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Comparison of pay and living expenses

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Jul 07, 2005
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I know of a large medical complex located in Santa Barbara, Calif., that often struggles to find affordable housing for its highly trained nursing and technical staff members—and they often earn upwards of $70,000 a year. In a much smaller community—like Los Olivos, Calif., where Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center is located—a combination of fewer homes and lower wages makes the problem even worse.

Of course, you want to pay your employees competitively. But you also need to consider the costs to live in your area. You’ll gain a better understanding of the challenges your employees face and of what you need to pay to keep great employees.

Dr. Mark Rick is senior associate veterinarian at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center Inc. in Los Olivos, Calif. He works with 34 team members, including veterinarians, staff members, and barn personnel. Please send questions to ve@advanstar.com.

Pay and living expenses in the top four cities for veterinary technologists and technicians

Here’s a comparison of pay and living expenses for the four cities that the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor lists as having the highest concentration of veterinary technologists and technicians.

City  Population  Annual mean wage for veterinary technologists/ technicians Average yearly utility cost Average household total consumer expenditures per year
Fort Collins, Colo. 5,531 $22,760 $4,137 $53,052
Gainesville, Fla. 12,854 $21,690 $3,405 $43,857
College Station, Texas 29,008 $17,670 $3,876 $49,878
Yuba City, Calif. 27,689 $25,180 $4,109 $50,683
National average 11,571 $25,350 $3,251 $41,554

Sources: Occupational Employment and Wages, November 2003, Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor; http://realestate.yahoo.com (Research Neighborhoods)