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figuring out my career goals vs family!

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by cinder06, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. cinder06


    Apr 14, 2007
    hi im new here, and im not sure what i would really like to do with my life...i am currently taking graphic design courses to major in a 2 year associates for graphic design so that me and my boyfriend who works can get a decent house and move out with my three dogs..i hate living at home, its so chaotic!

    I have three semesters left of graphic design for an associates, but the more i look into that field, the less i want to be in that position, i find that a lot of ppl have a hard time finding a job in that field...

    so i decided to maybe finish the pre-veterinary undergraduate courses instead which i have about 8 to do, mostly all labs, chem, biol, phys, and agri classes...

    I am a female and I am going to be 21 in june...what i am running into is that i want to have kids, and when i look at my life becoming a vet, thats IF i even get accepted into veterinary school when i first apply, and then thats four years there, with a couple more to get myself situated into a job and to keep sharp on my skills...i feel that i will end up having kids in the late 30's to 40's which i dont really want....:confused:

    what i wanted to know was, are there any other careers that work with animals that dont involve you going to school for such a long period of time??
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  3. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Registered veterinary technician programs are typically two years, and if you've already done some pre-vet classes then you might be able to transfer some of those credits and get it done faster. RVT is sort of like an RN for animals. You'd do the kind of stuff that nurses do in human hospitals: general care and feeding, minor procedures like drawing blood and urine or dental cleanings, cleaning and bandaging wounds, preparing for surgeries. Plenty of vet clinics (depending on state laws) also hire people without an official RVT license to work as veterinary assistants or technicians. Typically you're paid hourly and work however many hours you negotiate with your employer, so it can be a pretty family-friendly job. I've worked with a bunch of RVTs and techs who are in their 30s and 40s, find it very satisfying, and plan to make a career of it (that is, they're not just working as a tech for now but really planning to go to vet school later or something). Good luck!
  4. mtrl1

    mtrl1 UC Davis Class of 2011 7+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Boston, MA
    There are veterinary technician programs that are two years, as an associates degree. It also depends on your state; i.e. in NY, you have to be liscensed, whereas in other states, schooling is not required. But if you're interested in pursuing a career as a veterinary technician, you should definitely attend school and become liscensed/registered/certified (varies by state).
  5. cinder06


    Apr 14, 2007
    Hi thanks so much for the replies, I did some researching on a RVT....So is a Registered Veterinary Technician, the same as a Certified Vet Technician???

    I live in Illinois, and can't seem to find a RVT program near Peoria IL. Anyone know where I can find out about schools that offer that program?

    I also read that veterinary school is 8 years, thats something that I definitly know, is not what I'd like to do right now.

    I also have no idea if IL needs you to be licensed or not.
  6. cocomisk

    cocomisk 5+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2006
  7. Max Power

    Max Power 2+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Vet school itself is 4 years. I think the 8 year thing came from 4 years undergrad + 4 years vet. So once you're done with those pre-req's, you only got 4 more.

    I hate to step out of line here, but I speak from experience about mistakes I've made. At 21, you got a good chance that any plans you have for your personal life probably aren't going to pan out. The worst thing to do is to abandon a dream (if that is what vet school is for you) and end up alone AND with career you're not really passionate about. I slacked a little in school when I was with someone I thought I'd be with forever because I thought, well if i don't get in at least I'll have him and a family and I'll be happy. Well when that relationship fell apart out of nowhere, I was faced with that along with the chance that i'd may not get to live my dream of being a vet. You're out at 27 and there's no rule you have to work 50+ hours a week (as long as your willing to make less money). There's plenty of time for a family and such. You're whole life will be better if you do something you love.
  8. AuburnPreVet

    AuburnPreVet AU CVM Class of 2011 5+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2004
    Regardless of whether or not IL requires techs to be schooled/certified unless you have years of animal/vet experience... it'd be in your best interest to invest the 2 years and get the degree. It will get you 1) the experience and 2) when you hit the workforce you won't start out cleaning kennels for years with 15 year old kids.

    That's my 2 cents on it. I've heard others (even vets) say that they can train you in whatever they want you to know, and that for the pay the schooling isn't a good investment. I tend to disagree (for the average person in your situation). If you are licensed (RVT, LVT) you can demand a more respected & better paid position (this is relative tho).

