How Much Do Vet Techs Make?

vet tech job descriptionVeterinary technologists or technicians work to assist the work of a veterinarian.

They are usually employed in private veterinary clinics, but can also work in research programs and other animal facilities.

Vet techs work full time, and since clinics often operate round the clock, they frequently work overnight, over weekends, and during holidays.

Among their duties include evaluating an animal’s condition, administering diagnostic tests, restraining aggressive animals, giving emergency care, preparing animals for surgeries and procedures, administering medicines as prescribed by a veterinarian, as well as talking to pet owners regarding proper care.

We also have a comprehensive guide if you would like to become a vet tech.

Vet Tech Salary

How much do vet techs make? The average annual salary for vet techs is $34,420 per year, or $16.55 per hour. 

vet tech salaryVet techs can work in many industries and average salaries differ. 

Average starting salaries of vet techs also differ in industry, state, as well as the size of the clinic or industry.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alaska FlagAlaska 0.66$19.70$40,970
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts 0.79$19.29$40,120
New York FlagNew York0.48$19.11$39,740
Connecticut FlagConnecticut 0.86$18.56$38,600
California FlagCalifornia 0.58$17.89$37,220

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Companies and Enterprises $26.95$56,050
Federal Executive Branch0.03$24.01$49,940
State Government $20.79$43,240
Local Government0.01$20.36$42,350
Scientific Research and Development Services 0.15$19.76$41,110

Vet Tech Job Description

what does a vet tech doWhat do vet techs do? Vet techs work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Vet techs assist the veterinarian in terms of diagnosing, treating, and preventing illnesses and injuries of animals.

In May 2012, there were 84,800 jobs for vet techs, where 92% of those employed worked in the industry of veterinary services. Vet techs work in animal shelters, boarding kennels, zoos, animal hospitals, government research, and private clinic practices of veterinarians.

The rate of injury and exposure to animal diseases is fairly high. When handling scared or aggressive animals, vet techs can get bitten, scratched, or kicked.

A natural love for animals and a nurturing nature is ideal when pursuing a vet tech career, since a vet tech’s job is mainly about the care and treatment of animals.

Among the duties of a vet tech include: observing and evaluating animals, collecting laboratory samples such as blood, urine, and feces, perform lab tests such as urinalyses and blood counts, take and develop x-rays, provide nursing care and emergency first aid, prepare animals and equipment for surgery, administer medications, treatments, and vaccines as prescribed by a veterinarian, and collect a patient’s medical history.

A vet tech’s job can also include postoperative care, animal dental care, as well as specialize in certain specific fields. A vet tech can focus on a particular discipline such as anesthesia, dental technology, emergency and critical care, and zoological medicine.

Vet techs can also work in research-related jobs such as in biomedical research, food safety, and disaster preparedness.

Vet technologists and vet technicians vary in terms of qualifications and duties. Only those who have a Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology are called vet technologists, and those who have associate degrees are called Vet Technicians.

Vet technologists often work in laboratories, collecting lab samples, analyzing them, and making conclusions. They can also work in research, under the guidance of a scientist. Vet technicians, on the other hand, mostly work for private clinical practice and the general care of animals. Often, vet technicians are responsible for talking to pet owners and helping to educate them about the proper care of their pets.

Vet Tech Job Outlook

The average projected increase in vet tech jobs from 2012 to 2022 is 30%, which is faster than other occupations. About 25,000 jobs are seen to be created within the next few years.

As more and more developments in veterinary medicine are being made, there will be a greater demand for vet techs to operate new equipment, as well as to handle an increase in the number of animals being brought to veterinary clinics.

As the general public is taking better care of their pets, more veterinarians will be needed, and hence, more vet techs as well.

There is an expected increase in demand for vet techs in the country especially in the rural areas. Those who have a large set of skills and can perform many specialized tasks are seen to have the most job prospects.

However, because of increased opportunities, the competition for employment is seen to be high.

Vet Tech Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama0.451$13.82$28,740
Alaska FlagAlaska0.656$19.70$40,970
Arizona FlagArizona0.918$13.51$28,110
Arkansas FlagArkansas0.214$13.52$28,130
California FlagCalifornia0.583$17.89$37,220
Colorado flagColorado1.23$14.84$30,880
Connecticut FlagConnecticut0.857$18.56$38,600
Delaware flagDelaware0.817$16.02$33,330
Florida FlagFlorida1.069$14.46$30,080
Georgia FlagGeorgia0.701$13.44$27,950
Hawaii FlagHawaii0.609$15.16$31,520
Idaho FlagIdaho0.702$13.85$28,810
Illinois FlagIllinois0.641$15.41$32,050
Indiana FlagIndiana0.505$14.14$29,400
Iowa FlagIowa0.522$14.77$30,720
Kansas FlagKansas0.384$15.21$31,630
Kentucky FlagKentucky0.736$13.45$27,980
Louisiana FlagLouisiana0.687$13.18$27,410
Maine FlagMaine1.225$15.83$32,930
Maryland FlagMaryland0.882$16.04$33,370
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts0.786$19.29$40,120
Michigan FlagMichigan0.694$15.13$31,460
Minnesota FlagMinnesota0.832$16.01$33,310
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.611$15.13$31,470
Missouri FlagMissouri0.446$15.71$32,670
Montana FlagMontana1.013$13.66$28,410
Nebraska FlagNebraska0.643$13.81$28,720
Nevada FlagNevada0.542$17.00$35,360
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire1.175$15.99$33,260
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey0.664$16.51$34,340
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico0.515$15.34$31,910
New York FlagNew York0.476$19.11$39,740
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina0.761$14.57$30,310
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota0.385$14.78$30,740
Ohio FlagOhio0.656$15.32$31,860
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma0.671$13.69$28,480
Oregon FlagOregon0.861$15.95$33,180
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania0.744$16.69$34,720
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island0.743$16.48$34,280
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina0.772$13.79$28,690
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota0.738$15.13$31,460
Tennessee FlagTennessee0.575$14.02$29,170
Texas FlagTexas0.79$13.72$28,530
Utah FlagUtah0.748$13.11$27,260
Vermont FlagVermont1.341$15.95$33,180
Virginia FlagVirginia0.469$17.87$37,160
Washington FlagWashington0.58$16.78$34,900
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia0.422$11.72$24,370
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin0.688$15.45$32,130
Wyomin FlagWyoming0.828$14.64$30,450

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Norwich/New London – CT/RI 0.79$24.13$50,180
Brockton / Bridgewater / Easton, – MA – NECTA Division $22.58$46,960
Poughkeepsie/Newburgh/Middletown – NY 0.69$21.27$44,240
Ithaca, NY 4.04$21.15$43,990
San Francisco / San Mateo / Redwood City – CA – Metropolitan Division $20.90$43,480

Top paying non-metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Southern Texas – nonmetropolitan area 1.17$19.90$41,400
Southwestern Washington – nonmetropolitan area 0.66$19.53$40,620
West Central Illinois – nonmetropolitan area 0.95$18.75$39,010
Northwestern Connecticut – nonmetropolitan area 1.14$17.94$37,320
North Central Colorado – nonmetropolitan area 0.98$17.89$37,200

Vet Tech Career Video

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Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith in Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of CareersWiki.com since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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