(Battle Ground, Ind., October 13, 2000) — The results of the North American Veterinary Technician Association’s (NAVTA) third national survey of veterinary technicians are in, and indicate a positive increase both in the number of veterinary technicians with professional credentials, as well as in their level of compensation and benefits.

Despite an average reported increase in salary for the profession of $5,000, however, survey respondents listed low pay as their biggest concern for the veterinary technology profession, and the top reason for job dissatisfaction.

The survey, conducted by the Statistical Research Group of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Division of Membership and Field Services through a grant from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, included responses from both NAVTA members and non-NAVTA member veterinary technicians. The last NAVTA survey was performed in 1995.

Notable statistics the latest survey revealed include:

  • Survey respondents who are members of NAVTA enjoy a significantly higher annual average pay of $2,000, across all fields

  • Ninety-five percent of survey respondents are female.

  • Average age of survey respondents is 34.5 years.

  • The respondents have been employed in their current position for an average of nine years.

  • Fifty-two percent of survey respondents work in companion animal practices, with an average salary range of $23-25,000.

  • The overall size of veterinary practices that veterinary technicians work in is growing, with 4 veterinarians, 3.4 graduate/credentialed technicians, and 4.5 assistants employed. Those numbers are up from 1995, when there were 3 veterinarians, 3 veterinary technicians and 3 assistants in the average practice.

  • Survey respondents indicated they spent the largest amount of time each day on animal nursing, at 17 percent, yet also indicated that supervising staff and client communication takes up more of their time today than three years ago.

  • Ninety-eight percent of survey respondents who are NAVTA members have credentials, and 74 percent of survey respondents who are not NAVTA members have credentials.

  • Most (75 percent) of respondents lived in moderately sized communities with population ranges from 2,500-500,000.

"On average, I believe the survey results show a positive reflection of our profession," said Patrick Navarre, executive director of NAVTA. "The results show the average veterinary technician working in a companion animal practice today is a mature, educated and experienced professional who spends the majority of time at work performing tasks directly related to the care of animals, yet who also actively adds support and value to veterinarians by interacting with clients and managing staff."

"These results show the quality of individual that is working as a veterinary technician in practice today is very high indeed," Navarre added. "I believe the trend toward higher salaries only reflects this increased value. Although, I would agree there is still room for improvement in regard to improving compensation for the profession."

Other revealing survey results include:

  • Veterinary technicians who make careers in the diagnostic/research industries enjoy the highest level of annual pay; yet represent one of the lowest groups of employment in the survey, at 3.3 percent.

  • Ninety-two percent of respondents indicate they use a computer at work, with record keeping, at 83 percent, being the number one activity.

  • Across regions, salaries were highest in the Northeast and West, and lowest in the Midwest and South, however, the differences were less than 5%.

  • On average, technicians are enjoying better benefits across the board than five years ago, with 78 percent receiving health insurance from their employer, up from 67 percent in 1995.

The North American Veterinary Technician Association was organized to represent and promote the profession of veterinary technology. NAVTA, founded in 1981, provides direction, education, support and coordination for its members and works with other allied professional organizations for the competent care and humane treatment of animals. The association’s headquarters are in Battle Ground, Ind.



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