Animal lovers are often drawn to a career in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians work with animals every day diagnosing and treating animals of all types. No day is the same for a veterinarian and each animal patient will bring a new challenge and reward. Consider all of the positive and negative features of being a veterinarian before beginning a career in veterinary medicine.
A high salary is one of the positive features of being a veterinarian. Although the median salary for all workers was $33,840 in 2010, veterinarians earned $83,040 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 10 percent of veterinarians who were highest paid earned more than $145,230 per year. In addition to earning a high salary, veterinarians enjoy expanding opportunities as the field is expected to grow faster than average. Overall employment for veterinarians is expected by the BLS to grow by 36 percent between 2010 and 2020.
Veterinarians seldom enjoy a typical 40-hour work week. Animal emergencies occur at all hours of the day, so veterinarians often work long hours that include nights, weekends and holidays. According to the BLS, more than 25 percent of veterinarians worked more than 50 hours a week in 2010.
Practicing veterinary medicine can be very emotional. Veterinarians witness firsthand when animals are sick and suffering. In some cases, you will not be able to save the animal you are working with. In addition, you will have to speak with concerned and emotional pet owners. This can be stressful and have a negative emotional impact. On the other hand, you will experience rewarding, positive emotional feedback when you successfully bring an animal back to health or deliver healthy babies.
Electrocardiograph (EKG) technicians, also known as cardiographic or electrocardiogram technicians, perform diagnostic tests to aid doctors in identifying and treating cardiovascular problems in patients. These tests help detect irregularities that may result in a heart attack or heart disease. Common duties include explaining procedures to patients, monitoring patients’ blood pressure and positioning patients. A great deal of these technicians’ work time may be spent standing, and they sometimes need to lift or turn patients. Some technicians employed in medical facilities work overnight, evenings or weekends. The following table presents an overview of what’s needed to become an EKG Tech.
EKG technician certification programs are available at several colleges throughout the country. These programs train students on using the EKG machine and practicing correct 12-lead placement on patients. Programs may also cover medical terminology, anatomy and legal aspects of interacting with patients. Students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with EKG equipment and gain hands-on experience during labs.