Applying anesthesia in a veterinary clinic or hospital generally falls under the jurisdiction of the veterinarian. However, veterinarians often have many tasks to perform and often have to rely on the help of veterinary technicians and technologists. While providing anesthesia is not the only job function of the technician or technologist, it is something that is done under the direction of the veterinarian. Veterinary technicians and technologists earn salaries similar to those earned by medical assistants in other fields.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a veterinary technician or technologist was $31,030 per year in 2010. The median salary of these assistants was $29,710, while the middle 50 percent of those working in this field earned salaries between $24,480 and $36,300. At the low end of the pay scale were those technicians who earned salaries of $20,500 per year or less, while the highest paid technicians earned salaries of $44,030 or more.
Salary for veterinary technicians and technologists is determined in part by education and training. Becoming a technician in this field generally involves the completion of an associate degree program, although four-year bachelor's degrees are offered by some schools as well. In addition to education, veterinary assistants receive on-the-job training. The administration of anesthesia is generally learned through this combination of education and training. Technicians with the required experience and education can obtain three different levels of certification. Technicians and technologists who administer anesthesia and have the highest levels of education and training are more likely to make salaries toward the upper end of the pay scale.
The employer of a veterinary technician plays a role in determining how much she is paid. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest paying employer for those working in this field in 2010 was the federal government. Veterinary technicians working for the federal government earned $48,430 per year, while those working for state government agencies earned $47,060 on average. A more typical employment setting for these technicians, however, would be settings like medical and surgical hospitals where technologists earned average salaries of $42,630 in 2010.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects higher than average job growth in this field from 2008 to 2018. In fact, the bureau projects that the number of new jobs will increase by 36 percent, a rate more than triple the average rate for all other professions. Technicians and technologists with the highest levels of training and education will be those who are best poised to gain employment. Having knowledge of veterinary anesthesia administration could prove to be a determining factor in whether or not applicants get the nod for the job over other applicants in the job market.