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Veterinary Technicians’ Challenges & Opportunities NAVTA Demographic Survey. December 2007. Methodology.

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Veterinary Technicians’ Challenges & Opportunities NAVTA Demographic Survey

December 2007


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Methodology

  • The Veterinary Technicians’ Challenges & Opportunities survey was conducted by mail for the National Association for Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) to gather opinions regarding issues and challenges veterinary technicians face in their careers, and to enable NAVTA to develop effective programs and services to better meet the needs of veterinary technicians.

  • Irwin Broh Research mailed two versions of the survey on September 14, 2007, one version for NAVTA members and a 2nd version for non-members; sample files were provided by NAVTA.

  • Completed surveys were accepted through November 13, 2007.

  • In total, 1,725 useable surveys were returned for an overall response rate of 42.3%. The breakdown by version is shown below:


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Key Findings

Issues Facing Veterinary Technicians

  • Low income is the key problem facing veterinary technicians; job burnout and lack of professional recognition are the next most prevalent issues.

    • Two-thirds of NAVTA members and three-fourths of non-members rank low income among the top 3 problems they face.

  • For about one-third of respondents, supervision of staff and client communications take up more time today than 3 years ago.

  • Looking toward the next 5 years, employment, salary, and benefits is the primary issue that will affect veterinary technicians’ jobs.

  • Roughly 4 in 5 veterinary technicians are either “satisfied and will definitely stay” or “will probably stay” in the field.

  • Nine in 10 agree that only veterinarians or veterinary technicians should be allowed to perform certain tasks (e.g. take radiographs, induce anesthesia, perform dentals).

    • Eight in 10 agree they are so under-paid that feasibility of staying in the profession is declining.


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Key Findings (Cont’d.)

Veterinary Technician Associations

  • The average NAVTA membership length among respondents who are current members is 6.1 years.

    • Slightly less than one-third of current non-members have been a NAVTA member in the past, with an average membership length of 3.3 years.

  • The NAVTA Journal, including CE announcements, News for Members, four reviewed CE articles per issue, and opportunity to earn CE credit are considered “very or somewhat important” to more than 9 in 10 members.

    • Most NAVTA services are “very or somewhat important” to at least 7 in 10 members.

  • Among non-members, awareness is highest for the following NAVTA services: National Veterinary Technician Week, The NAVTA Journal, and the NAVTA website.

  • Approximately one-third of non-members did not renew or never joined NAVTA due to unfamiliarity with NAVTA, too busy to get involved, and the cost of dues.


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Key Findings (Cont’d.)

Veterinary Technician Associations (Cont’d.)

  • NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to be a member of their state veterinary technician association (64% versus 39%, respectively).

  • CE meetings are more popular among NAVTA members.

    • Half of members attended at least one National meeting within the past year, compared to 35% of non-members.

    • Roughly 2 in 5 members and non-members attended one or more state veterinary medical association sponsored CE meetings.

    • Just under 40% of members and 27% of non-members attended at least one state veterinary technician association CE meeting.

    • About 1 in 5 members and non-members attended at least one local veterinary technician association CE meeting.

  • Members are significantly more likely than non-members to indicate the current dues are “about right” (81% versus 50%, respectively).

    • Half of the members would be willing to pay higher dues to support added programs and services.


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Key Findings (Cont’d.)

Veterinary Technician Associations (Cont’d.)

  • Areas for NAVTA to work on include: increasing veterinarians’ awareness about utilization of veterinary technicians, assisting states with credentialing laws and requirements, and providing the public with information about the profession.

    Employment, Economics and Career

  • Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician are primarily female and 38 years old, on average.

    • NAVTA members tend to be slightly older than non-members and work in larger communities.

  • Three fourths of non-members and about half of members are employed in companion animal practice.

  • Nearly all members (99%) and the majority of non-members (88%) are certified, registered, or licensed, and about 9 in 10 are credentialed in the state where they are employed.


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Key Findings (Cont’d.)

Employment, Economics and Career (Cont’d.)

  • Nearly all use a computer at work, most often to maintain client records.

  • NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to have graduated from an AVMA-accredited program (88% versus 69%, respectively).

  • On average, respondents have worked just over 11 years as a veterinary technician, about 7 years with their current employer, and with slightly fewer than 3 employers throughout their career.

  • Full-time veterinary technicians earn $35,400, on average; NAVTA members earn significantly more than non-members.

    • Part-time employees earn about $15 per hour.

  • More than 9 in 10 full-time veterinary technicians receive paid vacation; other benefits provided by about 4 in 5 employers include health insurance, free or discounted animal care, and CE registration.



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Problems Facing Veterinary Technicians: Ranked Among Top 3

  • Low income is the key problem facing veterinary technicians, particularly among non-members of NAVTA.

    • Job burnout and lack ofprofessional recognition are the next most prevalent issues.

Which of the following are the three most significant problems that you face as a veterinary technician?

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Activities That Take Up More Time Today

  • For about one-third of respondents, supervision of staff and client communications take up more time today than three years ago.

Indicate any activities in your current employment situation that take up more of your time on the job today than three years ago.

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Issues Affecting Job Next 5 Years: Ranked Among Top 3

  • Employment, salary, and benefits is the primary issue that will affect veterinary technicians’ jobs in the next five years.

    • Specialization in veterinary technology is the next major issue, particularly among NAVTA members.

As you look towards the next five years, what three issues do you believe will most affect your job?

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Career Satisfaction

  • Regardless of NAVTA membership, roughly 4 in 5 veterinary technicians are either “satisfied and will definitely stay” or “will probably stay” in the field.

How satisfied are you with your career in veterinary technology?

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Agreement Statements – Top 2 Box

  • Nine out of 10 veterinary technicians agree that only veterinarians or veterinary technicians should be allowed to perform certain tasks.

    • Non-members are significantly more likely than members to agree they are under-paid and frequently recommend pet products.

Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements. (Scale: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree)

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Agreement Statements: Top 2 Box (Cont’d)

  • Non-members also agree significantly more than members that they are happy with the level of recognition and support provided by professional organizations andthat the NAVTA mission statement should include more representation for assistants.

Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements. (Scale: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree)

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Product Recommendation: Ranked Highest Priority

  • CE seminars have the strongest affect on product recommendations.

    • NAVTA members are significantly more likely to select CE seminars, while non-members are more likely to select sales reps and program incentives as having the greatest affect on product recommendation to clients.

Rank which of the following most effect your recommendation of a product to clients. (1=highest priority, 2, 3, 4=lowest priority)

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.



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Past NAVTA Membership Among Non-Members

  • Fewer than one-third of current non-members have been a NAVTA member in the past.

    • The average NAVTA membership length among current non-members is 3.3 years.

How many years? (82)

1 year or less 35%

2-3 years 37%

4-5 years 14%

6-9 years 2%

10 or more years 7%

No answer 5%

Average (years) 3.3

Have you ever been a NAVTA member? If yes, for how many years?

Base: Non-members only


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NAVTA Membership Length

  • Two in 5 current NAVTA members have been a member for 3 years or less.

    • The average NAVTA membership length among current members is 6.1 years.

Average: 6.1 years

How many years have you ever been a member of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)?

Base: Members only


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Importance of NAVTA Services Among Members: Top 2 Box

  • The NAVTA Journal and its articles are considered “very or somewhat important” to nearly all members.

  • Importance scores for all other NAVTA services and programs are shown on the following page.

How important are each of the following NAVTA services and programs? (Scale: Very Important, Somewhat Important, Not Important, No Opinion, Not Familiar)

Base: Members only


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Importance of NAVTA Services Among Members: Top 2 Box (Cont’d.)

How important are each of the following NAVTA services and programs? (Scale: Very Important, Somewhat Important, Not Important, No Opinion, Not Familiar)

Base: Members only


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Awareness of NAVTA Services Among Non-Members (Cont’d.)

  • Non-members are most aware of National Veterinary Technician Week, The NAVTA Journal, and the NAVTA Website.

Are you aware of the following NAVTA services and programs?

