Jobs You Can Get with a Veterinary Technology Degree

Getting a veterinary technology degree can open you up to many more future job opportunities than you realize. Jobs you can get with a veterinary technology degree can range from the common cat and dog to caring for bears, penguins, and other wild or exotic animals. It can include private practice veterinary work, nonprofit work, or government work. For any veterinary technician position, the salary range is about $20,000 to $50,000 a year. You can get both an associates and bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. With a bachelor’s degree, you are more likely to pursue a more specialized career and get higher pay.

Jobs for veterinary technicians include:

Pet Clinics

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A veterinary technician cleaning a dog's teeth. Photo by Priority Pet Hospital, Flickr

Working in a pet clinic is the most common place for veterinary technicians to work. And it’s where you will find the most jobs available which is why many start their careers here. Most pet clinics work with cats and dogs, but some will specialize in large animals, such as horses, farm animals, or exotic pets such as parrots and reptiles.

Specialty Pet Clinics

Pet medicine can have as many specialties as human medication. Some veterinary clinics specialize in a particular area of veterinary medicine such as surgery, dermatology, or cancer. To get a job in such a clinic you will also most likely need experience or training in that particular specialty. These jobs will usually have the higher pay, but there are fewer available and more competition.

Animal Shelters

Animal shelters usually have veterinary staff to care for animals that come into the shelter. Most animal shelter residents are your common pets, such as cats, dogs, and rabbits, but a few will take in wildlife, farm animals, and exotic pets. These jobs do tend to be a high stress position as you have to work with animals that often come from less than ideal homes and may not find an adoptive home.

Universities

Many colleges and universities have animals for various purposes, including for research and to educate veterinary and veterinary technology students. Some will have a small wildlife or nature centers open to the public for educational purposes. All of these will hire vet techs to help care for the medical needs of the animals, animal caretakers, and even as teachers for veterinary technology classes.

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Examination of maned wolf pup. Photo by Smithsonian's National Zoo, Flickr

Zoos

Larger zoos will hire staff veterinarian and veterinary technicians. With hundreds of wild animals in a zoo needing physical exams or emergency care, the day to day job of a zoo veterinary technician is never boring. These jobs will typically require previous experience or training with wild animals, exotic pets, and/or farm animals and horses. These are also highly competitive jobs.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

Wildlife rehabilitation centers take in injured and orphaned native wildlife, with the goal of treating them and releasing them back to the wild. Some centers specialize in oil spill response. Most have a completely volunteer staff, but a few will have paid technicians to care for the animals. Since these are nonprofit centers that rely solely on donations from the public, the pay will be on the lower end of the salary scale for veterinary technicians.

Government Jobs

There are positions available for veterinary technicians in many state fish and game departments, the USDA, and federal Fish and Wildlife Department. Veterinary technicians may be hired to care for confiscated animals that were illegally taken from the wild, to inspect zoos and farm and ranch animals, or for wildlife research projects.

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