Aug 3, 2016
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Pre-Veterinary
Hi there! So my story is that I am currently in a pre-med program (going on my second year this semester) and I'm doing an online Vet Tech program where I am getting my Veterinary Assistance Certificate as the end of the summer. To continue on with the Vet Tech program I need to volunteer at a Veterinary Hospital (which I am doing). At the same time though I am trying to get a part time manager position.

My concern is is that am I taking too much? I plan on becoming a Vet and start school in about 2.5 years (hopefully Colorado State University or Davis). I want to use my Vet Tech education to eventually pay for Vet School.

I am just nervous that I am taking too much on and that things aren't going to go according to my plan. So my question is that are there any others that are in my position or something similar and what their opinions are? I have no financial support so I obviously am going to need a job from now all the way to the end of Vet School. I also plan on wanting to specialize in surgery (not sure if I wanna do soft tissue or orthopedics).
 

Abnerrs

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Hi there! So my story is that I am currently in a pre-med program (going on my second year this semester) and I'm doing an online Vet Tech program where I am getting my Veterinary Assistance Certificate as the end of the summer. To continue on with the Vet Tech program I need to volunteer at a Veterinary Hospital (which I am doing). At the same time though I am trying to get a part time manager position.

My concern is is that am I taking too much? I plan on becoming a Vet and start school in about 2.5 years (hopefully Colorado State University or Davis). I want to use my Vet Tech education to eventually pay for Vet School.

I am just nervous that I am taking too much on and that things aren't going to go according to my plan. So my question is that are there any others that are in my position or something similar and what their opinions are? I have no financial support so I obviously am going to need a job from now all the way to the end of Vet School. I also plan on wanting to specialize in surgery (not sure if I wanna do soft tissue or orthopedics).
You take on as much as you can handle in undergrad. If you can do all of it and not have your grades suffer (or you. I'm a big proponent of maintaining some semblance of mental health) then by all means do it. But that's for you to decide.
I'm not sure what you mean by "paying for vet school by a vet tech". It won't. Flat out. And you you'll be very hard pressed to work enough during vet school to pay for living expenses. Has it been done? Maybe. I haven't seen it. And you won't be working during 4th year. Clinics are 40+ hours a week. So I think you're being unrealistic there. (Not to mention techs don't make fantastic pay. I was one for 7 years).
Also, I want to point out that the 2 schools you mentioned are very expensive, especially for out of state (yes yes they all are, but as an out of state student I was pretty freaked at the price tags there).
 
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Abnerrs

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You take on as much as you can handle in undergrad. If you can do all of it and not have your grades suffer (or you. I'm a big proponent of maintaining some semblance of mental health) then by all means do it. But that's for you to decide.
I'm not sure what you mean by "paying for vet school by a vet tech". It won't. Flat out. And you you'll be very hard pressed to work enough during vet school to pay for living expenses. Has it been done? Maybe. I haven't seen it. And you won't be working during 4th year. Clinics are 40+ hours a week. So I think you're being unrealistic there. (Not to mention techs don't make fantastic pay. I was one for 7 years).
Also, I want to point out that the 2 schools you mentioned are very expensive, especially for out of state (yes yes they all are, but as an out of state student I was pretty freaked at the price tags there).
Oh yeah. I also wanted to mention, in case you didn't know, that surgery is one of the more competitive specialties. It is not unheard of for people to have to do multiple internships before landing a residency. And I have several friends that stopped pursuing it after 3 or for internships that didn't lead to residency. Not to mention that fact that grades are huge in this and if you are working a ton they might suffer for it.
 
OP
Disrupted Hunter
Aug 3, 2016
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I understand that fourth years are hard on hours, but how do people make a living while doing that? I feel like I can maintain my grades, so far I have a 4.0 in my Vet Tech classes and a 3.0 in my Pre-Med classes. My major concern in all of this is just affording schooling and living. I have heard of people being able to hold a job while going to Vet School. My plan is that with my Vet Tech degree, I can work as a Vet Tech to pay for college. I am just scared of getting so many loans and grants that I will end up in debt.
 

Abnerrs

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I understand that fourth years are hard on hours, but how do people make a living while doing that? I feel like I can maintain my grades, so far I have a 4.0 in my Vet Tech classes and a 3.0 in my Pre-Med classes. My major concern in all of this is just affording schooling and living. I have heard of people being able to hold a job while going to Vet School. My plan is that with my Vet Tech degree, I can work as a Vet Tech to pay for college. I am just scared of getting so many loans and grants that I will end up in debt.
Yes they have a job but it's not to pay for vet school. It's to offset the costs of living, but not completely pay for that either. Why do you think the debt is new grads is so high? And no. You won't work during 4th year. Maybe at other schools? I don't know. But I'm telling you I'm at the hospital from minimum 7am to 6pm (some days 6am to 10pm) most days and have weekend patient care. It isn't doable. So you take loans to pay for it. And I'm sorry to say bit a 3.0 isn't that high. A B average student is not a dumb student, but to get into vet school you need to be really really good in other areas, ace the gre, have add amazeballs experiences and LoR etc. And a 3.0 average in vet school is going to make you less competitive for surgery.
 
