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Can someone talk to me about going into Veterinary Medicine?

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  • #21
    From Oregon State University:
    Resident/WICHE Tuition and Fees: $21,386*
    Non-Resident Tuition and Fees: $40,690*
    Room and Board: $10,074*

    Just an idea for those who are reading the thread.
    Here is the link to the page: http://vetmed.oregonstate.edu/studen...ancial-matters

    There are a lot of scholarships listed but it is not delineated as to how much each one provides although they say the range is between $250-5000 which is not a lot.

    I think the ability to pay state/resident to tuition is a big deal although you still will come out with debt.

    Another comment, in any field where the job market is tough it is all about connections, connections, connections. You must meet people who think that they would like to hire you the nanosecond you graduate.

    I worked for a veterinarian for a while and helped her open her own practice/clinic. She did this as she felt this was the only way to make "real money" after years and years of working for other people. She is fabulous but I don't know that I've ever seen anybody work so hard in my entire life.

    I recently went back to school for a second degree to be a RN and let me state that many of my fellow students cannot find work and have huge debt. It is a mess. I am substantially older and knew many people at local hospitals. I was therefore able to get my resume out and get a job quickly.

    I hope all young people reading this thread think long and hard about private colleges and universities and whether or not the degree (undergraduate or graduate) could possibly be "worth it".


    • #22
      About shadowing a vet to see if it's the career for you. This is not merely a suggestion, but a requirement. All vet schools require applicants to have a number of hours shadowing/working for vets. It's to make sure you know the realities of the job. You won't get in without it.

      It doesn't sound like the OP is really into this, which is fine. S/he can also visit www.studentdoctor.net for all kinds of medical field forums, including Pre-Veterinary.

      The debt is staggering. I have a family member who's an equine vet - graduated in 2011 and pays approx. $1,000 a month in loan repayment for 20 years. Makes less than a high-end Executive Assistant. There is other income for her, though. Gets extra for all the emergency calls and also gets paid for being the vet at horse shows, events, etc. Is the happiest person in the whole wide world and says she can't imagine doing anything else and adores her life more than anyone else I know.

      To the current veterinary students on here, I wish you the same, that you will be as happy.

      LOL, I know that after seeing what these people go through /sacrifice/put up with to still choose this career, I'm much nicer to my own vets & techs.


      • #23
        Originally posted by cowboymom View Post
        NOted that those are Canadian rates-I was never paid more than $8.75 an hour as a tech...about 5 years ago. not certified but neither were my bosses looking for certified. It was more of a cherry picking job-if the vet liked you, you would stay on.

        No, those are US rates too. But...in bigger cities where that balances with cost of living. Smaller cities will usually start in the $11-14 range wich I think is disipicable. Unlicenced techs will often make minimum wage as people can get away with paying them less.

        Boarded techs will always make more, and will work at places like AMC, MSU, Cornell and major referral centers.


        • #24
          Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
          If you dont want to be a vet, but want to get into a career with animals dont overlook being a technian. Here, a specialized board certifed technician makes about the same as a general practitoner vet. Its not easy to get boarded, but its certainly achievable on a minimal and working budget. For example, the boarded anesthesia technician makes $30-40 per hour ($65,000-80,000 per year) depending on years experence. General regstered technicans only make around $15-20 dependng on location.

          Often you can get through a two year tech program on correspondence or college on a minmal budget. Board certfcation is very cheap. You wont have many debts coming out, compared to vet school.
          I am boarded and work in a high end clinic, so make above the average. However, here in the states, I don't any specialized anesthesia techs who make anywhere near that. LOL. I looked into the additional certification, lots of paper writing, case reports, and not enough of a raise. Lol.

          Tech school is about 2 years, and not the cheapest thing in the world. To take the board exam, at least here in Ohio, it is $300. Then $100 for fingerprints, background check, and another $35 to the licensing board. You have to renew every other year and are required to do 10 hours of CE's in that time. CE's are easy here because we have a large vet conference here every year and my work offers them, free to employees.


          • #25
            I would definitely not go to school for Vet Tech. It can be quite expensive and the pay is generally dismal. I'm sure if you were lucky enough to get hired at Cornell or Penn or someplace like that, that you could make a decent living and have benefits, but most clinics in my area pay up from $12-$15 an hour for licensed techs and benefits are not common.


