The question, “How much does a vet tech make?“, is a very hard question to answer. It is easy to throw out a general average or starting salary. But the truth is that there are so many different opportunities as a vet tech that provide very different salaries.
Which brings me to another point. Some hospitals will pay their vet techs by the hour. Other hospitals will have vet techs on salary. The main difference being that hourly employee will most often get overtime, where as salaried employees will get paid their set 40-hour a week pay. Being hourly and being salary both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Hourly vet techs are paid by the hour. Which can vary greatly depending on experience and skill level. Most registered vet techs out of school will start in the $12-$14 dollar range at a standard hospital job. There is always the chance that the starting pay could be higher, especially if you are located in a large metropolitan area. Hourly rate also depends greatly on experience and specifically any advanced training. A vet tech that specializes in surgery and anesthesia will most likely make more than a vet tech that works at a standard practice. The same goes for vet techs working in emergency and specialty hospitals. Many 24-hour clinics will offer additional pay for working the over-night shift.
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of hourly pay for a vet tech?
One of the biggest advantages to hourly pay is that there is usually overtime. If you work in a busy clinic and end up working 50-60 hours a week you can greatly increase your income with overtime. However, some hospitals will limit their staff to right around 40-hours a week if they are a full-time hourly employee. Which can be a good thing and a bad thing.
Being a salaried vet tech also have several advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages to being salaried is the consistent pay. You will always know exactly how much you will be making (except with bonuses!). There is no chance of losing your pay if you only end up working 35 hours a week instead of 40. The real problem with a salaried vet tech is the chance of working too many hours. Sometimes clinics will take advantage of salaried employees. If you do come across a job that is salaried, make sure you definitely know the hours you are expected to work each week!
Overall the question, “how much does a vet tech make?”, can be summed by saying that it depends on many factors. Averages for vet tech pay can be spit out all day, but at the end of the day the determining factors are location, specialty, and experience. So the best thing to do is always research the exact job and the job description to see exactly what you would be doing as a vet tech.