Category Archives: work

It’s been a while, eh?

Yikes.  Really a long while.  Sorry ’bout that.  I graduated from tech school and never found a full-time tech job, so I really didn’t have much to write about.  At least nothing vet-tech related.  Working two shifts a month as a tech doesn’t give a person much to blog about.

Now, however, good-looking weatherman and I have moved to a new state and I finally have a job as a full-time tech.  Good-looking weatherman also has a shiny, new job.  His job is the reason we moved.  So we’ve spent the last six weeks or so unpacking, finding our way around town, checking out the new places to eat, and adjusting to our new jobs.  I must say, I really, really enjoy working as a tech.  On my days off, I’m kind of disappointed that I don’t get to go to work.

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Home Stretch

This week is my last week of classes! I have a final on Thursday and one on Friday. At the beginning of next week I have four (!) lecture finals and then I’ll be done. There was no class last Friday, so it kind of feels like I’m already done with school. I still have a paper to write, though, and some homework due this week so I can’t quit just yet. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m anxious to be done and to be able to put more time into stuff that isn’t school (like my balcony garden). I still have my internship to complete, but that shouldn’t be too difficult – that’s just 12 weeks of “work” with little or no homework. It’ll be a cakewalk :p

Snow, snow, snow

We have lots of snow here. Driving from work to school tonight took about four times longer than it should have. Some roads randomly had giant piles of snow in the middle of them and most of the rest had at least a few inches of snow on them. It was a fun drive. The drive home after work was equally fun. I have some pictures of the snow, but they’re still on the camera and I need to go get some sleep before school tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait to see them. Perhaps I’ll get some up this weekend – I actually have two days off in a row!

Edit: I’m sure we got over six inches of snow here, but I don’t have an exact number.

The New Job

A long while back, I noted that I had a new job and more information would be forthcoming. You’ve probably noticed that the information did not appear. That’s because I haven’t had the time to blog much lately. Between my three jobs and my classes, I’m not left with a whole lot of free time. Only eight more weeks, though, and I will be DONE with school.

Anyway, my not-quite-so-new job is working at a large animal hospital where I also get the opportunity to do some teaching. It’s a perfect job for me. I enjoy working with large animals so much more than small animals. While I’m at school, working on dogs and cats, I sometimes wonder why I’m going to school for vet tech. One night, I was at my large animal job, working on some critter (a calf, perhaps?) and remembered why I was going to tech school – because I love working with large animals. I’m excited about it, passionate about it, and want to share that knowledge and excitement with other people. I can do that at this job! Plus, sometimes I even get to work on goats. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Project 365: Day 4

Here’s January 4th’s Project 365 post, a few days late.

I worked my third job tonight and ended up working with the critter we had in isolation.  Before we go into the iso room, we have to take off accessories (watches, cell phones, etc.) and take things out of our pockets.  It was me and one other gal working in iso tonight and she threw me right in and kept me busy.  I hate it when people do that, because usually when they throw me in I’m not very confident of my skills.  What I really need, though, is for them to throw me in and make me do stuff.  My co-worker was right there with me to guide me and answer questions.  Everything went fine.  Some stuff I’m okay doing, even if I’m new on the job.  Other stuff, like giving things IV, freaks me out a bit more because there are bigger/more serious consequences if I screw up.

Here’s a picture of the stuff I was carrying on me and in my pockets the other night at work:

Day 4

I also had a pen and my wallet, but they didn’t make it into the picture for some reason.

Start of Semester Panic

I just got access to my online classes this morning. I’m taking four lectures online. Now that I’ve read through the assignments, I’m freaking out just a little bit. There’s a lot of work there! Essays (lots of essays!), worksheets, discussions, tests, quizzes, PowerPoints. Yikes! And that’s only half my classes. I have four labs I’m taking, too. Plus I’ll be working three jobs. And I’d like to see my husband at least once in a while this semester. And maybe exercise the dog. And clean my apartment.

The thing keeping me from freaking out completely is that I always freak out at the beginning of the semester. It’s all new material, new instructors, new deadlines for each class, etc. Once I get into things a little bit, get my schedule written out, and get the deadlines straight in my head, I’ll feel better. I’ll be freaking out less. I hope. The last time I took 12 credits I only had a work study job, a dorm room, and no husband or dog. Now I have an apartment, a husband, a dog, and three jobs.  Am I crazy?  I must be.

