Veterinary Technicians Face Burnout, Wage, and Debt Concerns

In this week’s VetCrunch news roundup, we discuss concerns veterinary technicians face, announce the RCVS council and VN council elections, and remember the 2003 Canberra bushfires. 

Although the average veterinary technician is earning a 25% higher salary than those recorded in 2016, veterinary technicians are still facing concerns of debt, low wages, and burnout. The findings come from a recent 2022 survey by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) which looked at 1,886 qualified technicians. In the survey, it was found that the average salary for veterinary technicians in 2022 was $52,000, compared to $41,600 in 2016. 

The survey also contains data on veterinary technician hours, educational debt, employee benefits, job satisfaction and wellness, credentials and preferred titles, and more.

Kelly Foltz, the chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, said the survey is “One of the only consistently repeated analyses that we have of the vet technology profession. It gives us a snapshot in time as to the health of the profession and what we need to be concerned about—and how systems are functioning.”

From the report, it was found that 70% of respondents said they have experienced burnout, and 65% reported compassion fatigue as a common well-being issue. “We can do a lot better job of preparing people and giving them tools for the kind of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma they will experience in vet medicine,” said Foltz.

Foltz, also spoke out on the current wages of technicians, stating that although there has been an increase in salaries, they are still not adequate for the knowledge and expertise that credentialed veterinary technicians provide.

“So, while it’s a step in the right direction, it’s still very sobering. I would love the vast majority to be in the $30- to $35-an-hour range and beyond.” Foltz said. 

Using the results, the AVMA and the NAVTA have been working together to support and recognize the knowledge and skills of veterinary technicians.

Why Should You Care?

It’s not just vets that are struggling, in fact, vet technicians (and vet nurses) have the added burden that comes with more difficulty in making ends meet.

It’s great to see the wage increase demonstrated in this report,  but there is clearly work to do to ensure that we can continue to attract and retain through both wage improvement and job satisfaction. 

Click here to read the full article.

Elections for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Council (the governing body for the RCVS which is responsible for deciding on major issues relating to the regulation of the veterinary profession) and the RCVS VN council (which has the overall responsibility for all matters concerning veterinary nurses) are set to take place this Spring. 

There are currently 10 candidates standing for the three available elected places on RCVS Council. The candidates are:

  • Professor David Barrett FRCVS
  • Linda Belton MRCVS
  • Dr Martin Chamberlain MRCVS
  • Daniel Doherty MRCVS
  • James Gartside MRCVS
  • Steven Howard MRCVS
  • Tim Hutchinson MRCVS
  • Dr Alice McLeish MRCVS
  • Professor Chris Proudman FRCVS
  • Dr Peter Robinson MRCVS

The voting period for the RCVS Council opens on Monday 13 March and closes at 5pm on Friday 21 April 2023.

The VN Council election will be taking place over the same timeframe. The five candidates who are standing in this year’s election are:

  • Sarah Jane Batt-Williams RVN
  • Heather Jane Mathieson Kirkness RVN
  • Katherine Ann Mortimer RVN
  • Matthew Edwin Rendle RVN
  • Simon Peter Williams RVN

Ahead of the elections, the RCVS is calling on veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses to submit written questions to candidates to help understand their views on a range of subjects. 

Veterinary surgeons can submit a question to the RCVS Council candidates by emailing, and veterinary nurses can submit a question to the VN Council candidates by emailing up until Friday 24 February 2023.

Why Should You Care?

Self-governance may not be perfect…. But it could be a great deal worse. Members participating in elections is a strong signal to those who might want to change the status quo that the organization is, by one measure at least, fit for purpose.

So get involved by finding out more about those who are standing, working out their agenda (there’s always an agenda) and place your votes where you think they will count. If you have a question you’d like answered, be sure to submit one before the closing date on the 24th. 

Click here to read the full article.

Back in January 2003, Canberra, Australia was hit with devastating bushfires which tragically killed four people, hundreds of horses, thousands of sheep, and lots of wildlife. As well as destroying 510 homes and injuring 435 people. 

Twenty years on the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), is compiling veterinarians’ stories of their experiences during the bushfires. The stories and pictures collected will be used in memory of the fires and to educate the next generation on the lessons learned. 

The compilation of pictures and stories will be in a feature communication for the AVA ACT newsletter and will be published on the AVA website in respect of the 20-year anniversary. 

If you’re a veterinarian who lived, worked, or provided assistance during the bushfires, now is the time to share your story, pictures, and lessons learned. Send them to (the AVA Senior Advocacy Officer) by Sunday 12th March 2023 to be featured. 

Why Should You Care?

The Canberra fires were a harrowing and traumatic experience for many. With such occurrences seemingly more common now as the global climate crisis deepens, it’s important to reflect on this time and use our knowledge to not only educate the next generation but inform decisions on actions to prevent or minimize such tragedies in the future.

If you have a story, experience, or picture, now is the time to share it. 

Click here to read the full article.

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