Veterinary Practice Budgeting – Hiring a Veterinary Technician

By First Financial Bank
To make hiring your first veterinary technician easier, we’ve gathered together a checklist of what you should consider before making your final decision.

Hiring a veterinary technician can feel like a huge step when starting out as a veterinary practice owner. It’s not always easy to find talented and reliable team players who can provide optimal care to patients, communicate effectively with owners, and provide the hands-on support that your business needs. Additionally, there’s often additional pressure to find the ideal candidate while staying within the limits of the practice budget.

However, getting it right is essential if you want your practice to become financially successful and grow as a business. To make hiring your first veterinary technician easier, we’ve gathered together a checklist of what you should consider before making your final decision.

1. Have you outlined what you’re looking for in a veterinary technician?

Before you do anything else, first consider what you’re looking for in a veterinary technician. To ensure they offer the right level of skills and experience, and that they’re a great fit for your practice, you should take time to consider factors like:

  • Are there any specific day-to-day tasks that you’ll need them to support?
  • Are you looking for a certain skill set or specialty?
  • What ‘soft skills’ such as teamwork, communication skills, or creative thinking should they possess?
  • How important is it that they can perform under pressure?
  • Are you looking for many years of experience or are you happy with a new graduate?

By understanding what you need first, you’re far more likely to attract the right talent and make that perfect hire. Remember that you may not need to hire a qualified veterinary technician for many tasks that don’t require specialized skills. Often you can delegate these tasks to a veterinary assistant who will be able to carry them out on a lower cost per hour basis.

2. Have you determined the pay scale?

When deciding on the basic salary you’ll offer to your new veterinary technician, it’s useful to first consider national and local averages. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average veterinary technician salary in 2022 was around $38,240 per year (approximately $18.50per hour). States such as Washington, California and New York tend to pay more (averaging close to $50k per year) whereas states such as Idaho, Georgia and Oklahoma offer a salary at the lower end of the scale in the mid-$30s.

Of course, you should take into account factors such as what type of treatment your veterinary practice offers, the standard of animal care, any level of specialization required for the role and of course, what you can afford to pay.

3. Will your veterinary practice offer employee benefits?

If you want to stand out in the industry and attract the key talent, you could consider offering a comprehensive benefits package. This might include benefits such as paid time off, health insurance, paid leave and perhaps an allocated budget for continuing education.

Although this will have an impact on your veterinary practice budget, it can help reduce overall staff turnover, improve job satisfaction, and help you get the most from your team members. It can be useful to use a website like Glassdoor to find out what other practices in your area offer before making your decision.

4. Have you created an excellent job description?

Creating a strong veterinary technician job description will help attract the candidates who are the best possible fit for your veterinary practice. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Start by writing a short description of your organization, including any details that might help you stand out.
  • Then outline what the veterinary technician’s main duties and responsibilities will be, including as much detail as you can whilst keeping the job description short and concise. This should be followed by information on working hours (including whether the applicant will be required to work weekends or holidays) and key benefits.
  • Next outline the qualifications, experience, and skills you require. Although veterinary technicians must undergo specific education and licensing/ certification (depending on where you are located), there will still be a range of experience and expertise represented within the prospects. If budget is a factor for you, consider hiring new graduates or those with less experience to save on costs. The trade-off will be that you will need to provide more on-the-job training.
  • Mention any extra requirements such as a strong understanding of animal behavior, communication skills, experience with a certain type of patient and so on.
  • Don’t forget to finish with a call to action to explain how the candidate can apply.

5. Have you created a shortlist of veterinary technician candidates?

If you’ve created a compelling job advertisement, you will have a better chance to attract resumes from applicants who all seem to be the perfect fit. Your next task should be to narrow them down according to certain criteria. Depending on the needs of your practice, this can be done according to skills, training, experience, age, time spent in each previous position, references, and specializations.

6. Have you arranged a working interview?

As veterinary medicine is a very hands-on field, many veterinary practices request a working interview in addition to the more traditional interview before hiring a new employee. These interviews can help demonstrate how a potential employee might perform on the job and can highlight key aspects of their personality, including how they relate to both animals and their owners, their teamwork skills – and so on. This can help you determine who is the best fit for your team.

Final thoughts

Hiring a veterinary technician is an important part of building a strong team who can drive your business towards success. By considering the factors outlined here, it can make it easier to find the best candidate for you – who is also within your veterinary practice budget.

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