Reader Question: Is vet tech school worth it?

Hey, I came across your blog while searching for vet tech info. I was wondering how much your vet tech schooling is? I’m trying to decide whether or not I should go to vet tech school. There are only 2 options in my area and both cost 30 grand and take 16 months. That price seems extraordinarily high for such little vet techs make. What is your opinion? Thanks!
Hi, Tiffany!

Good questions.  I’ll see if I can answer them for you.  The price listed on my school’s page is $480 per credit, plus various fees for labs, technology, and student services.  I can tell you, though, that tuition is higher than that – I believe it’s somewhere in the $500 range now (I try not to look too often) and it’s been going up every year.   There is a second school in my area that offers a vet tech degree and I believe they are a bit lower priced.  I spent some time talking with vets and techs in my state and ultimately chose the more expensive school because their graduates have a much better reputation than graduates from the lower-cost school.  Graduates from the more expensive school receive a much more thorough education and come out of school with more knowledge and a better skill set.  Oftentimes, they receive hiring preference over graduates from the lower-cost school.  My husband and I decided that it was worth it to spend the extra money to get the degree with the better reputation.

I would recommend trying to talk with some vets and techs in your area and getting their opinions of each program.  In your area, the programs may be about equal.  Maybe one is much better than the other.  Maybe one focuses more on small animals and the other focuses more on large animals.  It is definitely worth your time to do some research.  You can also try contacting your state veterinary medical association.  You will certainly want to make sure the school you choose is accredited.  If you don’t like either of the school options in your area, you can look in to distance learning programs.  I don’t know if the distance programs tend to cost less than the local programs, though.

One way to save some money on vet tech school is taking your generals at a community or state college and transferring them to the tech school.  Before doing this, you’ll want to check with the vet tech school and see exactly what courses you’ll need and then make sure they will transfer in.  I was in school for a bachelor’s degree before I went to tech school, so I had almost all of the required generals done, which saved me quite a bit of money.

Another way to save money is to find scholarships.  If you’re still in high school, work at maintaining a good GPA and apply for as many scholarships as you can.  If you’re not in high school anymore, or anywhere near high school, there are still scholarships out there, it just takes a bit more work to find them.  Check with your school’s financial aid office to see what scholarships the school offers.  Fastweb has a really extensive list of scholarships.  You will get overwhelmed looking at all the scholarships Fastweb lists.

vetassistanttraining1Now, on to your question about whether or not going into this field is worth it.  Obviously, you have to decide that for yourself, but I’ll see if I can give you some things to consider when you make that decision.  You not only have to love animals, but you need to at least be able to tolerate dealing with people (clients).  Enjoying working with people makes the job easier.  You will be dealing with them a lot.  And they will not always be happy.  They will be stressed, upset, or otherwise unhappy for any number of reasons (their pet is sick, their pet got hurt, their pet is bleeding all over, etc.).  Of course, really enjoying dealing with animals is important.  Like with the people, the animals will not always be happy.  And unhappy animals can really be difficult to deal with – they bite, growl, snap, urinate, defecate, express their anal glands, and can be flat-out difficult.  A love of medicine helps, too.  There’s lots of medicine and problem solving – why is the animal sick, what is causing the white blood cell level to increase, why will this dog not stop vomiting, etc.  Any diagnosis will be left up to the vet, but your job is easier if you can understand what’s happening and why it’s happening.

The pay is not fantastic.  From what I can tell, vet techs around here start between $10 and $15 an hour.  If you work 40 hours a week, $13/hour works out to$27,040 a year (assuming no unpaid vacation or days off).  So if you just run straight numbers and don’t think about what you love, being a vet tech doesn’t make a lot of sense.  But we both know there’s more to it than that.  You don’t want to be stuck in a job you hate.  If you’re the type of person who doesn’t need or want the latest greatest everything and you really do love the career, it’s may be worth it.

There are a lot of different job opportunities with a vet tech degree.  You are not limited to working with just dogs and cats.  You can work with farm animals, lab animals, zoo animals, wildlife, and pets.  There are jobs in nutrition, in research labs, zoos, wildlife centers, rescue facilities, boarding, animal shelters, and more.

I hope that helps you out some.  Good luck with whatever you decide!

