on training. In other words, you can freely test and practice what is taught by your instructors. Some examples of useful facilities for schools include laboratories (that are usually patterned after actual clinics or labs), surgical suites (where vet tech students can learn to assist vets hands-on), and animal kennels (temporary homes for the animals).

The best thing to do to find out if the school has enough facilities for vet tech students is to ask for a tour of the campus, particularly in the area where the veterinary technician facilities are supposed to be found. Make sure that the facilities are equipped with the right equipment and that the vet tech instructor or faculty assigned to the them are well-trained and experienced.

Likewise, try to find out if the school or schools on your list have partnerships or work closely with licensed animal facilities and the zoos in your area.

Certified veterinary technician schools need world-class vet tech facilities so that students like you will find it easy to replicate what actually happens in a vet tech clinic or hospital.

3.) Choose a Veterinary Technician School That Offers a Variety of Training Methods

One of the most important elements of a good vet tech school is the kind of training methods it offers or uses. Going for a school that has just one method will not be a good decision; choose a school or schools that offer a combination of methods. By doing this, you’ll have netter chances of gaining wide knowledge, which will prove to be useful once you start working. In education and work, having extensive experience is always a good thing.

Take note of the following methods as these are the ones that should be offered by the best veterinary technician schools.

a. Classroom Lectures

The first few weeks is usually reserved for discussions on non-clinical or laboratory-related topics. Some examples are the lectures on the responsibilities of a veterinary technician, as well as classes that focus on understanding medical terms.

b. Clinical or Laboratory Learning

This method is quite similar to the concept of internship where students are sent to offices (or wherever they should be working) to get actual and formal work experience. In the case of vet technician students like you, the workplace can be a clinic or laboratory and your boss is the veterinarian.

Every day, for a certain period of time, you will be working alongside the veterinarian, so you’ll be applying everything you learned to actual animal-patients. This is the highest form of hands-on activity.

Since you will actually be working in a clinic or laboratory, or maybe even in a hospital, you will not only be exposed to different patients (or animals), you’ll also have to deal with different kinds of clients (people!). Therefore, you won’t only have access to first-class animal healthcare, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn all that you can about proper customer service.

c. Applied Learning or Service Learning

These are different from hands-on or clinical learning because students are usually tasked to carry out vet tech responsibilities in community clinics intended for animal immunization and physical exams. Of course, student will be performing under the supervision or a professional licensed veterinarian.

Applied Learning projects are usually free and intended for local and small communities. It helps students translate their classroom learning to actual practice.

However, not all vet technician schools offer applied or service learning.

4.) Choose a Vet Tech School That Helps Students Find Jobs

A lot of modern-day schools regularly offer job placement assistance and even career advice sessions. A good veterinary technician school provides the same assistance to its students, too. Find one that will continue to help and support you (and your goals) even after you have graduated.

Go for a veterinary technician school that employs professional career advisers. These advisers will guide you in a lot of things, but particularly in deciding which direction to take in your career.

5.) Finally, choose a veterinary technician school that offers the Veterinary Technician National Examination or VTNE to its students who complete the vet tech studies or course. A school that offers this service is one that you can trust, particularly in terms of giving the right education and training; one that prepares you and your fellow students for the technician exam.

Some schools do not offer the Veterinary Technician National Examination but uses a similar exam mandated by the state where it is located.

Once you have chosen a good and reliable veterinary technician school, you can start working on your dream of becoming a licensed vet tech. After completing the program, the first thing you’ll need to do is take all the exams you are required to take (the VTNE, for example).

After completing and passing the exams, you can now work on your credentials. There are several procedures that you can choose from: RVT or Registered Veterinary Technician, Certified Veterinary Technician or CVT, and LVT or Licensed Veterinary Technician.

Your school should be willing to assist you in your credentialing.

In Conclusion

It takes more than just a love of animals to become a good veterinary technician. You need to have the determination, courage, physical and mental strength, and love & passion for animals. Most important of all, you need to get into a good and reliable veterinary technician school to make sure you get the best education and training.

Take note of the above mentioned tips and suggestions – and keep them in mind – if you are about to start planning your veterinary technician education.

Preparing Your Requirements to Get Into the Best Vet Tech School

Veterinary technicians, although not as popular as hospital medical technicians, are some of the most respected in the world. In addition, they are also quite in-demand and well-compensated, especially in the Colorado area. But the road to becoming a good vet tech is not an easy one. There are a lot of things that you need to consider aside from your love of animals.

In order to understand what the requirements are to get into a vet tech school, you need to first understand what a vet tech is.

What is a Veterinary Technician?

