7 things to look for in a great veterinary technician position


It's not all about salary, if you want a job that makes you happy and balances work life and family life.

If you're looking for a new job, don't only focus on pay. After all, it's no secret that many veterinary technicians are underpaid compared to their counterparts in the human medicine and dental professions. Consider these eight items, courtesy of Janice Reilly, LVT, clinical coordinator at Valley Cottage Animal Hospital in Valley Cottage, N.Y., and instructor at Bergen Community College's veterinary technology program in Paramus, N.J. Finding a job that offers them might just bolster your feelings of respect.

Benefits. We're not talking medical and dental insurance. What about bringing your own dog to work and finding a safe, designated area to keep it in? Free items from vendors and discounts on pet care can add up, too.

Community help. Some practices do pro bono work, offering spays to feral pets or services to local shelters. Is the facility thinking globally and acting locally?

On-site CE. Are technicians encouraged to attend the same meetings as doctors, creating a team approach to learning? Do vendors set up lunches and dinners at or near the hospital to discuss hot topics and cutting-edge research?

Paid CE. Some practices pay for flights, proceedings, and lodgings in order to attend educational seminars and conventions. (TheCVC.com is a great place to start, with shows in Baltimore, Kansas City, and San Diego.) Look at whether the allowance will cover a hotel close to the convention or a motel miles away that will force you to commute to CE.

Appreciation. Holiday parties, birthday cards, and public recognition for National Veterinary Technicians Week (Oct. 10 to 16, 2010) add up to feeling appreciated and respected.

Organized success. Is there a written job description? Do reviews and yearly raises reflect technicians' growth and improvement based on objective standards?

Holiday pay. Vacation and time off is important, but also crucial is the hospital's ability to properly staff on days when some team members want to take the day off.

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