There is a significant difference in the pay rates for a vet tech and a vet assistant with the vet tech earning the higher pay. The reason is the difference in education and credential requirements which the vet tech must have met. A secondary reason is the duties which the vet tech has compared to the lesser important duties the vet assistant has to perform.
The vet tech will be better paid in every state in the country. The salary for a vet tech will be largely determined by the demand and the specific skills required. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the demand for vet techs is expected to increase by more than 55 percent until 2020. The vet tech salary averages slightly over $31,000 annually. The top of the pay scale is about $45,000. The average vet assistant salary is about $25,000 annually. The highest paid vet assistants which are about 10 percent of the group earn about $36,000.
In addition to the scope of responsibilities, the amount of education required to be a vet tech is much more extensive. Veterinary technicians often have to complete a college program that is accredited by the AVMA and earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in the field of veterinary medicine. The vet assistants need a GED or a high school diploma to get a job in a vet’s practice or a government operated animal care facility.
The state where the vet techs choose to work will determine their annual compensation. Alaska pays the best, and New York is second with an average annual salary of $37,460. Connecticut, Virginia and Massachusetts are the third, fourth and fifth highest paying locations with an average annual salary of salary of $36,640.
The metropolitan areas pay the highest salary for vet techs. In Sacramento, the average vet tech salary is $47,990 annually while, in the metropolitan areas of Wisconsin, the vet tech earned an average salary of $46,570 annually.
The question abut which is better paid vet tech or vet assistant can be answered by the fact that vet techs earn more in every state than the vet assistants do. In some locations the difference is minimal and in other locations it is larger.