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Veterinary Healthcare Careers



Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians are an indispensable part of any vet practice. As two very fast growing careers, qualified Vet Techs and Veterinarians are in high demand. Learn how you can become a Vet Tech or Veterinarian today.

Veterinarian Careers / Vet Tech Careers

The veterinary field is growing at a faster than average rate, as more job opportunities are opening up every day. It is not possible for veterinary practices to function without the service of veterinarians or veterinary technicians. That has placed both of those professions in very high demand. This is your chance to learn more about how you can begin an exciting career in the veterinary profession.

There are a variety of professions that involve working with animals and while many can be very rewarding, none can offer the kind of potential that exists when you choose to become a veterinarian or veterinary technician. Coincidentally, veterinary technicians are experiencing the fastest growth rate of all healthcare jobs from the ten-year span between 2012 and 2022. Vet tech jobs have begun to skyrocket in many cities all across the United States.

Veterinary technicians are different from veterinary technologists as the duties, training and mandatory education are not the same. Veterinary technicians only need a two-year degree while veterinary technologists much complete a four-year college program. The pay is slightly better for vet technologists although there is also the cost of additional schooling to consider. There are more choices across the country when it comes to finding a school with a veterinary technician program as students do not have to travel as far from home.

The number of working veterinarians in the United States is also increasing every year. Veterinary colleges graduate approximately 3,000 students every year and most of those individuals jump right into a full-time position. Some graduates choose to take part in a one-year internship, which provides valuable work experience and sets them up for a well-paying job early in their careers.

The number of veterinarians across the United States is expanding and the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) released market research in 2016, making the claim that there are more than 114,000 practicing veterinarians in the U.S. Of that total number, 68,213 reported to be working in a private clinical practice.

Find Vet Tech Info For Your State

A veterinary technician is required to complete college-level coursework that is spread out over a two-year period and that results in the awarding of an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology. This two-year path limits the amount of debt incurred and can also fast track vet techs into the veterinary profession. Most students do not exceed $20,000 in debt when they are finished attending a veterinary technician program. Distance learning is another option that is available online. Veterinary technician prerequisite courses can be taken at the high school level as that prepares students to get a fast start in this line of work.

There are benefits that come with attending an accredited vet tech program. There are a number of veterinary technician programs that have been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). To find a school with an accredited program, click here.

Graduates from accredited programs are eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). There is a need for vet techs to acquire a state license before beginning work as a veterinary technician. Before taking a state-issued exam, a passing score on the VTNE must be earned. Attending an accredited program can take care of the first step of the licensing process.

Areas of Study

Entering into a career as a vet tech, or a veterinarian, involves a lot of coursework that deals with the sciences. Vet techs take courses involving anatomy and physiology, parasitology, hematology, radiology, anesthesiology, laboratory procedures and much more. Large and small animal medicine are also covered over the two-year span in which vet techs become acquainted with a variety of sciences. The coursework required of veterinarians is more involved and involves three years of classroom, lab and clinical work. The fourth year is typically reserved for clinical rotations at an animal hospital or veterinary facility. A state license is required in order to begin working as a vet tech and veterinarian.

Vet Tech and Veterinarian Admissions

The admissions procedures to become a veterinary technician differ according to each school. A high school diploma or GED equivalency is needed and some programs will ask for SAT/ACT test scores while also issuing placement tests to new students. Contacting each individual school will provide all of the details involved in the admissions process.

Veterinarian school admissions are a little more complex as there are only 30 veterinary colleges offering a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree in the United States. These programs last four years and are a follow up to the completion of a four-year Bachelor’s Degree. The admissions process also asks for prior experience and is very competitive. Less than half of the annual applicants are granted admission.

Potential Pay and Job Prospects

The average salary of a veterinary technician differs according to location. The national average for a veterinary technician salary is $33,280 annually, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those statistics also revealed that the nation’s top 10 percent of veterinary technicians reported an annual salary of more than $47,410. The number of veterinary technicians is on the rise as there are now close to 100,000 registered within the United States. The future outlook is also very promising as there is approximately 3,000 new vet technician jobs expected to open up every year.

The pay for veterinarians is much higher. The national average salary stands at $88,490 and can reach upwards of $160,000 per year. Veterinarians accumulate more debt because of the extensive schooling that is required, although it opens the door for a high level of earning potential. Veterinarians are becoming more abundant as it has seen a dramatic increase in the past five years. Those numbers are expected to continue with the expansion of the pet industry.

A Growing Industry

The pet industry, as a whole, is growing at an exceedingly fast pace. In 2016, the amount of pet expenditures in the United States totaled $62.75 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association. In 2015, those statistics showed that Americans spent $15.4 billion on veterinary care. The rise in spending has also increased the demand for more veterinary services. Market research showed that there are now close to 50,000 veterinary services operating nationwide.

Start out as a Veterinary Assistant

Starting out in the veterinary field can be done at the entry level as a veterinary assistant. This is often the first step to take when advancing one’s career in the veterinary profession. Veterinary assistants are growing in demand across the country while pay rates also continue to increase. There are a variety of responsibilities veterinary assistants must attend to, making them a valuable part of an animal healthcare team. Veterinary assistant certification programs can be completed in less than a year and can lead to a fast start in the veterinary field.

Resources

American Veterinary Medical Association

The AVMA is one of the main resources for those who are currently working or looking to get into the veterinary profession.

National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America 

This association is a tremendous help to veterinary technicians looking to learn more information and find resources related to this field.

Veterinary Career Network

The veterinary field is rife with opportunity and this website brings together a wealth of career options that apply to numerous types of veterinary workers.

American Animal Hospital Association

American animal hospitals employ a large number of vet techs and veterinarians and this association is a useful resource in locating pertinent job information.

American Association of Veterinary State Boards

Find out what kind of licensing procedures exist in your state on this website that is complete with direct links.