    To add to what Max Power said: I couldn't agree more. Things are always subject to change, but your education is something you'll always have. If you have a deep burning desire to be a vet, and you know that is ultimately what will make you happy - you need to pursue it. With that said tho - if you could be happy doing something else (or being a tech, etc) then the years of school, and 1000's of $ in loans will NOT be worth it for you. It's a very individual thing.
  9. Habibti

    Habibti 2+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Why is it that you are so set on a certain life plan? Perhaps I'm being overly naive and hopeful, but I feel you can start up your vet career AND have kids. No, it's not ideal if you'd like to spend a lot of time at home with your children, but then again, there really is no ideal time to have children. You'll always be hoping to be a little more 'prepared' (to have a little more money, to have a little better place to live, to have a little better job), but if you wait for all of those things, you'll never have children. There is no perfect time. I wouldn't give up your dream job just because you have some sort of plan about what starting your job is going to be like. There are people having children DURING vet school. There are people having children during their med school residencies (I mean... during a time when you mostly work 80 hour weeks). It can be done. It just depends on whether or not you're willing to deviate from your plan.
  10. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Yeah, sorry, exactly what it's called probably varies by state... Registered, licensed, certified... *probably* the same thing. But be careful, the kind of programs that advertise on late-night TV ("Train at home for a better career!") and offer a one-year "veterinary assistant" training program are *not* the same thing. To be registered/licensed/certified you have to pass a state exam which the "vet assistant" program does not prepare you for. I suspect that if you google "Illinois veterinary technician" you'll get a link to the state board that handles licensing vet techs... That would probably be a good place to go for official info (and probably a list of programs by city or county).

    Oh, and I'm gonna try to not step out of line in the other direction from Max... You might not have given us all your details, but since you're one semester into an associate's degree in graphic design and are now kinda thinking about being a vet instead... *And* since you didn't seem to know what a veterinary technician was... I'm guessing you don't have much experience with the whole vet thing. Don't go through the hassle, heartache, and possible relationship woes of pushing yourself through the pre-reqs and the application grind just yet. Go volunteer for a while at a local shelter, clinic, zoo... Something where you'll get to see a little bit of day-in-day-out for the vets *and* the techs, and figure out if it's really what you want. It's totally not worth getting halfway through and deciding you don't like it that much or you think it will be hard to get the job you want.
  11. cinder06


    Apr 14, 2007
    Thanks for all the replies, it's really helped a lot. I dont think my science, and biol skills are high enough to get me through veterinary school, I also don't want to pay off the student loan to get through school. I think a Registered Veterinary Technician is the kind of job I am looking for. If I ever pursue the dream of becoming a vet,I will then at least have that experience as working with veterinarians.

    I also dont believe my home life is stable enough that I would be able to get through veterinary school successfully.

    I have always had dogs all my life and brought them to the vets, so I have some insight on being at a veterinary practice,and when I was 13 I volunteered at our local no-kill animal shelter for a year and a half.

    Thanks for the parkland website, Champaign and that area is also where our Veterinary school is at, I think anyways.
  12. Pennymare

    Pennymare Ohio State Class of 2011 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Hey Cinder,

    Depending on the pay scale and amount of work you want to do, there are quite a few things out there. Other people have mentioned vet techs, so I won't go there. I guess it would also depend upon species of interest

    Let's see animal related careers: dog grooming; nutritionist; production/barn manager; retail companies involved in pet products (research and development, marketing, administrative); pharmaceuticals; feed companies; governmental offices/labs that regulate infectious disease, wildlife, and agriculture; lab animal technicans (there are certification programs for this, such as one at Drexel); county extension agencies; USDA employment...

    Although there might be less jobs available, you could consider zoos, refuges, shelters....

    I'm sure there are things I missed---there are tons of opportunities to help animals, work with animals, or help keep everyone healthy (domestic animals, wildlife, and humans). It really depends upon 1) your interests 2)how long you want to be in school 3) how important constant exposure to animals is to you....and any other things you can thing of.

    With your education for graphic design, you could also be qualified to work for magazines, educational branches of government/extension agencies, publishing companies.... on a variety of topics from medicine, pets, horses, food animal, general science (like Nature).
  13. hoodle

    hoodle UC-Davis DVM/PhD 2+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    At least at UPenn, the vet nurses (as they're called) have awesome jobs. They do EVERYTHING: set IVs, unblock cats, take dopplers etc, take rads, do ultrasounds, even intubate emergency patients. They DO everything, but they don't have the responsibility of INTERPRETING everything. I personally really thrive on the pressure/control/responsibility/power thing (which makes me seem like a freak; I just mean that I perform well under pressure and tend to get bored easily) and so the vet position is more attractive. However, the nurses really get their hands dirty, and they know an awful lot. They help younger vets with diagnostics (basic pressures, rates, etc), double-check meds and dosages, help keep all animals on enough pain meds, make calls about what animals are emergency and what aren't.

    Long and short of it is, vet nurses aren't paid spectacularly - but it's a spectacular job, if you want consistent interest, animal contact, intellectual stimulation, job security, and minimal responsibility/sue-ableness/anxiety.