            • #26
              Yeah, vet tech is not the place to go for "money." But OP, I'm guessing you're in high school, what really interests you? You're best bet is to start volunteering with different professions so you can figure it out. There's nothing worse than spending big $$$$ on an education and then finding out you hate it.


              • #27
                You guys need to move to Ontario. Boarded techs here START at $30 an hour I wouldnt be able to afford 3 horses and a house if I was a tech anywhere else. Wow, Im considering myself VERY lucky. Oh, and yes we also get full benefits and 4 weeks vacation.


                • #28
                  Squish you always seem to operate in different price brackets than my own experience!

                  I've never known a tech to make more than $15/hour and no benefits, ever.

                  ETA that sounded confrontational and I don't mean it to be.

                  I think a lot of it is living in Montana-high end vet care is a relatively new concept here at all, let alone having high end techs. Most of the techs I knew and worked with weren't certified when they were hired, some became certified after they were hired, and most of them had been hired b/c they were good at handling animals and the vet then trained them to do the rest.
                  Last edited by cowboymom; Apr. 13, 2013, 05:10 PM.
                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                  • #29
                    If you are thinking about it because you have mild interest it's not the way to go. Same with human medicine. I'm a third year student about to start my senior year and there have been times when I've considered school to be a soul sucking life destroying experience... but then I go into the clinic and see cases and people who are so thankful and grateful that we've been able to help that it reminds me why I'm doing this and putting myself through it all. Also, if you think you can do it and not deal with people you really need to re-evaluate. You will deal with the weirdest, craziest, and amazing ppl you will ever meet.


                    • #30
                      Squish, every time I read a thread about vet school/techs, it is mainly in the US, and people complain about the tuition and the pay. My daughter has a few friends who went to undergrad with her in Guelph and went on to OVC. They have graduated in the last few years and all had jobs lined up and good pay. I don't seem to hear the complaint about underpay, etc. from our young vets. Our own vet graduated 3 years ago and when we had the discussion, she admitted to making really good money as an equine vet (and a very good one at that). She is part owner of a racing standardbred and travels a lot!! and repays her loans. She is not complaining!
                      As far as techs, I have never dealt with any other than the regular small vet clinic techs. The equine vets usually do not travel with one and there are only so many equine clinics who do employ them. Again, my daughter rides with one of them and she is not complaining either.
                      I am sure everyone would love to make more money for sure.

                      My daughter did look into going back to school for tech after getting her BSc, but decided against it. She would have had to go to Sheridan (distance) and felt the program was not as good as Seneca. Plus, there was no credit given for her degree (except English). That plus the length of time w/o earnings and the low starting pay nixed that idea. Where did you go?


                      • #31
                        I started at $18/hr as a licensed board certified tech about 20 years ago, in the U.S., as an equine tech. Including benefits- health insurance, vacation, overtime, etc. Tuition was about $2,400/year for 2 years, so the ROI was great and I was able to save quite a bit over several years without worrying about student loans. I bet tuition is much higher now, though.

                        Caveat: I went to tech school all those years ago because I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, except it had to involve horses. I did not intend to make a lifelong career as a CVT, but the experience and industry contacts I made are invaluable to this day!


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                          You guys need to move to Ontario. Boarded techs here START at $30 an hour I wouldnt be able to afford 3 horses and a house if I was a tech anywhere else. Wow, Im considering myself VERY lucky. Oh, and yes we also get full benefits and 4 weeks vacation.
                          The highest paid tech where I work barely makes $20 and has been there 12 years--only allowed one week vacation! Canada is the place to be for vet tech! Good for you though.
                          I LOVE my Chickens!


                          • #33
                            I went to Seneca. It was great as it was in driving distance and because I already had a HBSc. I didnt have to take many of the extra courses. Ended up going 3 days a week on average,and able to work 4 days a week. It was not terribly expensive.