Image credit: jbcurio

Quiet Time at Work, Studying Abroad, Family Visits

It’s quiet at work right now.  All the children are back in school, it’s mid-week, and it’s chilly and rainy.  I had less than a half-dozen dogs at work today.  Nobody came in this afternoon, nobody went home, save for one dog that was in for a groom.  Last weekend was expected to be busy since the local schools had a four-day weekend, but it was rather underwhelming.  We had fewer than 30 dogs, which is really not a lot for school holiday.  I was hoping for at least 50, but no such luck.  People just aren’t going as many places.  The quiet time at work is nice in some ways, but can also make for some rather long days.  It gives us a chance to get some extra cleaning done, but there’s only so much of that to go around.

With all my quiet time at work today, I was able to do some research on schools.  After I finish my tech degree, I want to go finish up my bachelor’s degree that I started back in 2001.  I only have a year left, if that (depending on how many credits I need to take from whatever school I transfer to).  I sent inquiry e-mails out to three schools.  Two of those schools offer programs for studying abroad.  I would love, love, love to be able to go abroad for a bit.  One of the schools offers month-long sessions for studying abroad.  We might be able to swing that.  I know I couldn’t do a full semester, but there’s a small chance I could do a month.  When I was in college part one, one of the instructors did a trip to Australia with a group of students.  I really wanted to go, but just didn’t have the money.  If I do get to go this time around, I’d like to go to New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, England, somewhere else in Europe, or possibly Russia.  South America would be neat too.

In school part two news, well, there isn’t much news.  We have our first test in radiology lab on Friday.  I don’t feel ready for it, but I’m getting together with a classmate tomorrow night and we’ll do some review.  We also have two assignments due for Small Animal Medicine II and need to study some Microbiology.  I know I have a test or two in my lectures this week, but I don’t remember which classes.  We had our mid-term in Small Animal Medicine II last week.  I wasn’t sure how well I’d do, since I really wasn’t feeling well and could remember almost nothing in Microbiology Lab that morning, but I ended up with 48/50.  Guess I didn’t do so badly after all!  Microbiology last week was difficult, mostly because of the aforementioned not feeling well.  Our assignments weren’t complex or anything new, I just couldn’t remember anything.  Fortunately, I have a fantastic friend in the class and she helped me through when I got stuck.

That’s the latest around here as far as school and work goes.  My sister and adorable niece just finished a two-week visit back here.  It was absolutely wonderful to see them.  My niece is getting big.  She smiles now, can roll on to her side, and has just started tracking movement with her eyes.  She’s pretty adorable.  As always, I enjoyed the time I had with my sister.  I wish we’d have been able to see more of each other.  I ended up being sick for part of her visit (fortunately it was mostly during the part where she was off visiting her in-laws and friends that don’t live near me), which cut into a bit of our time together, as well as my plans to head out of town for the weekend.  I’m hopeful that she’ll be able to move back here relatively soon.  We had a few years where we didn’t get along, but we get along great now (most of the time) and never seem to get enough time together.

What’s new with you?  Have you studied abroad?  Where did you go?  Did you like it?  I’d love to hear about it!

Photos from kangotraveler and BlueGoa.

It Must Be Almost Time for Mid-Terms

I tutor at school and up until last week, I’d only had two or three people come in for extra help. This last week, I’ve had half-a-dozen people contact me for help with assorted topics. Mid-terms are in a week-and-a-half. Everyone must be panicking about their tests. I certainly don’t mind the extra tutoring – I really enjoy tutoring.

Lab math – i.e. drug dose calculations – is what I get asked to help with the most. I think people freak out when they see math. It trips a lot of people up because it seems confusing at first, but it’s not a particularly difficult thing. If I sit down with them, go over the problems step-by-step, and walk them through a few practice problems, they usually catch on pretty quickly. Sometimes all it takes is me showing an alternate way of solving the problems. There are so many different ways to solve these problems and I try to find a way that makes sense to the student so they can master these calculations. Being proficient at drug dosage calculation is critical to doing well in classes and later, as a tech.

If you’re in school and having trouble with a particular subject, don’t be afraid to get help. Instructors and tutors are happy to help you out (good ones are, anyway). Your tuition money helps pay for those services, so make the most of that money you’re spending and get help if you need it!