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How Much Does a Veterinary Technician Make?
Veterinary techs are sometimes called animal nurses.
Veterinary technicians, supervised by licensed veterinarians, help care for sick or injured animals. Although duties vary, techs may collect samples and perform tests; maintain records; administer medications or anesthesia; sterilize surgical instruments; or provide patients with general nursing care. Becoming a veterinary technician typically requires earning an associate s degree. According to O-Net Online, however, about 22 percent have attended college without earning a degree and another 8 percent have not obtained an education beyond the high school level. Education, experience and specialization can impact earnings, as well as the type of employer and the geographic location.
Nationwide, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, as of May 2011, the average salary for veterinary technicians was $31,570 annually. This was equivalent to $15.18 per hour. The most highly compensated 10 percent earned $44,740 or more per year; the lowest-paid 10 percent earned no more than $20,880 annually.
According to the BLS, veterinary techs employed by federal and state government agencies earned the highest average annual salaries, $48,020 and $44,770, respectively. Veterinary technicians earned an average of $43,400 at general hospitals. If working for an employment service, the average salary was $38,410; diagnostic and medical laboratories paid an average annual wage of $37,730.
Location played an important part in determining salaries, according to the BLS. As of May 2011, veterinary techs in Alaska averaged $38,190 annually, making the state number one on the bureau s list of five best-paying states for the occupation. New York held the second spot at $37,460. The third, fourth and fifth best-paying states were Connecticut, Virginia and Massachusetts, which all reported similar salaries. In Connecticut, the average was $36,640; in Virginia, it was $36,560; and in Massachusetts, it was $36,380.
Veterinary technicians in West Virginia had the lowest average salary, $25,780, according to the May 2011 report from the BLS. In Oklahoma, the average was $26,360, and in Idaho, it was $26,390. Veterinary techs in Kentucky averaged $26,770 annually, and in Alabama, they averaged $26,960.
Best-Paying Metropolitan Areas
Even if the state average is not among the highest for the occupation, individual metropolitan areas sometimes report salaries that are significantly higher than the state average. This was the case for the bureau s May 2011 list of the five best-paying metropolitan areas for veterinary techs; four of the top five were not in the states listed as the best-paying states. Two areas in California, the greater Sacramento and greater San Jose areas, held the first and third positions, offering respective annual salaries of $47,990 and $42,770. The Madison, Wisconsin, metropolitan area was second; veterinary techs in that city averaged $46,570. In the greater Poughkeepsie-Middletown area of New York, the average annual salary was $42,690. Veterinary techs in the Reno-Sparks, Nevada, metropolitan area earned an average annual salary of $41,720.