How hard is it to get a vet tech job?

Barbara!

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#1
So,

I am about to type up a résumé specifically for taking to all the veterinarians in my town. I know several of you have been or are vet techs. How hard was it for you to get your job?

I'm 21 years old and the only real FORMAL job I have in the pet field is a dog bathing job I had at PetSmart. The rest of my formal work history is retail.

However, I did work as a volunteer at a vet between ages 12-16 and when I was 19 for a little while. I doubt the vet has any record of it, though, as they have since changed locations and vets. Would that be a plus? I'm going to include it in my résumé. I also worked at a stable from ages 14-17. I'm going to include that as well. Not sure what references I could use... Any if you guys want to volunteer for the job? Lol!

And of course I foster as often as I can for rescues and helped run a rescue that shut down a few months ago. (The founder didn't want to do it anymore... She only lasted about 6 months.)

So yeah... How hard is it? Lol.
 
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#2
It is very difficult to go right into a technician position with no experience. Normally you would start in the kennel and work your way up, I started when I was 14 and have been a technician for about 12 years now. But if you can find a veterinarian willing to train you it might not be a problem. Good Luck with your job search!!
 

Barbara!

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#4
Well, I guess I should rephrase that from "vet tech job" to "job at a vet". Lol. Any entry level position is fine, too.
 

milos_mommy

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#5
I think it's kind of a hit or miss thing. I know vet techs who have bachelor degrees and formal training as a vet tech and can never find a job.

My younger brother went to the local vet's office when he was 17, and said he was interested in going to vet school and could he just help out or hang out for a few days to see what it was like. He got hired as a tech a week later and trained on the job. Now he's been there over a year and assists with surgeries, gives vaccines, draws blood, etc. and makes well over minimum wage.

I do know a few people who have their associates degree as a veterinary technician, and they got hired right away.
 

Beanie

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#6
Around here the techs graduate with a job offer because they are working at clinics or in the university labs and people already know them.
Other than that, it's hit or miss. I've applied at a few vet's offices to be receptionist/assistant and didn't get a phone call... and I have almost a decade of receptionist experience plus all my dog experience. Maybe they think I am over qualified or something. I know a lot of other folks who try to get their foot in the door and end up working at the local shelter for $8/hr just to get something to put on the resume to see if that helps... so far it hasn't helped anybody... =/ but I think part of it is the economy is down and the pet industry is whimpering along a bit...

Draft up a cover letter highlighting all your experience. That will probably speak more than your resume.
 

Southpaw

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#7
I had a very hard time finding a tech job, and that was with an associates degree and certification. Took me a year to land one, and the only reason it was offered to me was because I was already working at that clinic as a kennel assistant, and had been for 3 years.

Getting the kennel assistant job was easier but most places I applied to wanted you to be a vet/vet tech student. But, we have a few colleges in the area with vet tech programs so that allows clinics to be pickier like that.
 

Kilter

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It depends on your area I would think. I would point out the rescue work and if you can, continue to volunteer in that sort of thing. Spay and neuter clinics for example, I've spent two days assisting with surgeries and talking to multiple vets at the same time - and know which ones I'd not want to work for! Also if you drive and can, volunteer for a rescue to transport to and from the vet clinic - pick up the pet, take it to the appointment, meet the vet, take it back. Gets you in the door more and then you can bring in a resume and they'd know who the heck you were over someone who has never come in before.

I think with most places they'd want someone who is a hard worker and good with animals over the 'puppies r cute' types people who may not stomach surgery or dog vomit on them.
 
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#9
Generally it depends on where you are and the type of clinic. Here in WA you can go to school and become certified and pretty much work where ever you want. Personally, I started out as an assistant and worked my way up in a clinic that taught me tech work and let me learn on the job through experience. Now because I'm old, I work the front desk because the tech/assistant work on a day to day basis is too hard on my body. Some clinics will only hire certified techs and some don't care. No matter where you work in the clinic is darn hard work, whether you're wrangling clients or pets. :D
 

crazedACD

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#11
You'd probably do best looking at jobs titled "Veterinary Assistant" vs. tech and then build your skills from there.

I got a job as a "will train vet assistant" probably from working in boarding kennels. The place was a hell hole though, I was pretty miserable. They didn't have enough employees/interest to thoroughly train me so I kind of muddled along and got yelled at (and physically hit by one of the vets) a lot. They were awful to the animals too.

I worked at another vet clinic doing kennels and a little assisting. On the client side of things the place was OK but they took in trapped cats for the county. I strongly disagreed with the way that was handled and ended up kind of miserable there too.

So..I can't stomach working for vets anymore. Every place has it's secrets but it's just not a good fit for me. Make sure YOU are comfortable with them too.
 

Barbara!

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#12
Thanks for all the advice, guys! Sounds like it really just depends. All I know, is I want a job in the field of working with animals. Right now I need a job to pay for school and bills, and I would like it to be with animals as well. I LOVED my dog bather job and I am so sad it didn't work out... But when your manager calls you names behind your back (when you can hear her...), calls you retarded to your face, and gives you 9 hours a week... Yeah, that doesn't cut it. I'm a pretty hard worker.