A vet tech works under the guidance and direct supervision of a licensed, professional veterinarian. What a nurse is to a medical doctor, the vet tech does for the veterinarian. Aside from assisting in the first aid and healthcare needs of animals, a vet tech also performs the following tasks:

  • Provides assistance to vets during procedures and examinations.
  • Provides all nursing care to patients except that vet techs do not perform surgery, prescribe medication, or diagnose.
  • Performs diagnostic tests for animals.
  • Monitors and records conditions and developments of veterinary patients.
  • Cares for animal patients, particularly the ones under medication or treatment.
  • With the supervision and approval of the veterinarian, a vet tech dispenses medications.
  • Talks to and establishes a professional relationship with pet owners.
  • Helps in educating and making pet owners aware about proper and humane pet care, disease prevention and treatment, and animal behavior.

The vet tech is a well-rounded and level-headed person. He or she loves animals and is passionate about taking care of the veterinary patients’ needs. They may or may not specialize in a particular field, including dermatology, behavior, rehabilitation, equine nursing, internal medicine, and nutrition, among others.

Colorado Vet Tech School Requirements

Now that you know what a vet tech is, you’re ready to start your journey towards becoming one. The first thing you need to do, however, is to prepare all the requirements that the Colorado vet tech school of your choice might ask for.

A CVT or Certified Veterinary Technician is a graduate of a program that is Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities-approved. The CVTEA operates under the AVMA or American Veterinary Medical Association.

Likewise, he or she has to apply for membership at the CACVT or the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians. The CACVT is Colorado’s largest vet tech association.

Before you can get to these two levels, though, you need to find a good vet tech school first and make sure that you are qualified to enroll in their program. Here are some of the most important Colorado vet tech schools requirements:

A Solid Background in Math, Chemistry, Biology, and Microbiology

Veterinary technicians are expected to do a lot of dosage and medication measurement, as well as use equipment like microscopes. As such, it is important to have a strong foundation in math and science subjects. It can greatly help if training in the said subjects started in high school.

Good Communication Skills

Veterinary technicians interact with people a lot. Therefore, he or she needs to be comfortable talking with pet owners from different walks of life.

A Basic Understanding of Animal Physiology and Anatomy

Some knowledge on animal physiology and anatomy is important because a good vet tech needs to know how to handle dogs, cats, and other pet animals. A good vet tech knows the ins and outs of proper animal care.

A Good High School Education

Most vet tech schools require students to complete high school before joining the veterinary technician program.

Apart from these academic and school-related requirements, an aspiring vet technician should also possess the following qualities:


An aspiring vet tech should be compassionate especially since he or she will need to talk to worried or distraught pet owners. A good vet tech empathizes with these pet owners.

Pays Attention to Detail

An aspiring vet tech should be attentive to his or her surroundings. He or she should know how to look at even the tiniest detail. When the time comes, he or she will have to take note of patient information, give medication to dogs and other pet animals. Likewise, a good vet tech knows how to record precise information or details, particularly when carrying out diagnostic tests for the animal patients.

Proficient or Adept in Handling Tasks

The more proficient a vet tech is; the more effective he or she can be. Tasks like measuring medication, checking medical instruments, or administering anesthesia to animal patients will require a high level of proficiency.

Excellent Problem Solving Skills

An aspiring vet technician should have excellent problem solving skills. In certain situations, like when an injured pet is rushed into the clinic, a vet tech is expected to come up with an innovative way of dealing with the injury.

What to Expect From A Vet School

Generally, schools offer a two-year veterinary technician course that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association or AVMA. Most of these are associate degree programs, but aspiring vet technicians can choose to take a 4-year veterinary technology course if you want a more comprehensive coverage. The vet technology bachelor’s degree is ideal for those who plan to build a career working in research laboratories.

Examples of the programs and course curriculum in vet technology schools in Colorado include lab animal medicine, pharmacology, pathology, veterinary anatomy, surgery, animal behavior, and anesthesia.

Vet tech students are given the chance to work closely with animals. Likewise, they have hands-on training, which is a major help in developing the confidence and skills of aspiring vet techs.

As previously mentioned, vet technicians have the option to choose a specialization. These programs vary from one school to another, but all share the same goal of exposing students to actual veterinary scenarios and getting students to experience hands-on training .

High School Students

In some cases, there are high school students who plan to get into a vet tech school. For those who plan to do so, a good background in math and science can be a big help. To prepare, aspiring vet tech students are required to find a summer or part-time job in animal clinics. This will help initially expose them to the world of veterinary technicians.

Anyone planning to become a good vet technician should first choose a good school offering the highest quality vet tech programs. Here in Colorado, there are more or less eight educational institutions that you can choose from. Pick the best one for you now!

CACVT: Certified Veterinary Technicians for World-Class Veterinary Care

Veterinarians are an important member of any community. In Colorado, vets are special everyday heroes who take care of our animals. Helping them make their work easier are veterinary technicians.

