From vet tech to lpn - page 2

by Tiffanytlc 4,818 Views | 21 Comments

I have been debating switching my career from vet tech to lpn. I have worked with animals for 2.5 yrs. I have my license in massage therapy, which I really have not pursued, maybe its just not my calling. But I have been... Read More


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    Hi all,
    I have been a vet tech for 21 years - - I LOVE what I do and I know that I have made a difference. I have felt that my calling was in this area. However, I must say that after 21 years I am STILL not making $15 an hour (that's about right for some of the PA areas - - mostly the reason I think is because there are no laws stating that you must be certified so the pay is pulled down for everyone as many vets still like to hire and train.) As much as I love this job, I am forty-ish and, although married, have basically no retirement of my own. I work 5 days a week but am part time because I work mostly evening shifts of 6 hours per shift. I want to put my kids through college and find that should I ever have to survive on my own, I could not on my salary. For those of you contemplating LPN vs vet tech school some words of wisdom I have gained over the years: The common story that I have found at my clinic is that even the techs that are full time, have no children and nobody to support but themselves cannot make it on their own. One young girl can't afford to move out of her parent's home and is even working an extra job on top of full time teching - - something is wrong with that!!!! But...that may be the area in which I live - - if you can move to a more urban area or specialty hospital, that may be much more lucrative. I am finding that after all of these years, I am seriously looking at transitioning into human medicine. It took me several years to work through my prereqs - - I even took my first RN clinical and passed but had to unfortunately put education on hold because I have 2 small children and I have to continue to work a lot to put myself through (was exhausted). I am looking at perhaps doing the LPN course because they will let me transfer my clinical over and finish over the Summer (much more feasible with kids) and then someday perhaps I can finish RN. I love geriatric people too so LPN would give me a wonderful opportunity to work with elderly clients. I am like most of you vet techs though wondering how much I will miss the animal world - - as you know, in vet teching you: pull blood, then run your own bloodwork and do cytologic analyses, install caths, take rads, intubate everything from kitten size to great dane size (often just with a light, a tube and a hemostat!! LOL - no fancy instruments for us!! - - must be harder with people - don't know), you then anesthetize, monitor anesthesia, surgical assist, medicate, etc. etc. - - it's so very sad that the job is not very lucrative - - it's never dull that's for sure!!. I tell myself that perhaps I can become a nurse and then volunteer to help animals since that was my first calling. I have to tell you that if you are a vet tech, the nursing clinicals are much easier because you already are familiar with drugs and all the other stuff (just always keeping everything separate in your mind can be a little tricky :0) I guess I posted here because after all these years I am worried (down right scared) too about making the move away from teching (my comfort zone) into nursing but it sounds like we are all a little concerned about financial security too.
    PS do any of you vet techs thinking of becoming nurses also worry about the radiation that you may absorb by taking so many rads in vet-teching (I do and that's another reason I am thinking of leaving - - even though we have lead aprons, gloves, thyroid prot, we still have to stay and hold the animals at the beam - didn't used to bother me - now that I'm older - it does - ugh). What are your thoughts ???
    sorry for rambling
    Tiffanytlc likes this.
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    yes i do worry, i had to get my breast checked for a lump recentlyand it made me tighten up my lead apron so they would not be exposed at all. this makes me feel bad for my last vet tech job, the aprons were so old and worn out that they were probably not doing their job of protecting!
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    vet teching is such great work however hardly rewarded and no retirement!
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    Tiffany-
    I wonder if we work at the same animal hospital! haha I started working at a small vet clinic 4 years ago, with the hopes of becoming a CVT. Well that did not happen. CVT are unapprecaited, dont get paid very well and are always getting bit! Some of the vechs I know make $12 an hour! That is crazy! As you can probably tell I am not going to become a CVT but have heard the gods whispering nursing into my ear. One of the girls I work with was bit by a cat, the finger became infected and she spent a week in the hosp. it has been 2 months now and her finger is still infected! NO THANK YOU! Our benefits suck, we get no vacation, overtime, or sick pay. My good CVT friends try to talk everyone out of the field! And some of them are even looking into nursing school. Hope my input has helped! Good Luck!!!
    Tiffanytlc likes this.
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    thank you! even though our situation sucks i am glad i am not alone! :0) yea nursing keeps calling my name, its gonna be a challenge but were smart and we should go for it! ive gotten bit twice and sometimes its so hard to prevent this from occuring, both times it got infected and now i have lovely scars. No FUN! I wonder what my co-workers are gonna say when i tell them im starting nursing school?
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    i will gladly clean up patients messes as an lpn for more pay than i am earning right now as a vet tech!
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    when i went to massage therapy school back in 03 i didnt have any experience in massage, i didnt work in a place where i could learn about this field, in fact i had only had a couple of massages in my life, i just went because i didnt know what else to do. So right now i am working with cats & dogs, im thinking in the mean time before lpn school starts i should get my cna and start working in the people field...this will make me feel a lot more comfortable when i do get to school and after working as a cna i will know for sure if i want to switch to nursing or continue in my field and get a degree in vet teching! yay! i figured it out now i just gotta do it.
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    as you know, in vet teching you: pull blood, then run your own bloodwork and do cytologic analyses, install caths, take rads, intubate everything from kitten size to great dane size (often just with a light, a tube and a hemostat!! LOL - no fancy instruments for us!! - - must be harder with people - don't know), you then anesthetize, monitor anesthesia, surgical assist, medicate, etc. etc. - - it's so very sad that the job is not very lucrative - - it's never dull that's for sure!!.
    I know this is an older thread, but I just had to say that this was my favorite part of being a vet tech. Depending on the hospital/clinic you worked in, you get to do so many different things in a day and it's all very interesting. Loved the variety that's for sure! Pay on the other hand is down right bad in utah for a large number of techs. Certification is not required in Utah, so many small clinics will hire new people and train them so they can pay them $8 -$9 an hour. Basically vet assistants really. I was fortunate to work at a somewhat large hospital that doubled as an ER at night and felt pretty fortuante to be making $13 per hr there. Not a career that is self supporting, except for certain larger hospitals that have higher payscales, but I have never heard of anyone making more than $20/hr. It never bothered me whether the animals showed any appreciation or not (or the owners for that matter) but after having a cat go to town on my hand/arm and a chow-mix give me a "warning" nip to the face (upper canine to the corner of my eye, lower canine under my jaw) I had to wonder how much of a toll my body was going to take if I stayed, lol!
  9. 0
    hi tfleuter are you no longer a vet tech?
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    No, I stopped working as soon as I started pre-reqs for nursing school. I wanted to focus on school and family (have 2 young boys). I feel very fortunate that my husband can support us on his salary for now, but I do miss working sometimes.


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