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What's the deal with your salary and benefits?


Pick the right region, check your salary. Too bad it's not that easy. While the regional wage data by title may reveal trends in your pay, it won't tell you what you should be making. Why not?

Pick the right region, check your salary. Too bad it's not that easy. While the regional wage data by title may reveal trends in your pay, it won't tell you what you should be making. Why not?

It all goes back to your job description, says Sheila Grosdidier, BS, RVT, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a consultant with VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. "Since there's no standardized job description for job titles, an exam room technician in one practice might perform different tasks than another technician in the practice down the street who supervises a whole department," she says. "So we equate how much someone should make based on her role, skills, tasks, and responsibilities."

Sheila Grosdidier "Your job doesn’t have to be a hobby•something you can only do if your spouse can afford to support you. You can negotiate a fair wage. You can sit down with your boss and and say, ‘This is what it costs to live in this area, and this is what I’ll do to generate revenue. What is it worth to you?’"

That doesn't mean you can't glean some valuable information from Figure 2. Once you identify the average salary for your position and your area, you can use that to determine where you fit in, says Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, DVM, CVPM, a Firstline board member and a consultant with Gatto McFerson CPAs in Santa Monica, Calif.

Figure 1

Figure 2

"If you're better-than-average or you live in a major metropolitan area, you may make more," Dr. Felsted says. "If you live in a rural area, you may make less."

Figure 1 shows some of the benefits Firstline readers said they currently receive. Top picks include reduced-fee veterinary care, paid vacation, and health insurance.

Want to make more?

Of course you do. First, the good news. Grosdidier says she sees a rising trend in technicians' salaries. The bad news: It's because there's a shortage of credentialed technicians on the horizon. What does that mean for you? You're empowered to pick the practice that offers the salary, benefits, and work environment you're looking for.

Shawn McVey "If you're having a hard time finding employees, it's because people don't want to work for you or you're not paying enough•or both."

"I can't think of a practice right now that would turn down a well-qualified technician who walked in the door," Grosdidier says. "And a lot of clinics pay fairly, train their technicians, and offer opportunities to advance. So you don't need to settle for less." (See "Is Your Work a Job or a Career?")

Salaries for the rest of the team are also on the rise, particularly in the last year. Grosdidier says these increases have been more dramatic in metropolitan areas so far.

"With predictions of a shortage of 2 million workers to fill open positions by the end of the year, team members may see more options to earn more," Grosdidier says.

Dr. Felsted agrees. "If you're good at what you do, you're always in control of what you make, because you" she says. "Whether you're a great veterinary technician or a great manager or a great veterinarian, there are practices out there that need you and will pay for you."

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