Being a veterinary technician is a very rewarding job. Not only do you get to help animals, you’re also helping the people who love them very much. The downside to this profession, however, is sometimes the pay isn’t that great. If you’ve been stuck in a salary rut, consider some of these options in boosting Vet Tech Pay. Even if you’re in the job for the love of animals and their owners, you have to make enough to pay the bills, right?

1. Get Certified

A lot of veterinary technicians have on-the-job training, foregoing the traditional degree program for learning at the helm of a veterinary clinic. However, most clinics agree that they pay more for technicians with a board certification. If you’ve been trying to get into a larger clinic, a research facility, or a university, you’re more likely to be hired with a certification. On average, a certification will give you a raise that could be as much two to three dollars an hour more than you’d make without it. Having a certification will also give you more job options. While your current clinic knows how experienced you are, other clinics don’t have that same knowledge. Combining your years of experience with a license will do wonders for how hirable you are.

2. Find a Specialty Certification

If you’re already certified, you should consider getting NAVTA specialty certification. Becoming a Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) can add a ton of value to what you provide to a clinic. Becoming a VTS opens up the possibility of working in larger, more specialized hospitals, such as, universities, referral hospitals, or research facilities. There are currently nine recognized specialties:

  • Dentistry
  • Anesthesia
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Internal medicine
  • Zoological medicine
  • Equine medicine
  • Surgery
  • Clinical practice
  • Behavior

Specialties require a few years of additional training. You have to log hundreds of hours of work in your chosen specialty, as well as a research project and an intensive exam once your work is complete. As a VTS, your resume will automatically stand out above even the most experienced veterinary technicians. If you’re a VTS, it’s safe to say that you can get hired wherever you want if you’re good at what you do.

3. Work in a Research Lab

Research labs hire experienced and/or well educated technicians. Research labs make more money than veterinary clinics do, so they also pay their staff more. If you work in a research lab, you are responsible for the care of the animals in the lab. Part of the reason lab techs get paid more is because the job can be very difficult emotionally. While you’re ensuring the animals are getting quality care, you’re also helping prepare them for a variety of tests that might make you uncomfortable. Getting a very good salary and fantastic benefits helps lower the lab’s turnover rate.

4. Write Magazine Articles or Web Content

Certified veterinary technicians with plenty of experience have a great resume to present to magazines or website owners. In a technological age, a lot of owners turn to online resources to answer their questions, and you have the perfect amount of knowledge to provide the answers they’re looking for. As a VTS, you can write for industry publications and periodicals regarding your specialty. If you performed research for your specialty, you have a wealth of knowledge these publications are yearning for.

5. Become a Teacher

Because most clinics want their technicians to be certified, there are veterinary technician programs popping up all over the country. These programs hire veterinarians and technicians with years of experience. The hands-on experience you’ve had after years on the job are priceless to students wanting to enter the field. As a teacher, you’ll not only have a more flexible schedule, you’ll also be making significantly more money than you would working in a clinic setting. Most schools require at least three years of experience and a certification before they’ll hire you, but if you’re hired, you’ve got a job you can easily retire from.

You might not pass $100K any time soon working as a vet tech, but it doesn’t mean you can’t supplement your income in other ways to live a bit more comfortably. It’s simply a matter of where you want to be financially and how much time you are willing to invest in yourself.

– By Andrea Hupp