Vet techs are just as important as veterinarians. Without them, a vet will not be able to perform all the functions well. Vet techs are trusted partners, so they do not only lighten the load of veterinarians; they also help make sure that what needs to be done is done in the best way possible.

While they are busy helping vets take care of our beloved animal friends, veterinary technicians also need to be taken care of. This is why the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians, or CACVT, is here.

Based in Denver, Colorado, the CACVT is a “credentialing entity and professional association for certified veterinary technicians”. It currently enjoys a membership of more or less 3,000 and is considered the largest state vet tech association in the United States.

Why the CACVT is Here

The Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians is dedicated to its 5-point mission.

1.) It is the goal of CACVT to provide certification and certification assistance to veterinary technicians based in Colorado. It provides a step-by-step guide to those who want to become a certified veterinary technician, even detailing the eligibility requirements vet tech hopefuls need to consider.

CACVT also offers step-by-step assistance to active CVTs (certified veterinary technicians), as well as to associate CVTs. Likewise, it accepts vet tech students as members.

As student members are not yet certified vet techs, the CACVT accepts only those who are enrolled in an Accredited Veterinary Technology Program or AVMA. Student members can become a qualified CACVT member if they are enrolled at the Bel Rea Institute, the Colorado Mountain College, or PIMA – Colorado Springs.

Those who do not attend any of the abovementioned schools can become a member by shelling out a very affordable $15 for Individual Student Membership.

The Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians follows strict guidelines and standards for eligibility and credentialing in all of the United States.

2.) The CACVT is dedicated to promoting world class animal health and welfare. It acknowledges the fact that animals are essential to humans, so it is our responsibility to make sure that they are in the best of health and that their living conditions are comfortable and convenient.

Members and partners of the CACVT are advocates of proper healthcare for animals.

3.) The Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians advocates the veterinary healthcare team. Collectively, the organization believes that animals deserve healthcare attention from the best veterinary team.

Veterinary healthcare team members contribute their abilities and special skills in ensuring that world-class veterinary care is afforded to animals. Likewise, the team coordinates with the animal owners in the most professional and compassionate ways. The veterinary technician is a part of this team, whose members are all dedicated to providing top quality service at all times, to all animals.

4.) CACVT works in partnership with allied groups and the veterinary community in Colorado to provide the best support, assistance, care, and training for certified veterinary technicians.

It collaborates with the community and allied groups in organizing, promoting, and inspiring events intended to help CVTs continuously improve at their practice. These events are usually scattered throughout the year and take place in Denver and other parts of Colorado.

Some of CACVT’s partners and sponsors are Hill’s, VSS, Ames Diversified Services LLC, Veterinary Behavior Consultants of Colorado, Elanco, Homeward Bound Pet Memorial Center & Crematorium, Royal Canin, and Zoetis.

The association’s regular exhibitors are Ames Diversified Services – Professional Cremation for Companion Animals, Banfield Pet Hospital, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, Elanco, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Homeward Bound, IT-Guru, Monument Pharmacy, Pencol Pharmacy, Royal Canin, and Veterinary System Services.

Likewise, the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians is also supported by the Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society, Colorado Mountain College, and well-respected doctors and professionals who believe in the importance of animal healthcare and welfare.

5.) The Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians provides educational opportunities to CVTs. Additionally, the association also offers assistance to certified vet techs who are up for certification renewal. There are requirements that CVTs need to meet, but the CACVT has a detailed step-by-step guide for these.

What Else Does the CACVT Offer?

Aside from its 5-point mission, the CACVT also acts as a platform where veterinary technicians can interact with each other through the various activities it organizes and supports. Likewise, animal owners can access CACVT’s public online certification directory, which is where they can find a list of all the current certified veterinary technicians in Colorado.

For CVTs who are looking to be employed, the CACVT website has a detailed job board that lists career opportunities for anyone looking for a part time or full time vet tech job. The list is regularly updated and includes details of the job and the location of the company/facility.

Who Leads CACVT?

The Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians is managed by a group of highly experienced, well-trained and educated, and dedicated certified veterinary technicians. Its executive director is Juliebeth Pelletier, CVT, while Jennifer Cunningham is designated as the association’s Certification & Membership Coordinator.

Pelletier and Cunningham are assisted by highly reputable professionals in the veterinary technician industry. The executive board, its committee chairs, and regional liaisons come from different parts of Colorado. Each one of them is committed to carrying out the mission of the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians.

CACVT Membership Requirements

For certified veterinary technicians who want to join CACVT, the following are the requirements:

*Must be a graduate of an AVMA-accredited veterinary technology program.
*Must have passed the VTNE or Veterinary Technician National Exam.
*Must register with the state credentialing entity.
*Must maintain certification renewal and continuing education requirements throughout his or her career.

