If someone has a love of animals and is looking to embark on a rewarding new career path, they may consider becoming a vet tech. While earning potential is not the only reason to pursue a career, it’s helpful to get an idea of a possible salary range before working towards a career as a vet tech. So, how much does a vet tech make? According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for a vet tech is $36,850.
Read on to learn more about how much vet techs make, how salaries vary by state, and what this type of job entails.
What Is a Vet Tech?
Vet techs, also known as veterinary technologists and technicians, work in veterinary clinics and hospitals, under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. A vet tech can help with a wide variety of tasks around the office, such as obtaining patient case histories, collecting specimens, assisting in diagnostic and surgical procedures, and preparing animals and equipment for surgery. Other vet techs tasks may include:
• Ensure humane care of animals
• Provide specialized nursing care
• Bathe and groom animals
• Expose and develop X-rays
• Collect and perform laboratory tests
• Restrain animals during exams or procedures
• Provide client education
Working as a vet tech can be a good fit for introverts, as the role allows for a significant amount of one-on-one interaction with animals. However, it’s important to note that there will still be some degree of interaction with pet owners and colleagues.
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How Much Is a Vet Tech’s Starting Salary?
How much money does a vet tech make? The answer to that question depends on many different factors, such as how much experience someone has.
The median annual wage for a vet tech is $36,850, but salaries can range from $28,370 to $48,100. Generally speaking, entry-level vet techs earn lower salaries at first, though they’ll likely earn at least the minimum wage.
The type of employer can also impact how much a vet tech earns. Junior colleges, colleges, universities, or professional schools, for instance, tend to pay more (around $46,780 per year) than social advocacy organizations (around $35,480 per year), according to the latest BLS data.
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What Is the Average Salary for a Vet Tech?
An annual salary is one figure to consider. But how much can a vet tech make an hour? The median hourly pay rate for a vet tech nationwide is $17.72 per hour, though that rate — and the annual salary — can vary greatly by state.
For example, the annual median salary for vet techs in California is $47,880, which is much more competitive than in, say, West Virginia, where the median salary is $29,850.
Median Vet Tech Salary by State for 2022
|State||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||$50,130|
Vet Tech Benefits & Job Considerations
On top of being paid for their labor, many vet techs also receive a suite of benefits that enhances their overall compensation package. Full-time vet techs often qualify for medical and dental insurance, as well as 401(k) retirement plans and paid sick days or vacation time.
Some unique benefits that come with working in this industry can also include discounted pet care or continuing education reimbursements.
Pros and Cons of a Vet Tech Salary
Before pursuing a career as a vet tech, you may want to consider the advantages and disadvantages associated with this career path.
• Work with animals all day
• Usually qualifies for health insurance
• Can make a difference in a pet’s life
• Fast-growing career field (projected to grow 20 percent from 2021 to 2031)
• Physically demanding work
• Potentially dangerous
• Can be emotionally draining
• May have to work nights, holidays, or weekends
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The median annual salary for vet techs is $36,850 per year. But as they progress in their career and gain specialties, these professionals can expect to earn more. Many people find working as a vet tech to be a fun and rewarding job, especially if they love animals. While it can be a hard job and may often be physically (and emotionally) demanding, it also provides opportunities to care for animals. And that can feel really good at the end of the day.
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What is the highest-paid vet tech?
One question potential vet techs likely have top of mind is how much a vet tech makes? According to the BLS, the median annual wage for veterinary technologists and technicians is $36,850. But it’s possible to earn more than $48,100 per year as a vet tech.
Is vet tech a stressful job?
Being a veterinary technician can be a demanding and sometimes stressful job. They often work in fast-paced environments, handle emotional situations with owners, and may encounter challenging cases or emergencies. However, the fulfillment of helping animals and the satisfaction of making a positive impact can also make it a rewarding career.
What state pays the best for vet techs?
How much someone stands to earn as a vet tech depends on a couple of different factors, including where they live. The District of Columbia pays vet techs the most, with median salaries reaching $50,130. Vet techs in Washington state ($49,940) and Alaska ($49,330) earn the next best salaries in the countries.
Photo credit: iStock/AnnaStills
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