Base: Non-members only


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Reasons for Not Renewing/Joining NAVTA (Cont’d.)

  • Roughly one-third of non-members did not renew or never joined NAVTA due to unfamiliarity with NAVTA, too busy to get involved, and expensive dues.

Which of the following best describes your reason for not renewing your membership or never joining NAVTA?

Base: Non-members only


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Primary Reason for Leaving Field* (Cont’d.)

  • Among the 7 non-members not currently employed as a veterinary technician, reasons for leaving the field include burn-out, low pay, prefer to be a stay-at-home mom, and lack of respect.

Currently employed as:

Pet sitter/boarder

Stay-at-home mom

Mixed animal practice

Personal attendant

If you are not currently employed as a veterinary technician, which reason below expresses your primary reason for leaving the field?

In what type of work are you currently employed?

Base: Non-members not currently employed as a veterinary technician

*Caution: Extremely small base size (n=7)


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State Veterinary Technician Association (Cont’d.)

  • NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to be a member of their state veterinary technician association, and to have served as an officer or committee member.

Are you a member of your state veterinary technician association?

Have you ever served in any of the following capabilities? As a State Association officer? As a State Association committee member?

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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CE Attendance: Local Veterinary Technician Association (Cont’d.)

  • About 1 in 5 NAVTA members and non-members attended at least one local veterinary technician association sponsored CE meeting within the past 12 months.

Within the last 12 months who sponsored the CE meetings you attended and how often did you attend? – Local Veterinary Technician Association

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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CE Attendance: State Veterinary Technician Association (Cont’d.)

  • State veterinary technician association CE meetings are more popular with NAVTA members; 39% of members attended at least one meeting within the past year, compared to only 27% of non-members.

Within the last 12 months who sponsored the CE meetings you attended and how often did you attend? – State Veterinary Technician Association

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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CE Attendance: State Veterinary Medical Association (Cont’d.)

  • Roughly 2 in 5 NAVTA members and non-members attended one or more state veterinary medical association sponsored CE meetings in the last year.

Within the last 12 months who sponsored the CE meetings you attended and how often did you attend? – State Veterinary Medical Association

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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CE Attendance: National (Cont’d.)

  • NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to attend a National sponsored CE meeting; half of the members attended at least one meeting within the past year, compared to 35% of non-members.

Within the last 12 months who sponsored the CE meetings you attended and how often did you attend? – National (e.g. AVMA, NAVC, WVC)

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Choice of CE Meetings: Ranked Highest Priority (Cont’d.)

  • Speakers/topics and location have the strongest affect on attendance at CE meetings.

    • NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to choose to attend a meeting based on the speakers/topics.

Rank which of the following most affected your choice of meetings. (1=highest priority, 2, 3, 4=lowest priority)

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Veterinary Technology Presentation (Cont’d.)

  • NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to have given a presentation about veterinary technology within the past year; almost one-fourth of members have given a presentation compared to 1 in 10 non-members.

Within the past 12 months, have you given a presentation about veterinary technology?

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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NAVTA Dues (Cont’d.)

  • NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to indicate that the current dues are “about right;” 8 in 10 members share this opinion, compared to only half of non-members.

    • Half of the NAVTA members would be willing to pay higher dues to support added programs and services.

50% of members would be willing to pay higher dues to support added programs/services

In your opinion, are the current NAVTA dues ($50 per year) low, about right, or high, when compared to benefits of NAVTA membership?

Would you be willing to pay higher dues to support added NAVTA programs and services? (Base: Members only)

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Areas NAVTA to Work On: Ranked Highest Priority (Cont’d.)

  • One-third of veterinary technicians want NAVTA to work on increasing veterinarians’ awareness about utilization of veterinary technicians.

    • More than 1 in 5 feel NAVTA should be working on assisting states with credentialing laws and requirements and providing the public with information about the profession.

Rank from 1 to 6 the areas that NAVTA should be working on. (1=highest priority, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6=lowest priority)

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.



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Employed as Veterinary Technician (Cont’d.)

