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What are the Top Pros and Cons of Being a Vet Tech?

What are the Top Pros and Cons of Being a Vet Tech?

The Good, the Bad, and the Noisy

You’ve just graduated from your preferred school of veterinary technology. You’re prepared for a physically demanding job that requires effort, empathy, and skill. And there is a big need for vet techs in the field of animal care. So what are the benefits and what are the pitfalls? What is there to love and loathe in being a vet tech?

We’ll explore the top three most challenging aspects of being a veterinarian technician and the top three most rewarding aspects to the job. Whether you’re just starting off on your path to being a vet tech, are considering working in animal care, or are a recent graduate (or not so recent graduate) here are some things to consider.

The Cons of Being a Vet Tech

When speaking to vet tech professionals in the field here are the top three most common complaints.

#3 Long Hours at a Physically Demanding Job

Let’s be honest, working as a vet tech isn’t the same as clocking in at an office. Many vet techs work much longer than a traditional forty hour work week. Clinics are often open on Saturdays and many clinics are open seven days a week. And emergency clinics necessitate round the clock staffing. No matter what the clinic or practice is that you end up in, chances are that you will have a long work week ahead of you. And those hours aren’t going to be filled with leisurely lunch breaks or ergonomically correct chairs; more than likely, while you’re on the clock you are going to be hustling.

Animal care necessitates a strong constitution and as a tech it is in your own benefit to practice leading the healthiest lifestyle that you can in order to fulfill the needs of the position. You will be lifting heavy chonks and squirming slonks (chubby cats and skinny cats, for those techs who don’t know internet cat speak!) along with all matter of dogs (and more!). Not only will you need to be able to lift and handle wriggling and scared animals, but you will likely withstand injuries. As a vet tech, you must work with pets who are under significant stress—whether from an injury or the fear of being in an unfamiliar environment—and they will respond as what they are: animals. A vet tech needs to be careful to avoid bites, kicks, scratches and more while restraining pets in order to provide them care. And you will not always be so lucky to avoid these hurts.

#2 The Pain of Being an Empath

Chances are that you got into this profession (or are exploring it as a career path) because you love animals and want to help. The sweetness that comes with the reward of helping pets in need doesn’t come without the sours, and that’s not just withstanding a bite or scratch. Being a vet tech is a job that emotionally will take a toll on every worker. It can hurt the soul to watch a helpless animal in pain: they don’t know why they are hurting and they are in an unfamiliar environment with strangers providing at them. As a vet tech you logically understand that every pet that comes through the clinic needs some form of assistance and it can take the shape of touching, lifting, and poking—but you can’t explain the necessity to do this to a frightened animal.

And as a vet tech, you are likely to run into one of the hardest parts of the job: euthanasia. Is euthanasia always the hardest part of being a vet tech? No. Not always. On some occasions, freeing an ailing patient from their constant suffering is a unique gift that only animal care providers can offer. You help to relieve pain and suffering and you can offer something to the pet that no one else can: peace. But the emotional stress of being an empath and seeing the pet’s human suffer is hard. Comforting a pet owner in pain is a difficult part of the job because as an animal lover, and likely a pet owner yourself, you know the unique pain that comes with saying goodbye to your beloved friend.

As a vet tech it is essential to ensure that you are looking after yourself: physically, emotionally, and mentally. Do you know places to turn to or tips to employ in order to practice vet tech specific self-care? Some suggestions are prioritizing sleep, ensuring that you get in some exercise, ensuring that no matter how busy your day that you get in snacks AND hydration (lots and lots of water), and setting concrete boundaries (i.e., learning to say “no.”). No matter how you define self-care, as a vet tech it is imperative that you establish and make time for yourself.