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Abnerrs

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I understand that fourth years are hard on hours, but how do people make a living while doing that? I feel like I can maintain my grades, so far I have a 4.0 in my Vet Tech classes and a 3.0 in my Pre-Med classes. My major concern in all of this is just affording schooling and living. I have heard of people being able to hold a job while going to Vet School. My plan is that with my Vet Tech degree, I can work as a Vet Tech to pay for college. I am just scared of getting so many loans and grants that I will end up in debt.
You will be in debt. Vet school is expensive.
 

that redhead

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I understand that fourth years are hard on hours, but how do people make a living while doing that? I feel like I can maintain my grades, so far I have a 4.0 in my Vet Tech classes and a 3.0 in my Pre-Med classes. My major concern in all of this is just affording schooling and living. I have heard of people being able to hold a job while going to Vet School. My plan is that with my Vet Tech degree, I can work as a Vet Tech to pay for college. I am just scared of getting so many loans and grants that I will end up in debt.
The vast majority of vet students take out loans to cover the cost of school and the cost of living during that time. If you don't want to take on loans and are not independently wealthy, vet school (and med school for that matter) are not for you.

My advice is to figure out what it is that you want to do as a career. Tech work can be fulfulling, but there is no way you are going to make enough money at it to pay for your vet school education and living expenses any time soon. Plus there is presumably the cost you're accruing taking tech classes online, for a degree that you may not even want? Add in that you are still pursuing medical school and it becomes a mess. Figure out what you want to do and then work toward that goal, don't do a lot of different things and think about the end goal later.
 
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CalliopeDVM

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I understand that fourth years are hard on hours, but how do people make a living while doing that? I feel like I can maintain my grades, so far I have a 4.0 in my Vet Tech classes and a 3.0 in my Pre-Med classes. My major concern in all of this is just affording schooling and living. I have heard of people being able to hold a job while going to Vet School. My plan is that with my Vet Tech degree, I can work as a Vet Tech to pay for college. I am just scared of getting so many loans and grants that I will end up in debt.
Students don't make a living while being in vet school.....they use loans and savings. Some will be able to maintain a very part time job in the early years, and that will offset living expenses, and many will try to make a bunch during summers and save it to help decrease costs later. Yes, if you go to vet school in the US you will end up in debt -- unless you have a substantial amount of savings ( >$150,000) from a windfall or inheritance or something. Obviously, the more you save from work before school, the less you need to get (and pay back) in loans. Still, it's a crazy amount of money, and if I had to spend that much on vet school, I probably wouldn't have gone (I am Canadian and went to school in Canada).

It's good that you're thinking about this now, and learn the debt reality of going to vet school for American students. If being significantly in debt is not what you're willing to do, don't go to vet school. There are specializations for veterinary technicians, if you're wanting to continue your education and possibly improve your income.
 
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Jan 18, 2006
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I understand that fourth years are hard on hours, but how do people make a living while doing that? I feel like I can maintain my grades, so far I have a 4.0 in my Vet Tech classes and a 3.0 in my Pre-Med classes. My major concern in all of this is just affording schooling and living. I have heard of people being able to hold a job while going to Vet School. My plan is that with my Vet Tech degree, I can work as a Vet Tech to pay for college. I am just scared of getting so many loans and grants that I will end up in debt.
Unfortunately, if you choose vet school, you will. Unless you have $150,000 or so in savings or your parents are willing to pay (which honestly, I wouldn't put on any parent). I worked two part time jobs all through my first three years of vet school and still graduated $130K in debt (and that was in-state tuition).

In addition, if you want to specialize in surgery, be aware that the time you spend in internships and residency will also affect this debt because you won't be able to pay back very much, if anything at all, on an intern/resident salary. Most people go into forbearance unless they have a spouse who can pick up the slack. After 3 years of residency and 3 of fellowship, my $130K debt is up to >$180K just due to interest.

Not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but the financial issues are very, very real in vet med.
 
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Oh yeah. I also wanted to mention, in case you didn't know, that surgery is one of the more competitive specialties. It is not unheard of for people to have to do multiple internships before landing a residency. And I have several friends that stopped pursuing it after 3 or for internships that didn't lead to residency. Not to mention that fact that grades are huge in this and if you are working a ton they might suffer for it.
To be fair, the match rate for small animal surgery really isn't that bad. I think the last figure I saw was 25-30% match rate, which is much better than a number of others (optho, cardio, zoo, path, large animal surg)
 
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twelvetigers

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If you were to work during vet school, it would need to be putting in some odd hours at a lab or working at the university library, something like that. Maybe you could work for Starbucks or something like that, but even then it can be hard to find a place that will work with your school schedule. It'll be a bit busier/different than undergrad - you'll have more overall hours, they will take up more of your day (basically you'll have an 8-5 most days), and you will need to study a lot more. Like, working all weekend when you have an exam Monday will be difficult to say the least. Teching does not seem like it would be as accommodating as other jobs.

