LeA ChadwellWake Forest, North Carolina, United States
I get to play with puppies all day! I have a high energy, fun job that actually makes a positive impact on living creatures, both human and animal.
I work for a small scale veterinary hospital with a staff of three doctors, five technicians and two assistants. I have been a veterinary technician since 1997. I still love what I do and have a realistic view of the benefits and drawbacks of working at an animal hospital long term.
Although this is a really fun job, it is hard as hell and serious business. You can't come into this line of work because you don't like people. Animals don't bring themselves to the doctor! Additionally, you really, really have to love animals. I'll always remember something a trainee said to me: “There's a big difference between liking animals and working with animals”. He quit, by the way.
Here’s just a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• Reality of working with animals...not all are sweet, fluffy kitties
• Pay and advancement strategies
• Ways to get hired
• Pros and cons of being a vet tech
• School vs. on-the-job training
• And anything else you want to ask about the profession I love!
I was a graphic artist before I started working at the animal hospital. I worked in front of a computer, under florescent lights in a cube, i.e., hell. I prefer to be hands on and moving. When I changed careers, I took a fifty percent pay cut and gained long, hard hours. But, I was, and am, happier in this career.
Being a vet tech allows me to use my body and my mind. I love working with the people and the animals. I feel like I can change lives with my work. I couldn't do that when I was designing college tee shirts. I may not be making huge impacts on society in general, but I am making people happier in little bits by helping their beloved pets.
As I've gained knowledge and experience, I have risen through the ranks of the hospital. I have had to work hard and often wiggle to make room for myself where it didn't exist. I have become the kind of leader I wish I had had when I started this job. I try to teach people from my mistakes and lead by example. I didn't know anything about vet medicine when I started. Now I teach others.
Transiting into this career can be quick if you find the right match at a hospital and your skills meet their needs. Or you might have to try to squeak your way in by doing part-time work in the kennel. You will not get rich. Really. Starting pay may be minimum wage if you have no experience. Most pay scales top out at $13-$15 an hour. Some practices offer benefits. Some don't.
All that being said, I love what I do and look forward to sharing my tips for becoming a vet tech with you!