Vet Tech Jobs & Specialties

Animals are very similar to people, and their bodies need specialists for different injuries.

That is the reason why animals often require a wide range of medical attention and there are caring people who devote their lives to learning how to help them.

Besides finishing the regular veterinary education, many of them decide to take additional expertise on the anatomy, pathology, behavior, and even nutrition of animals.

This is learned by becoming specialized in one of 12 veterinary technician careers and we decided to speak about five top-earning jobs among these.

Besides becoming a vet technician with a two-year associate’s degree you can choose to continue your education and through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) you can find one of the many academies which award certification for specialties in vet tech work.

NAVTA is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association and it keeps maintaining its own specialties portal, where veterinary technicians who are eager to gain a higher level of recognition for advanced knowledge and skills in specific disciplines can find the program they want to attend.

Another thing worth mentioning is that these specializations come with a pay increase.

A candidate who wants to get a technical certification in a specialized field must complete the courses of study and pass an examination, in addition to the standard two years’ time invested at a community college.

Upon successful completion of all studies and examinations, you will become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS).

The Importance of Vet Tech Specialization

Many people wanted to define a vet tech profession and the best description and definition is definitely the one on NAVTA’s website:

“Veterinary technicians and technologists are educated to be the veterinarian’s nurse, laboratory technician, radiography technician, anesthetist, surgical nurse, and client educator. A veterinary technician is a graduate from a two-year, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program from a community college, college, or university. Almost every state requires a veterinary technician/technologist to take and pass a credentialing exam.”

However, this is not the end of potentials for the vet tech who are so devoted to this profession that they want to expand their knowledge even more.

They choose to attend a specialization that fits hem best, and upon completion of the required courses of study, they can start practicing an exciting new occupation in veterinary medicine.

As a vet tech you can specialize in equine medicine or as an animal nutritionist, and what you can expect is not only an increased earning potential and but also you will become an expert and veterinary science is always in need of expertly-trained technicians.

Below we have made a list of the five top-paying vet tech specialist careers and you might select the one the is the most attractive to you.

To help you choose which specialization path is right for you, we have also included the average wages of all specialist careers.

Pay rate data was collated from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), the Department of Labor, PayScale, Indeed, SimplyHired, and Zip Recruiter.

What we need to note is that region, experience, and certification are the most significant factors when it comes to determining which vet tech career pays best.

You must know that states with a higher per-capita income are generally more expensive to live in and thus pay their employers more.

We listed the career’s median wage and without taking into account prior job experience or region.

Anesthesia & Analgesia Technician

One of the highest paying vet tech careers is that of the veterinary anesthesia and analgesia technician.

The reason for the high salaries of these professionals is that they are responsible for ensuring that veterinary surgeons are able to carry out their duties.

Vet techs interested in this filed can master the skills necessary to step into these well-paying roles.

If you are wondering what are the duties of a veterinary technician anesthetist we are here to explain to you that they assist veterinarians with surgical procedures performed on a variety of animals.

Their daily tasks involve pre-anesthetic preparation, administering proper anesthesia, administering the proper dosage of sedative, maintaining sedation of the animal through close monitoring, and managing the animal’s emergence from the sedative state.

Furthermore, that is not when their duties end and post-anesthetic care of the animal and maintenance of specialized equipment are also expected to be done by them.

According to PayScale, vet techs with anesthesia skills earn an average salary of as much as $33,969.

The high pay rate resulted from the possession of a four-year degree from an accredited veterinary institution, which significantly increases the earning potential of veterinary technicians.

Surgical Technician

Another well-paid vet tech job is a veterinary surgical technician.

However, becoming one requires a determined course of study and certification via the Academy of Veterinary Surgical Technicians.

Upon receiving this specialization, the vet tech will be allowed to assist the veterinarian during surgical procedures and diagnoses.

During their lessons and training, surgical techs are taught how to assist veterinarians with a host of surgical procedures, including diagnostic tests, surgery, proper sterility practices, and all levels of wound care.

Their duties include changing and checking dressings of wounds, maintenance of healing wounds, and the counseling of owners with wounded animals.

Additionally, you can expect to do some clerical and administrative components which are usually done by a vet surgical tech in a clinic or office.

Those are things like post-op consultation, medication dosings, the filling of animal prescriptions, and administering IVs, catheters, or drawing blood will likely be commonplace.

According to  Zip Recruiter, veterinary surgical technicians can earn an average salary of $48,207.

Emergency & Critical Care Technician

Whatever emergency is happening, emergency response personnel must be versatile and highly qualified so as to be able to save the life of an animal.

These people need to be well prepared to work under pressure and to remain calm and focused.

If you believe that you are ready for the world of emergency vet clinics or late-night calls, then the emergency and critical care technician specialization could be an ideal match for you.

When the responsibilities of an emergency vet tech are in question, all of them require many of the same skills needed as the position of surgical tech but they need to face challenging situations, relying on their expertise and training to help stabilize animals who need critical attention.

In case you want to become an emergency and critical care technician, you can expect to work in the intensive care unit or a 24-hour animal hospital.

Your duties will be to take x-rays, monitor vitals, clean wounds, insert catheters, take blood or stool samples, give injections of medication or fluids, applying gauze to wounds, practicing ongoing wound care, and keeping the patient’s files in order.

This kind of occupation deserves higher salaries and PayScale shows that emergency and critical care veterinary nurses (VNECC) can earn an average salary of $68,000.

Other Vet Tech Fields to Consider

Even though we could not find the salary data was for the following fields, we still wanted to offer you two other vet tech positions to consider:

Zoological Medical Technician

Zoological Medical Technician career is considered ideal for individuals who enjoy exotic animals and the rich learning environments of zoos, aquariums, or wildlife preserves.

A zoological medical technician is a close assistant to the vet in dealing with many exotic animals.

Their duties might include wound care, taking radiographs, operating diagnostic machinery or software, filling prescriptions, administering fluids, administering medications, assisting with general physical exams, inserting catheters, and cleaning of surgical equipment, among many others.

Zoo vet techs are also trained to give intramuscular or intravenous injections of medication or fluids.

Equine Nursing Technician

An equine nursing technician is better known as a large animal vet tech.

Becoming this kind of professional is considered the best option for people who love horses, rural environments, and variety.

If you belong to them, you can gain a working knowledge of the husbandry industry through the Academy of Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians.

The main duty of large animal vet technicians is to assist veterinarians with everything that the vet might need such as administering medication, bandaging wounds, prepping for surgeries or procedures, running blood or fluid tests, taking x-rays, or giving injections.

These people are well educated and trained for some other more specialized tasks such as jogging horses into a pen to test how their lameness or injury has improved and maintaining physical therapy records for follow-ups or outside consultation.

Other tasks can be scheduling appointments and dealing with a number of husbandry animals, including cows, sheep, and hogs.

Once you become an equine nursing technician, you should be flexible in your availability and this involves working at nights, weekends, and holidays.

There will be even some seasons when you will be required to work overtime.

And, as you will be working with horses which are powerful animals, you must be very cautious.

Your knowledge of equine anatomy and locomotion will improve your ability to account for kicks and bites.

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