You WILL have debt unless you have $100k sitting around saved up. You will have even more debt attending CSU or UC Davis as an out of state student. I went to one of the cheapest options (in state, Oklahoma) and came out with $80k - and had all my room and board, food, cell phone, car etc. paid for by a spouse rather than loans. Even if I worked (in which case I prolly would have failed out, but I digress) I still would have debt. You just can't make enough to keep up, and if you try your grades will suffer, and you might go bonkers to boot.

Lastly, a 3.0 average in your pre-med classes... that's a bit low. I mean, think of this: what vet tech classes count towards the required (pre-requisite) courses for vet school? Do any of them count? Things that count as required courses include things like:

biology (general, micro, plant/animal)
chemistry (general, organic, biochem)
physics
physiology
math (calc, trig, depends)
genetics

Your grades in THESE courses, plus the electives, humanities, and whatever else they count - that's what will be considered when you apply. You want these grades to be the best. A 3.0 in these would be suboptimal (ask me how I know that, lol). Aim for a 3.5 average. Or, aim for a 4.0 and see how close you can get.
 

TerraVet

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I plan on becoming a Vet and start school in about 2.5 years (hopefully Colorado State University or Davis). I want to use my Vet Tech education to eventually pay for Vet School....

I am just nervous that I am taking too much on and that things aren't going to go according to my plan. So my question is that are there any others that are in my position or something similar and what their opinions are? I have no financial support so I obviously am going to need a job from now all the way to the end of Vet School. I also plan on wanting to specialize in surgery (not sure if I wanna do soft tissue or orthopedics).
A couple things...

I was a vet tech for three years before getting into vet school. I lived in California in a major urban area. I did everything the RVTs did except, obviously, the things only RVTs can do (inducing, suturing, bandaging, dental extractions)--but I monitored critical patients, anesthesia, dental cleanings/x-rays, managed emergencies, every kind of medication administration you can think of, fluids, IVs, blood draws, restraint, etc etc, and after two years I was making 16 dollars an hour. After three years I was making 18. The RVTs were making 25. Literally every person I worked with had two jobs (usually at an emergency overnight hospital because the shifts paid more), had a spouse who made way (like 4x) more money than they did, lived paycheck to paycheck, were on food stamps, or some combination of the above. You will not make money as a tech, not in any significant capacity, and certainly not enough to save for or make a dent in your student debt for veterinary school. So first and foremost that's a problem with your plan.

Second, you will not be able to keep a job during vet school that will make you enough money. You certainly won't be doing it in your 4th year or part of 3rd year, depending on the program type. Veterinary medicine is your job at that point, though you're paying to learn. I know a lot of students who work about 20 hours a week, but it's hard, and it's for living expenses, not for student loans.

Third, a 3.0 is a great GPA for pre-med just on it's own. I want to be clear about that. I was ridiculously proud of my 3.4 GPA when I graduated because I worked for that. However, vet schools will not see it that way. I applied three times, and it wasn't until my last 45 GPA hit 3.80 (I kept taking classes after graduation) that I got interviews. Davis is one of the most competitive schools in the country to gain admission to, if not the most competitive, and this is especially true for out of state students. If you don't have a 4.0 or dang close you better have an amazing, diverse background and an absolutely top of the line GRE to get an interview, and you have to interview well because they base your admittance solely on the interview once you get one.

Four, I second what the earlier poster said about surgery being super competitive. A vet I worked for told me of a friend he had that wanted to be a veterinary surgeon, and it took him ten years (post-vet school) to achieve that. It was multiple internships, working, and a residency, and it was tough. It was his dream, but still, 10 years after vet school is a long time to get to the "start" of your career. And this person graduated from a top school, both undergrad and vet. And frankly, if you're going to get straight-As in vet school or dang close, working a lot (to try and pay for it) is just not going to jive with that plan.

I don't want to depress you, but I do want to caution you that your plan--work as a vet tech for a while--is fine, but only if you understand that vet tech will not pay for vet school, that a job during vet school will not pay for vet school, that if you want to do surgery it's competitive and you'll need top grades, and frankly the only thing that will pay for vet school is a winning lotto ticket, a fat inheritance, or loans. 99.99% of us go with loans. I'm lucky in that I have a partner to help with living expenses, but I'm still looking at 110k of debt by the time I'm done, and that's in-state tuition, and that's best-case scenario.

So, I'll be honest, I freaked out a little when I realized how much vet school was going to be when I was first applying three years ago. There is help--there is loan forgiveness, some states will forgive certain amounts of loans if you work in needed areas, in some cases you can work for non-profits and get loan forgiveness. It made me feel a little better, but I still spent several sleepless nights worrying over ruining my financial future by going to vet school. It's not a small decision. But the more you know now, the more you can plan. Good luck, and I hope our advice hasn't totally depressed you!
 
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