  • The vast majority of respondents are currently employed as a veterinary technician.

Are you currently employed as a veterinary technician?

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Age, Gender & Community Size (Cont’d.)

  • Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician are primarily female and 38 years old, on average.

    • NAVTA members tend to be slightly older than non-members and work in larger communities.

What is your age? What is your gender? What is the size of the community in which you work?

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Employment Category (Cont’d.)

  • Non-members are significantly more likely to be employed in companion or mixed animal practice, while NAVTA members tend to work as veterinary technicians in other capacities.

Which category best describes your employment?

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Allocation of Work Time (Cont’d.)

  • NAVTA members spend significantly more of their work time in animal nursing and teaching, while non-members spend more time in laboratory, surgical assisting, inventory/ordering, selling products, and meeting sales reps.

Estimate what percentage of your work time is spent in each of the following functions?

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Certification, Registration & Licensing (Cont’d.)

  • Nearly allNAVTA members and the majority of non-members are certified, registered, or licensed (in 1.3 states, on average).

  • About nine in 10 are credentialed in the state where they are employed.

Non-

Total Member Member

Average number (1,600) (1,370) (230)

of states: 1.3 1.3 1.3

Are you certified, registered, or licensed in veterinary technology? If yes, in how many states? Are you credentialed in the state where you are currently employed?

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Others in Practice (Cont’d.)

  • Veterinary technicians in private practice work with approximately 5 veterinarians, 5 graduate/credentialed veterinary technicians, and 6 assistants, on average.

    • NAVTA members tend to work in larger practices than non-members.

If you work in private practice, how many veterinarians, technicians, and other assistants work in the practice?

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Computer Usage (Cont’d.)

  • Nearly all respondents use a computer at work, most often to maintain client records.

    • NAVTA members are significantly more likely to use the computer for Internet access and word-processing, while non-members are more likely to use it for client records and inventory.

Do you personally use a computer in your work? Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

If yes, for what primary functions do you use the computer? Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician and use computer at work

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Internet Usage (Cont’d.)

  • NAVTA members use the Internet both at work and at home more frequently than non-members.

How often do you use the Internet at work? Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician and use computer at work

Do you use the Internet at home? Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Education (Cont’d.)

  • NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to have graduated from an AVMA-accredited program.

    • Over three-fourths hold an associate degree and one third a baccalaureate degree, members significantly more so than non-members.

Are you a graduate of an AVMA-accredited program in veterinary technology? Year of graduation? What educational degrees do you have?

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Employment (Cont’d.)

  • On average, respondents have worked just over 11 years as a veterinary technician, about 7 years with their current employer, and with slightly fewer than 3 employers.

  • They work an average of 39.2 hours per week, 49.7 weeks per year.

How many years have you worked as a veterinary technician? How many years have you worked with your current employer? How many employers have you had as a veterinary technician? In your current position, how many hours do you work per week? How many weeks do you work per year?

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Income (Cont’d.)

  • Full-time veterinary technicians earn $35,400, on average; NAVTA members earn significantly more than non-members.

  • Those employed part-time earn about $15 per hour.

Regarding your current income, please indicate the dollar interval that approximates your annual gross income (i.e., before payroll deductions).

If you work less than 40 hrs/wk, considered part time, which of the following most closely represents your hourly pay?

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Employer-Provided Benefits (Cont’d.)

  • More than 9 in 10 full-time veterinary technicians receive paid vacation from their employer; other benefits provided by about 4 in 5 employers include health insurance, free or discounted animal care, and CE registration.

    • As shown below and on the following page, NAVTA members are significantly more likely than non-members to receive several of the employer-provided benefits.

Please mark each of the following benefits that are provided by your current employer.

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician and work 40+ hours/week.

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Employer-Provided Benefits (Cont’d.) (Cont’d.)

Please mark each of the following benefits that are provided by your current employer.

Base: Respondents currently employed as a veterinary technician and work 40+ hours/week.

* Indicates a significant difference at the 90% confidence level when comparing members to non-members.


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Geographic Region (Cont’d.)

In what state are you employed?


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