Although the overall unemployment rate has continued to rise in recent months, veterinary technicians are still in great demand. But, do not confuse a trained vet tech with a simple animal care technician who usually has only the training provided on the job. Advances in both veterinary medicine technology and technique are the fuel firing the increased demand for well-trained individuals to work as veterinary technicians.
In 2006, there were some 145,000 technician jobs throughout the country. The demand for trained techs is growing at a greater rate than many other occupations, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are a number of influential factors keeping the demand for qualified vet techs rather high.
Team Approach Needed
Throughout the country, certain medical advances call upon a team approach for treatment where a veterinarian needs to have the assistance of a qualified technician. Furthermore, increased public awareness about animal care and an increased use of pet health insurance are also driving factors helping to increase greater use of veterinary services. People are determined more than ever to do whatever is necessary to help maintain good pet health.
Not Enough Program Participation
And, according to The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), employment opportunities will continue to soar since the approximately 150 programs throughout the nation graduated only about 3,000 people with about 87 percent passing the national exam and becoming state licensed – which is not at pace to meet the current demand.
Practice Techs Only One Segment of Employment
It may be hard to discern that although the most visible vet tech positions seen by the general pet-owning public are those at veterinary practices, a great deal of employment opportunity also is found in research. Qualified vet techs are needed working at university laboratories, biotech companies and pharmaceutical corporations. Government regulations pertaining to the development and production procedures that are necessary for manufacture of products make the demand for these jobs continue despite the recent economic downturn according to the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Research Techs Needed
These vet tech jobs may be involved with quite mundane job tasking, however the work performances are vital, and necessary, for productive research. Tasks include many daily routines such as the administration of medicine, daily cage cleaning or can be cutting edge duties such as DNA gene analysis involved in the study of mouse brain development. Although the economy might be suffering, federal requirements pertaining to drug and animal treatment testing continue to be government regulated with ever increasing need for tighter scrutiny and regulation.
Focused Specialized Training
Some of the more recent advances in animal care and treatment have led to another are for demand of highly-trained vet techs. Professionals employed in high technology usage areas, although receiving a great deal of on-the-job training, are recipients for increased specialized training in many post-operative care procedures involving animals that have had new joint-replacement surgery and organ transplant procedures. Many professionals who pursue a two-year degree in veterinary technology go on to complete a course of undergraduate studies in related areas such as zoology. Additionally, for the post-graduate vet tech there are many opportunities to become involved in continuing education as technology and techniques continue to change and improve constantly.
The outlook for continued increase in compensation for veterinary technicians is also looking pretty good according to NAVTA. The average pay in 2007 was $36,120 to start for techs in the field. Entry-level laboratory veterinary technicians earned an average of $30,262 in 2007. However, techs with a greater degree of specialized, focused research training – for example in surgical assistance techniques or DNA study analysis – earned an average of $44,382 as reported by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. This association has a variety of certification programs for technicians obtaining various skill levels.
Positions for research vet techs at biotech and pharmaceutical companies usually pay much better – on the average – where highly-trained professionals with focused skill sets earn an average of $73,538.
Veterinary technicians not only gain a great deal of satisfaction caring for animals , but many are actually involved in research that has a direct effect upon creating improved medical procedures for human beings.