    Do get the degree, though. At UPenn, it's all Harcum college students, and it's pretty important that you go through that (or that you volunteer, get nurses's assistant, and then bumped up to nurse - but you'll be paid less, have less formal background, etc).
  14. Emio

    Emio Fudge Bane 7+ Year Member

    Jan 12, 2007
    hoodle, i'm a foal sitter at nbc also, and i'll admit, i was really tempted to take the nursing route for just those reasons. they do do everything, not to mention they're the ones spending the "quality" time with the patients. the doctors are so busy that (from what i've seen) they're forced to move quickly from patient to patient. now, i've seen dr. Palmer hang out all hours of the night just because, but i'm not sure i could do 24 hour days like he does? lol but, truth be told, i'm partially in vet med for the money. nurses salary won't cut it.

    yep, that made me sound like i want the mo-mos without having to work hard. woops. that's not how it is :)
  15. KittenKiller

    KittenKiller chop suey 7+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    Kennett Square, PA
    The only thing I would add, is it seems like you're not sure at all what you want to do with your career. You might consider taking time off from your education - theyre expensive and its not good to get a 2 year degree in something you're going to change your mind about! I floundered a while in college, switching majors alot and finally settling on something pretty random. Then *after* college I spent another two years getting my pre-vet reqs. It ended up costing me a lot of money and a lot of time.

    If vet stuff is something that potentially interests you, if you live in a state where a license isnt required for tech work, you might try getting a job thats willing to train (many are) and see if you like it. The only caveat I have about taking time off is its pretty easy not to go back. I know lots of people who spend a good deal of their lives regretting that they didnt finish college. Once youre getting paid at a full time job, the immediate gratification of pay checks is pretty enticing, and the idea of going back to school for a few years and being poor again can seem undesireable.
  16. cinder06


    Apr 14, 2007
    You all have been most helpful! :D

    I had heard about becoming a veterinary technician, but anything I looked at online four years ago, said that they only get paid like $7/hour.:(

    Now when I look online they are getting paid more like $10+/hour. Still not exactly great, but I read it's all where you decide to work at.

    I love domestic animals, I am not a big fan of horses, but like them as well, there isn't one animal that I wouldnt like to be around. I've had fish, reptiles, amphibians, cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, quaker parrot, parakeets, and a turantula when I was younger, although I don't really know why my dad got me a pet turantula when I was four...:confused: lol

    I want to go to school for 4 years, that's it. I don't want to be stuck in debt from going to school to become say a vet or dr, I also don't think I could keep myself going in veterinary school.

    I took last year from school, it wasn't good, I got in trouble, partied too much, and my family isn't stable:( (the only reason I live at home is because I am going to school, and dont have time to work, and I have three dogs), so it was better for me to spend as much time as I could away from home...In school.

    My bf is 22 and I 21 in a month, and we've been together since I was 15, besides just about all last year. We've always had plans of having kids in our mid twenties, and not living luxuriously, but comfortably. Which isn't hard to do in our city, Pekin, IL So that's why I don't really care too much to get a Dr. paying job for $.

    I have an appointment to talk to our counselor at my community college, Illinois Central College, on the 23rd. I was suppose to talk to him about pre-veterinary, but he should know about schools for RVT's so that is what I am goin to ask him about instead.:)

    I am very good at art, but I have absolutely no interest in it, and becoming a graphic designer for a major was a last resort in "I need to pick a major, what am I going to do??" I am able to free hand well and work with photoshop and illustrators, but even as a child through highschool, I've never been interested in it, I dont know why.:confused:

    Animals on the other hand I have every interest in. :)
  17. TurboVet

    TurboVet 2+ Year Member

    Jan 10, 2007
    hey cinder, i got my BS in animal science and got as job as a vet asst/tech while i was still in school. when i graduated i had experience and got hired by all sorts of other establishments as a vet tech. vet assts don't get paid a lot, but as your experience level grows, so does your salary. if you spend the time to do a 2 yr vet tech program and get certified, you can command a higher salary. but i can go for the same job as you with five years of experience and probably get it over you because experience really helps. in massachusetts you can become a "certified vet tech" simply by having something like 3-5 years of experience and passing the national exam. In IL, you need to have the 2 yr degree and pass the same exam to be considered a "vet tech" otherwise, you're an "assistant". which is why people in IL were completely confused when they saw my resume from Mass. Vet techs in mass and IL are the same job, but with different prereqs.
    i would try to get more experience by working in a clinic and not waste your time with the program. i was able to get a 17.50/hr job as a tech in IL despite not being certified in IL.
  18. MelliSpirit

    MelliSpirit 2+ Year Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Upstate NY
    .I'm just a senior in high school and after volunteering at two different practices for a total of about a year now I have been hired as a vet/lab/kennel assistant (depending on the day and what duties they need me for the most). I make above minimum wage and as an 18-year-old who hasn't even graduated yet, I am quite pleased with that. Plus, it's just my starting salary, and like TurboVet said, it will go up with experience. In NY you need to be licensed to work as a vet tech and if I didn't have my heart set on becoming a vet, becoming an LVT would really be an excellent choice. They make quite a bit more than I and have more responsibilities because of their training. I would strongly suggest volunteering (or possibly looking for a paid assistant position) at a vets office just to get a feel for what the work is like and if its right for you.


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