I hope this is acceptable- Q's and concerns re: veterinary technician schooling

Jul 20, 2009
3
0
Status
Non-Student
Hello all, I am so pleased to have found an online forum related to vet/vet techs that is active with posts as recent as today!

I hope this post is allowed here- it is not veterinarian related, but rather, veterinary technician... and even more-so, about the schooling.

I've recently withdrawn from my career choice as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and have decided to pursue my ultimate passion in life, which is veterinary medicine. I don't, however, feel I would be a qualified veterinarian and have my goals set on a vet tech.

I have a few questions and concerns, however, regarding the field and was hoping to gain some insight within the next day or two before I go off to a 2-year program which may or may not be necessary. I'll put the concerns in a bulleted list for ease of reading.


  • First and foremost- vet techs, do you enjoy your career? I can't imagine anything more fulfilling than going to work every day in order to help ease pain and suffering of animals and their owners.
  • Of course, the pay- I am in Florida and it seems that the average for a veterinary technician is around $23K a year. Do you find, as a vet tech, that you are able to live on your own, and comfortably? How long did it take you to achieve that status of independence? I am 21 years young, and likely will not be finished with classes until I am 25 (due to certain pre-reqs not being completed, and a once-a-year program offering) Until then, I am stuck at home and my main concern in life is to be happy in my career and able to live on my own ASAP without starving to death. ;)
  • Is the education truly necessary, or is on the job training equally as good?
  • Is it easier to find a job if you are state certified, and not simply experienced on the job?
  • I will (hopefully!) be attending a community college to attain the Associate in Science degree under a 2 year program. Is this adequate?
I thank you all for your time in reading this. If this forum is not the place for this sort of post, I will gladly remove it and, if pointed in the right direction, post it elsewhere. :) I am just very stressed over the whole matter right now, but I KNOW that this is what I want to do. My heart aches for it, I don't know why I didn't go for it sooner (I've known since I was 10!) but alas, we all make mistakes in our lives.

I very well may find another site to post this on, so if you see this twice I do apologize!

-Amanda, Florida
 

LVT2DVM

UGA-CVM c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2008
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Athens, GA
lvt2dvm.blogspot.com
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Veterinary Student
First off :welcome:

Second, while there are some licensed/registered/certified technicians on the boards, the majority are undergrads and non-trads aiming for or admitted to vetschool. MOst of us have either worked in a vet clinic or minimally volunteered because its a requirement for admission. So if you want to know how it is to work in vet medicine in general we could probably offer some info. If you really want more insight to LVT's opinions (ie was the schooling worth it, dept to income ratio) stuff like that you could try http://www.vspn.org/. [Registration is free to vet staff. Just plug some local vet clinic info in. There a bunch of people I know on there that arent in school or working at a clinic yet. No biggie.] Then go to the message boards (kinda of difficult to navigate but it gets easier) and post your message on there. You will get tons of responses from all over.

Also, there are several threads here, where some of your questions have come up before. You can use the search function in the upper right to find them. Just put in keyword, tech or technician something like that. Good luck!
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2008
3,331
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NC
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Veterinarian
Also, alot of the answers to this are 'it depends.'

Different states have different regulations concerning licencing and vet techs. In states where LVT's are not highly distinguished in skill sets from not licenced vet techs, the pay difference between the two isn't very great.

Some vets prefer to 'train their own' while others want skill sets in place. In my experience, larger clinics and hospitals and specialists tend to prefer LVT's over smaller practices.

A 2 year program should be adequate for LVT.

I personally couldn't have lived on $23k, but I also had undergrad debt from a 4 year university. My mother was unlicenced VT during school years, and she and my father did ok with both of them working, but it wasn't a luxurious lifestyle.
 

TSUJC

CSU c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2009
300
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Veterinary Student
I've recently withdrawn from my career choice as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and have decided to pursue my ultimate passion in life, which is veterinary medicine. I don't, however, feel I would be a qualified veterinarian and have my goals set on a vet tech.
Any particular reason why you don't feel like you wouldn't be qualified veterinarian?
 

katryn

UTCVM c/o 2014!!!!
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2009
1,174
373
Knoxville, TN
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Veterinary Student
I don't know the answers to a lot of these questions as far as income, etc is concerned. I've probably only met 3 or 4 LVT's in the area and since I worked with them it's a little non-PC to ask what they made, and most of them were in a two income household anyway.