                            Dont get me wrong, not all techs in canada are paid well. THe lowest paid technicians are generally the ones who work at a general practice. Most of the postings I see for new grads are starting at $16-18/hr + benefits. Then, you can get into emergency which often gives overnight bonuses. Overtime really helps too. Referral usually pays better than both general practice and emergency, and once you are boarded in something specific (say neurology for example), depending on the clinic and their need for a boarded tech the pay justgoes up frm there. Also, not to mention unionized places like universities and research programs. There is hope for technicians...just not in many general practice clinics. Its really too bad, because its a job that certainly SHOULD be paid well regardless of what type of clinic you work at.

                            And I agree about vets being paid well. At least for the most part, a specialist will easily be making 6 figures and emerg vets make close to that as well. General practitioners often make less, but still a lovely 5 figure salary.

                            It appears to be very much based on location - as are prices on veterinary
                            care. For example, in a city where the average income is $200,000 its going to be higher pay and more expensive care than a city where the average income is $60,000


                            • #34
                              The pay really varies by location.

                              ETA: I normally wouldn't discuss my own pay, but this is not my career it's just something to help out so figure no harm, might as well give the info.

                              As a veterinary assistant (not a licensed technician) in a pretty pricey GP clinic (A routine dental costs close to $500 and includes iso anes, propofol ind, monitoring, IV fluids, dental rads, etc) I make 14/hr with 10 years of experience. I was told the starting wage was 11-13/hr for an assistant. No benefits and no discount on services at the clinic.

                              At a comparable clinic back home in a smaller town in MI, an assistant was started at 8/hr where a dental with all the same cost 180 for my 95lb dog.

                              In neither case would I consider the pay a "living" wage. Certainly not where we live now. Most of the people I work with at the clinic cannot afford to live close to the practice. They almost all live 45 min to an hour away if that's the only household income.
                              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                If it's any consolation, lots of lawyers could have written this paragraph, just about word-for-word.

                                OP, we are at that point in our economy where a graduate/professional degree is not an obvious ticket to the upper-middle class. The debt incurred makes that true because it is so much that people spend a decade or more doing what they don't want to do and living low on the hog to repay that debt. Be sure, then, to think of graduate school in terms of cost/benefit. If the goal is to have a good life, choosing 10 years of debt after professional school might not be it.
                                This is why I'm encouraging my son to become a plumber. He'd be good at it, he'd make amazing money and he'd always be in demand. All without enormous debt load.

                                Originally Posted by JSwan
                                I love feral children. They taste like chicken.


                                • #36
                                  I'm encouraging my kids to bypass the debt load too. I'm pushing the electrician option!
                                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                  • #37
                                    I am lucky here that we have OSU and my employer, as well as some other nice places, that bumps up the pay. We have benefits, PTO, clothing allowence, and of course, nice discounts on our own pets as well as a vet who is employed strictly to take care of employee pets.

                                    I can imagine things are different in more rural areas without large vet clinics in regards to pay and benefits.


                                    • #38
                                      If you are into coding (software development) I've been hearing about coding bootcamps that run 9 to 12 weeks. You put in 80 to 90 hours a week, learn to code, work in teams (necessary for coding). It costs about $15,000. The article I read said that 95% of students who completed the course were employed upon completion at salaries starting at $85K. $15K in debt for an $85K job? Sounds like a plan if you have the talent and personality.


                                      • #39
                                        If you love animals, I would say that being a veterinarian is probably not going to satisfy you- consider that most animals hate the veterinarian, and the veterinarian is always doing painful and uncomfortable things to the animals. Also consider that you're going to spend most of your time having to deal with people, not animals. You have to deal with the owners- most of whom will probably infuriate you with their irresponsible, ignorant, or downright cruel methods of animal caretaking.
                                        I was considering vet school, even despite the poor financial situation, until I spent some time "shadowing" vets. Nope. Don't like having every dog who sees me cringe and try to run away, and don't like trying to talk the owners into doing right by their critters.
                                        If you like exotic reptiles, perhaps there are other career opportunities- in zoos, or wildlife rescue, or what have you (no idea on this topic)?

                                        I have an advanced graduate degree and if I had to do it over, I'd skip advanced schooling. It's not cost-effective these days. If you can get into a plush money-making career like plumbing, you can go enjoy your personal interests on your own time.


                                        • #40
                                          If *all* a DVMs patients 'cringe and try to run away', they're doing *something* wrong...
                                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.