#1. The Practice of Patience

Being a veterinary technician means that you will have to daily practice patience. For someone who has a less stressful job this might be easy, but when your day includes trying to calm frantic pets and their owners, patience takes on a whole different look. As a vet tech, you are often the middleman between the pet owner and the treatment plan for their pet. As a tech, you are responsible for keeping people on task and balancing the frustration that comes with owners and their pets when the treatment plan isn’t being followed or isn’t working. You also need to employ the same kind of patience when it comes to explaining medication, treatments, and costs with an emotional pet owner. And, chances are, on some days you will be the recipient of the pet owner’s frustration. It’s hard to not take this personally, and it’s even harder to maintain a composed and patient demeanor.  None of this is easy, matter-of-fact, this might be the most difficult part of being a vet tech. Not the wiggling doggos, not the long hours, and not the hurt that comes with putting a pet down. It’s trying to keep your cool while all of these things are happening, sometimes, likely, in one day. But keeping calm and being patient is what helps to settle both unruly pets and their owners. Reminding yourself that you possess the knowledge and abilities to diffuse difficult situations elevates your job to not just a way to make money—it makes it an irreplaceable vocation. 

The Pros of Being a Vet Tech

Being a vet tech isn’t all about the struggles! Here are the top three things reported as being the most wonderful part of being a veterinarian technician.

#3. Job Security

If you are a vet tech, there is a good chance that you won’t be waiting long until you get a job. There is a big demand for veterinary technicians. The field has shown strong trends in terms of growth for the past five years and more, and there shows to be sustained demand going into the future. With this kind of need and security, there is also the opportunity for advancement within veterinary offices.

While you work as a tech, no two days will ever look the same—which is also a benefit for those who don’t respond well to routine—and because of that you’ll be developing new skills regularly. Throughout your career, you’ll be performing a variety of procedures and practice a number of new services while working with animals in a hands-on capacity. Because of this, there is a high likelihood to advance your career.

While you work as a tech, no two days will ever look the same—which is also a benefit for those who don’t respond well to routine—and because of that you’ll be developing new skills regularly. Throughout your career, you’ll be performing a variety of procedures and practice a number of new services while working with animals in a hands-on capacity. Because of this, there is a high likelihood to advance your career.

Are you familiar with some opportunities for advancement within the vet tech field?
This can be things such as being promoted to a more supervisory position such as becoming the head technician or supervisory positions such as becoming a veterinary practice manager or moving forward with a specialty certification.

#2. The Thrill of the New

As mentioned above, no two days are ever going to be the same. Once you walk through the door, you will experience something new. You will engage with different kinds of pets and their owners and each will have unique personalities, needs, and problems. You will form bonds with people and their pets, and you will develop relationships with every person who works in your clinic.

As a vet tech, there is never a chance that you will have a boring or routine day. Maybe some days will be quiet, maybe some you’ll be running all over the place, but there is no chance that one day will look like the day before. This kind of change will make you, as a professional, more adaptable, more skilled, and more tolerant. As a tech, you will find that you have an inner well of strength and durability that facilitates excellence in the field of animal care, and every day will be its own unique adventure.

Do you know of other ways that you can expand you career when you start down the path of a vet tech?
Based upon your specialty, if you decide to continue with further education, you might even have the opportunity to work with zoo animals, farm animals, or other exotic animals. To find vet tech jobs outside of your veterinary hospital you can go to veterinary specific job sites like

You may also want to consider joining a Vet Tech Association such as NAVTA, AVECCTN or AZVT.

#1. You Get to Help Pets…and Their People

As a veterinary technician you have a tremendous impact on the lives of not only the pets that you care for, but also the people who love those pets. You provide a direct impact in the form of providing a service that owners cannot, whether that is a routine check-up or something more severe. There is a good chance that you went into this field, or are considering it, because you love animals. And in this field, you have the chance to make a difference in the lives of the animals that you care about. And not just cats and dogs, but all kinds of animals: birds, rabbits, reptiles. Every day is filled with the opportunity to interact with the creatures and critters who made you first consider even working in animal care to begin with, and that’s a gift that not all people get to experience in their professions. It is because of your generosity of spirit when it comes to concern for animal welfare, you get to help both pets and pet owners.

Having a comforting and concerned vet tech assist pets helps ease stressful scenarios for both the pet and the person, who likely isn’t any more excited to be at the vet’s to begin with. And this ease of service helps uplift the experience for everyone. As a vet tech, you have the chance to do good for others on a daily basis, even if it doesn’t feel like it on some of those long days. Realizing that you have this kind of influence often makes you a more tolerant person and makes you grow as a person. As mentioned earlier, being a vet tech isn’t just a job, it’s a vocation. The help you provide to scared pets and their pet parents is the number one motivating factor for choosing this career.