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Vet techs are an essential part of the veterinary team. They help with everything from routine care to surgical procedures, and they’re often the first point of contact for animals that need medical attention.

But there’s a problem: job satisfaction among veterinary technicians is low, and turnover rates are alarmingly high. In fact, studies show that vet techs have an estimated 30-35% turnover rate, compared to a national average turnover rate of just 12-15%. What’s more, the 30-35% of vet techs that decide to leave their roles do so after just 5-10 years.

There are several factors behind these statistics, including low pay, occupational burnout, and the ongoing veterinary capacity crisis that has worsened during the pandemic. There’s also a strong correlation between low job satisfaction and vet techs being underutilized in the hospital setting.

Now for the good news. There are a number of ways for vet techs to advance their careers within the field and improve their overall job satisfaction. But if you’re a veterinary technician, it’s important to understand what options are available. Keep reading for 6 ways to advance your vet tech career.

1) Find Leadership Roles Within the Veterinary Hospital 

Finding leadership roles within the veterinary hospital is one way to take your career as a vet tech to the next level. In order to find opportunities within the veterinary hospital, ask supervisors about any current openings that necessitate leadership skills. It’s also important to actively look for ways to demonstrate these skills, whether through mentoring new vet techs or taking an active role in staff meetings.

Experienced vet techs with proven leadership skills are well-positioned to become assistant managers or senior veterinary technicians at their hospital. Earning the Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management (CVPM) is also a good way for vet techs to steer their career in a new direction and avoid stagnation and burnout.

2) Get the Veterinary Technician Specialist Certification

Becoming a Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) is a great way to advance your career by specializing in an area that aligns with your interests. Veterinary technicians with a VTS certification typically command a higher salary and enjoy greater job security than those without.

To obtain the VTS certification, you’ll need to gain experience in your chosen specialty, apply for certification from a recognized academy, and pass an additional board licensing test. For more information on becoming a VTS, please refer to this detailed guide.

3) Work as a Relief Vet Tech or Consultant 

Working as a relief veterinary technician is an excellent way to gain experience by working in multiple clinics. In addition, working relief can help you avoid burnout by giving you the ability to choose when and where you work.

If you’re looking for more flexibility or an escape from the daily grind of your regular job, consulting is also an attractive option. As a consultant, you can utilize your specialized knowledge and experience to help veterinary hospitals. For example, you could consult with CVTs about the best way to set up their hospital equipment.

4) Become a Consultant for Pet Poison Hotlines 

Pet poison hotline consulting is another great way to utilize your skills as a vet tech and contribute to animal welfare. Consulting for pet poison hotlines entails receiving phone calls from the general public about pets that have been exposed to toxic substances, then giving them information on what action they should take next.

Benefits of working as a consultant for pet poison hotlines include flexible hours and the ability to work from home. There is also a need for credentialed veterinary technicians to fill these roles.

5) Work for Technology Companies That Aim to Improve the Pet Industry

Working for technology companies that aim to improve the pet industry is another way to utilize and enhance your current skills. Jobs within this sector are varied and include roles in product development, marketing, and customer success.

As the pet industry continues to grow rapidly, there’s an increasing demand for tech-savvy veterinary technicians that can innovate within this space. Vet techs who pursue this career path can enjoy attractive benefits like full medical coverage, flexible time off, and competitive pay.

6) Become a Sales Representative for a Drug Company in the Vet Space

Working as a sales representative for a drug company in the veterinary space is another way to capitalize on your skills and knowledge of animal health. These types of roles involve contacting animal hospitals and other businesses in the veterinary industry to sell products such as veterinary drugs, medical equipment, and supplies.

To become a successful veterinary sales representative, you’ll need to possess strong sales and communication skills. Applicants with animal science-based degrees are also in high demand. For the right candidate, this can be a rewarding career path with excellent benefits and the potential to earn a high salary. 

Final Words

There are many ways to advance your career as a vet tech. The most important thing is being proactive and willing to take risks, whether that means taking on leadership roles in the hospital or branching out into new areas of veterinary medicine. Interested in exploring opportunities at PetDesk? Head to our Careers page to check out our current job openings and learn about the benefits of joining our team.