My only bit of two cents says seriously consider if you want to go to vet school. If you do, I would suggest focusing on the pre-reqs for vet school and not bothering with the LVT program. They overlap well, but an LVT program is typically more expensive than your local 4 yr university (atleast it was going to be for me). I've also found that the LVT's I've met never had any interest in vet school at all, and the ones who did felt like they wasted a whole bunch of years getting their LVT and using it instead of going to vet school.
 
OP
S
Jul 20, 2009
3
0
Status
Non-Student
Any particular reason why you don't feel like you wouldn't be qualified veterinarian?
The schooling required, the amount involved, the debt, surgeries, etc. I love animals dearly and with all my heart and have wanted to be a tech for so long. The idea of being a vterinarian though is just something I feel I couldn't do. However I'm at a crossroads in life (21 and still living at home... this is getting silly) and need to make a decision fast. Go to VT school for 2 years and 8.5K and risk making $13 an hour doing something I love but struggling every day of my life... or get a plain old boring Associate in Arts degree and get a desk job somewhere where I might move up some day a few dollars. I dono't know. Just feeling, at the moment, like I have ruined my life and should have stayed in sonography... I'm already 13K in debt from it anyway. Hooray.
 
OP
S
Jul 20, 2009
3
0
Status
Non-Student
I personally couldn't have lived on $23k, but I also had undergrad debt from a 4 year university. My mother was unlicenced VT during school years, and she and my father did ok with both of them working, but it wasn't a luxurious lifestyle.
Luxurious isn't what I'm looking for. A home and a life would be nice, after room mates for a while of course. But this is looking further and further from reality.
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2008
3,331
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NC
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Veterinarian
Luxurious isn't what I'm looking for. A home and a life would be nice, after room mates for a while of course. But this is looking further and further from reality.
LOL. luxurious is a variable definition. for my parents luxury = 3 meals a day, dial up internet, and not working 3 ft jobs between them. For me, luxury means a vacation every couple of years, enjoying my SCUBA hobby, the ability to have multiple pets, and owning a Prius. They did, however, have a child (me!) which was an additional expense (my mother has a hs diploma, my father has worked for the same company since 16). Maybe if they didn't have me early, they would have been better established and not struggled so much. Alot depends on where you live, how much debt you have, and what resources you bring to the table (do you have to have a mechanic if your car breaks down or can you save teh $400 bill doing it yourself type of skills.) If your parents are still willing to house you, then you probably have some support to get established...something neither of my parents had.

Also, it will depend on what you are willing to do. Are you ok working emergency with long shifts, on calls, and/or nights? The more strenous the job in terms of on job demands, hours, weekends, evenings, overnights, etc...the more you are able to make.
 
Jun 22, 2009
30
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Just feeling, at the moment, like I have ruined my life and should have stayed in sonography... I'm already 13K in debt from it anyway. Hooray.
Take a different spin on it. You tried something and it didn't work, so on to bigger and better things. You have not ruined your life--you're only 21 ferchrissakes! ;) You have SO much time to figure out what it is that you want out of life. Heck, even when you're 30, 40, 50, you can still change your mind and do something else! Nobody faults anybody for wanting a career change, no matter when they do it.

I think salary for technicians varies a lot on where you live and what kind of hospital you're working in (i.e., big hospital with lots of vets, or small clinic).

If being a technician is what you truly want, then go for it.
 

EqSci

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2008
449
1
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Veterinary Student
The schooling required, the amount involved, the debt, surgeries, etc. I love animals dearly and with all my heart and have wanted to be a tech for so long. The idea of being a vterinarian though is just something I feel I couldn't do.
I don't mean to sound patronizing, but keep in mind that being a tech is not all giving puppies baths and bandaging purring cats. You have to clean up puke, pull blood, restrain screaming cats and growling dogs, give shots, assist in surgeries, etc. Most of the time the animals hate you with a passion and you are doing things that will help them in the long run but are probably painful or uncomfortable at the present time.

I would suggest shadowing or volunteering in a clinic before going down this path in life. You may even be able to get a paying job as an assistant if you explain your situation and interest in vet tech school.