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How much do vet techs make, anyway?

Written by Ashworth College on Thursday, 03 January 2019. Posted in Career

How much do vet techs make, anyway?

As an animal lover, you want to make a career from your passion: helping pets and their humans. Becoming a veterinary technician seems like the perfect career choice. As a vet tech, you’ll work with veterinarians to see sick or injured animals and often be responsible for collecting samples, performing medical tests, and prepping exam rooms. Depending on the veterinary practice or animal clinic you work for, those duties can vary. While those tasks sound like your dream job, as much as you love making a difference, salary matters, too. The median pay for a practicing vet tech in 2018 was $16.55 per hour or $34,420 per year. However, depending on the state you live in, your credentials, and your specific employer, potential entry-level pay can fluctuate. Here are some key factors that affect vet tech pay and responsibilities.

Vet tech salary statistics

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for veterinary technicians is projected to grow faster than average. The need for veterinary technicians is expected to increase by 19% over the next ten years. That means the demand for trained techs is high - making now the perfect time to train for a career in the field. With high demand comes the opportunity for competitive wages. Remember, the national average salary for veterinary technicians was $36,850 per year in 2021. Depending on your experience, location, and education, you can potentially earn more - for example, the highest paid vet techs in 2021 earned as much as $46,910 per year.

So how can you land the higher-paying vet tech jobs? It comes down to which industry you work in, as well as your geographic location.

Which industry pays vet techs the most

Many people think of vet techs as the people who work at their local veterinarian’s office, but technicians actually work in a wide range of industries, from advocacy organizations to zoos. How much a vet tech makes can hinge on what industry they decide to work in.

The top-paying industry for vet techs is the Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing branch, with a yearly average wage of $64,720. The executive branch includes agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce, which may employ vet techs to work in animal inspection jobs, at fisheries, or in other interesting positions. Other top-paying industries for vet techs include:

  1. Museums and historical sites. While this may not seem like the first place you’d think to find a veterinary technician working, many museums and historical sites have wildlife or service animals which need tending. The yearly average salary in 2021 for vet techs working in these industries was $44,950.
  2. Colleges. Colleges of all kinds, including junior colleges, universities, and professional schools can employ trained veterinary technicians. At an annual mean salary of $40,480. These vet techs can often find themselves working with animals involved in research activities and the average annual salary in 2021 for these roles was $56,450.
  3. Social advocacy organizations. Social advocacy organizations can include shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and more. These vet techs may care for injured animals throughout a rehabilitation process or while in a shelter. The average annual pay for vet techs in these roles is $36,390.

Which states pay the highest vet tech salary?

In addition to the industry you choose to work in as a vet tech, your geographic location can affect your pay, too. Here's where vet techs tend to earn the most.

  1. Nevada: This state pays the highest average yearly wage, which was recorded as $46,930 in 2021.
  2. Connecticut: Veterinary techs in this state earned an average of $44,380 in 2021.
  3. New York: This state paid vet techs in 2021 an average of $45,560 per year.
  4. California: Techs in this west coast state earned an average yearly salary of $45,140 in 2021.

Which cities have the highest vet tech salaries?

Just as some states have a higher average yearly pay for veterinary technicians, there are some cities in which vet techs can earn more. Those cities include:

  1. San Jose, CA. This metropolitan area paid vet techs an average salary of $57,990 in 2021.
  2. San Francisco, CA. Vet techs in this area earned an average of $52,220 per year in 2021.
  3. Santa Cruz, CA. In this west coast city, veterinary technicians could earn as much as $51,340 per year in 2021.
  4. Seattle, WA. Practicing veterinary techs reported an average yearly salary of $49,920 in 2021.

Start your journey to becoming a vet tech

Because the profession is growing, there’s never been a better time to get started on this path. Learn more about the AVMA CVTEA-accredited online veterinary technician program at Ashworth College or talk to an Admissions Advisor today by calling 1-800-957-5412.

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