Those who do not qualify for certification can still become Associate Members. Associates will not be granted certification but will have access to member benefits.

The Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians is in the top five of the highest number of credentialed veterinary technicians by state. The CACVT produces world-class veterinary technicians that provide exceptional veterinary care.

Vet Tech Salaries


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports that the median annual Vet. Tech. salary is $31,800 per year.  This can be very misleading.  Consider this: the $31,800 per year Vet. Tech. salary is $15.29 per hour.  Graduates of the Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology Vet. Tech. program START at $14.00 to $17.00 per hour (which is a Vet. Tech. salary of $29,106 to $35,343.  So… why is the median so low?  This has to do with the definition of median salary.

Vet. Tech. salaries depend on experience.

Vet. Tech. salaries can vastly exceed the national average.

The MEDIAN means that half of the measured salaries are above the median, and half are below.  The MEDIAN says NOTHING about how HIGH salaries can go.  In fact, salaries can reach $80,000-$90,000 per year (there is, as a technical matter, no true upper limit).  Higher salaries are earned by Vet. Techs. who are specialists, faculty members at Vet. Tech. schools and universities, Vet. Techs. in industry (in research for example), or are part owners of clinics.  In addition, Vet. Tech. salaries creep higher once a Vet. Tech. has increased experience, especially in clinics or in office management.  Therefore, the MEDIAN says NOTHING about how high salaries can go.

Emergency Vet. Techs. earn generally higher Vet. Tech. salaries.

Emergency Vet. Techs. earn generally higher Vet. Tech. salaries.

To become a VTS or veterinary technician specialist, you must be in the field for about 5 years.  This will enable you to begin to accumulate the required hours to apply for your VTS.  Several organizations called colleges manage these credentials.  You can increase your Vet. Tech. salary by applying for specialization in: internal medicine, surgery, laboratory medicine, diagnostic imaging, emergency nursing, and several other fields.   A VTS might increase their Vet. Tech. Salary by working in a specialty facility or veterinary teaching facility.

Lab. Animal Vet. Techs. can earn higher Vet. Tech. salaries.

Lab. Animal Vet. Techs. can earn higher Vet. Tech. salaries.

Vet. Techs. That work in emergency clinics generally make higher Vet. Tech. salaries as well.   Emergency veterinary technicians care for critically ill patients that may have been sick for some time before going to see a veterinarian, or may have been suddenly and seriously injured. They may also care for animals that may be recovering from major surgery. Emergency Vet. Techs. employ a greater degree of skill and experience, so they generally earn higher Vet. Tech. Salaries.

Another career option for Vet. Techs. is to become a laboratory animal technician.   Laboratory animal technicians are specially credentialed to work in laboratories housing laboratory animal species such as rats and mice. Vet. Tech. Salaries for these Vet. Techs. tend to be higher, because they employ special skills in a highly technical environment.  Jobs that pay higher Vet. Tech. Salaries for lab animal technicians are found in veterinary teaching hospitals, industry, and the research divisions of large hospitals.

So, Vet. Tech. salaries increase as you gain more experience and skills during your career.  Remember: this is about more than just money.  Vet. Techs. are skilled medical professionals with meaningful jobs.


Why should I be credentialed after attending CAVT to work as a veterinary technician?

In order to work in many states, you must be either a CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician), RVT (registered veterinary technician), or LVT (licensed veterinary technician).  This varies by state.  Colorado is a CVT (certification) state.  In order to apply to a state for credentialing, you must graduate from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited school such as the Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology (CAVT).

Although some states allow you to work as a technician (of sorts) without credentialing, veterinarians will prefer to hire you, because credentialed technicians possess a variety of skills that enable them to act as fully functioning veterinary nurses.  For example, at the CAVT, students learn to place catheters, draw blood, perform blood tests, administer anesthesia, and perform first aid.  These are skills with rigorous requirements that take at least 2 years to learn.  CAVT students gain these skills in the CAVT clinic and also engage in a 400 hour internship before graduation from the CAVT.

Credentialed graduates of the CAVT are also eligible to specialize.  To apply for specialization, you must log hours in a particular area of expertise, submit case studies, and pass a rigorous exam.  Once specialized as a VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialist) you may work at a veterinary specialty center, teach, or consult.  These individuals also command higher salaries.   This is only available to you if your are credentialed after graduating from an AVMA accredited school such as the CAVT.

In addition, only credentialed technicians, are, as a technical matter, qualified to administer anesthesia, and perform necessary medical calculations needed to dispense drugs.   Matters of life and death involving anesthesia and dispensing of drugs should only be performed by qualified personnel.  At the CAVT, students learn all the AVMA required tasks that veterinary technician students must learn prior to graduation.

Call the CAVT at 719-219-9636 to learn more about our school and how to make an appointment for a tour.