Pm me where your at. I'm a RVT here in Louisiana, and maybe I could help.
Sent! :)
 

Saeleofu

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#13
I'm not really a tech because I'm not certified or registered, but I am a veterinary assistant. I was hired when I was 18, and prior to that I worked at the zoo for about 3 months (summer internship sort of thing) and at the library for 3 months straight out of high school. So, pretty easy for me.

We have the HARDEST time finding people lately. We rarely fire anybody, but we fired I think 3 people in the last year, and each on of them less than a month after they started.

That said, we do have pretty shitty pay. I started at $6.50 six years ago and I'm now making $9.15. I think our starting pay is $8.00 now (minimum wage was raised to $7.75 I think). I JUST started at the zoo and get either $8.00 or $8.50, I can't remember.
 
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#14
I liked staring as an assistant and learning all the various jobs in the clinic. It was entry level pay (6.25 I think?) with no benefits or vacation pay. The more you learn (assistant/tech/receptionist) the more valuable you are and the more you will be paid.

Edited to add that it's REALLY hard work with no week ends or holidays off for the most part but I've been doing it on and off for the past 20 years so I do feel that it's very rewarding.
 

SpringerLover

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#15
I got my job because I volunteered a day or two a week and they saw I was competent at animal handling and knew stuff! They told me to apply for the position. I made $10/hour when I left.
 

Fran101

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#16
To find? Easy. I live in a big city with plenty of vet clinics.

but from what I've seen it's impossible to KEEP vet tech work. With rare exception (for those who have been working for a while or have a great place)..The hours are long, the pay is low, the work is tough (challenging, gross etc..) and vets have very erm, testy temperaments sometimes.

I looked into it a while ago and applied a few places, got the jobs, and decided to not take them and STILL get a call every 2 months or so like "We had to let our last vet tech go, looking for help etc.."

As a former animal science student, I did plenty of hours at a vet hospital and was treated more like a vet-in-training, so the job was actually quite interesting.
but seeing how many of the vets treat techs was a bit alarming. It's like a weird doctor/overworked nurse mentality. The techs did ALL the hard work, all the tests, all the cleaning, secretary duties etc..etc..

personally, it wouldn't be a job I would jump through hoops for. Not for the $7-8 an hour that was average salary. Much easier jobs out there for middle wage lol

I wanted to work with animals and looked into other jobs around dogs and found a job as a dog walker/retail at a doggy store and make twice as much..for work that I enjoy a heck of a lot more.
 
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#17
It depends a lot on the area. Some areas are starving for assistants/techs, and others are lousy with them. As has been mentioned, volunteering or shadowing for awhile is a good way to segue into a job at a clinic.

Keep in mind that a lot of vet clinics are owned by veterinarians without any business or management training or experience whatsoever, and so a lot of them are sort of... little poorly managed dysfunctional families. Not to scare you off, but just be aware and look for red flags. Keep in mind that a lot of clinics employ vet students and pre-vet students as assistants, so they have sort of a built-in turnover, but you are still looking for somewhere that there is a core staff with low turnover.
 

crazedACD

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#18
To find? Easy. I live in a big city with plenty of vet clinics.

but from what I've seen it's impossible to KEEP vet tech work. With rare exception (for those who have been working for a while or have a great place)..The hours are long, the pay is low, the work is tough (challenging, gross etc..) and vets have very erm, testy temperaments sometimes.

I looked into it a while ago and applied a few places, got the jobs, and decided to not take them and STILL get a call every 2 months or so like "We had to let our last vet tech go, looking for help etc.."

As a former animal science student, I did plenty of hours at a vet hospital and was treated more like a vet-in-training, so the job was actually quite interesting.
but seeing how many of the vets treat techs was a bit alarming. It's like a weird doctor/overworked nurse mentality. The techs did ALL the hard work, all the tests, all the cleaning, secretary duties etc..etc..

personally, it wouldn't be a job I would jump through hoops for. Not for the $7-8 an hour that was average salary. Much easier jobs out there for middle wage lol

I wanted to work with animals and looked into other jobs around dogs and found a job as a dog walker/retail at a doggy store and make twice as much..for work that I enjoy a heck of a lot more.
Honestly...when I was at my vet assistant job...after a while it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning. Towards the end I was ALWAYS 1/2 hour late, I was like the worst employee ever, I usually sat at the desk or bummed around the kennels doing like, nothing, unless there was a client. When I quit they asked if I would stay on part time. I was like :eek:. But I mean..the vet was huffing iso during surgeries..what a horrible place that was.
 

Barbara!

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Okay so... Anybody want to help me make my resume? Anybody have any good cover letter examples? I have never done this before and honestly... I am not good at stuff like this. So any tips are awesome. I am making it on a program called Word Perfect and it doesn't have templates or anything. I suck at computer stuff so this is what I have to deal wigh
 

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