Level Up Vet Tech Tiers: How to grow your skills (and pay) with Roo

Ross Zimmerman
January 8, 2024

When a vet tech first joins Roo, they’re placed in a Tech Tier based on their skills and experience. For a lot of techs, this kind of exists in the background and isn’t really thought about much beyond their initial onboarding process. But did you know this actually affects the number of shifts you see on your Roo map? There could be loads of shifts in your area you can’t see just yet because the hospitals are looking for a higher tech tier. For this reason and so many more, you may want to do what every good video game character does: gain experience and learn new skills to level up.    

Tier 3 Techs (Lead Veterinary Technicians) are the most in-demand technicians on Roo’s platform with the most shifts available and, of course, any time you move up a tier the shift payouts get higher. This means moving up a Roo Tech Tier can have a huge impact on your income and flexibility — more shifts to choose from means more opportunities to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

This climb may feel daunting, but it’s not out of reach. We at Roo want to partner in your career growth and assist you in acquiring these new skills to scale our Tech Tier ladder. This isn’t just some arbitrary tier system on Roo’s platform — leveling up means you’ve acquired a number of real skills that make you more valuable as a technician, wherever your career takes you. This means higher pay and more job opportunities beyond Roo’s platform. 

Curious what Tech Tier you’re currently in? Want personalized advice and support on what you need to do to move up? Email hello@roo.vet, and our Tech Coordinators will help you out!

What are Roo Tech Tiers?

Veterinary technicians have a variety of skill sets and technical ability, and Roo does its thing in a number of different states across the country with varying laws and regulations for what it means to be a vet tech. On top of this, every animal hospital is looking for something different from their relief techs. We needed a solution that simplified all this variety so everyone could be on the same page. 

Most importantly, we want to make absolutely sure that A) our techs don’t end up feeling in over their heads with too much being asked of them, and B) our hospitals have a good experience every time. The answer we came up with is our Tech Tiers, which categorize our vet techs based on skills and experience so each hospital and technician knows what to expect from every shift. 

Here’s a checklist of the skills expected of each Vet Tech Tier (in every state except California): 

Roo Vet Tech Tiers Required Skills Checklist

California is in a bit of a different boat due to their specific state laws, which means they get their own California Tech Tiers. You’ll want to scroll on down if you’re in the Golden State. 

What should I do if I feel I’ve been placed in the wrong Tech Tier?

All our tech placements are done by Roo’s Tech Coordinators who have a lot of experience working as vet technicians themselves, so they know what it’s like and what skills are required in different situations. We really do our best to get it right based on your resume and meeting with you and any references you provide. That said, we’ll be the first to admit that, hey, we’re human (if we were kittens we'd be way cuter).

If you feel you’ve been placed in the wrong Tech Tier, reach out to our support team using this link and select "Account Help" as the main reason for contact and then select "Tier Evaluation Increase." It's helpful to include your resume and list any references who can help speak to your experience. In borderline cases, your references are relied upon to help us make the final decision. 

Licensing/Registration and Roo Tech Tiers

The eagle-eyed reader may have noticed Tier 1 includes Veterinary Assistants. We know the protection of the technician title is something vet techs are very passionate about. However, Roo provides service across the country, and each state has their own specific regulations for the licensing/registration/certification of vet techs as evidenced by the fact that we just had to include TWO backslashes in there because there’s so many different processes and guidelines! 

To keep things simple and easy to navigate, there’s no relationship between Roo Tech Tiers and being officially licensed/registered. In many states, licenses are not required for vet techs, and most importantly, we have a lot of tremendously talented techs on our platform with decades of experience who shouldn’t be excluded from higher tiers based on patchwork government regulations. 

How do I level up to a higher Tech Tier?

The ultimate question! When you feel you’re ready to move up to a higher Tech Tier, first make sure you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Must be on Roo’s platform for at least 6 months
  2. Completed at least 5 Roo Relief shifts 
  3. Your Roo account must be in good standing

Check those boxes, and you’re good to go! Reach out to our support team using this link and select "Account Help" as the main reason for contact and then select "Tier Evaluation Increase." You’ll need to submit an updated resume and provide at least two references to confirm that you’ve acquired the skills needed at the next Tech Tier. These can be veterinarians, practice managers, or even other lead technicians you’ve worked with.

Be prepared to answer a few specific questions to test your knowledge of these skills. For example, we may ask, “What should you do if a patient’s blood pressure starts dropping during surgery?” It’s not meant to feel like a pop quiz, but we need to know that if you find yourself in a dangerous situation with an animal, you have the knowledge to handle it. As you level up in Tech Tiers, the procedures get more serious, and animal lives will be on the line. 

Acquiring these skills can be tricky, but as always, Roo is in your corner! Reach out and let us know you’re looking to advance your career, and we’ll get in touch with our hospitals to try and find the right shifts for you to get the skills you need. 

The best way to pick up these skills (and get experience doing them) is to learn them on the job. You do not need to go back to school. CE can be very helpful, and Roo hopes to offer more CE than ever before in 2024, but there’s no substitute for the real thing. 

For Tier 2 Techs looking to move up to Tier 3 (our most popular leap), you’ll want to pick up as many Roo Emergency Shifts as you can working as the assistant to the lead tech. Having trouble finding the right shifts? Reach out to hello@roo.vet, we can help. In some cases, we may even be able to place you in a shift that’s not visible on the platform.

If you work at a clinic full-time, ask to participate in more surgeries (beyond just spays and neuters) and other more advanced procedures to get the experience you need at your home hospital. This can have the very positive side effect of earning you some serious brownie points with your managers as well. 

What skills do you need? Well, without further ado:

Tier 1 > Tier 2 Skilled Vet Tech Skills Checklist (outside CA)

We know this one’s especially tricky as there aren’t a ton of Tier 1 shifts on the Roo platform. It may be discouraging to see so few opportunities from time to time. Reach out so we can help you keep an eye out for shifts that are right for you and get you moved up quickly. The skills you learn here will be your foundation for a successful vet tech career!   

To move up from Tier 1 to Tier 2, you must be able to confidently perform: 

  • Surgical prep, pre-op, and post op care
  • Dental prophylaxis
  • Client education (products and services)
  • Non-dental radiographs
  • Application and/or removal of casts, bandages, and splints
  • Ability to read in house samples (fecals, blood, urine, etc.)

Tier 2 > Tier 3 Lead Vet Tech Skills Checklist (outside CA)

Tier 3 Techs are the most in-demand on the Roo platform, meaning you’ll see a huge jump in shifts available when leveling up from Tier 2 to Tier 3. Your Roo map will start looking fuller, you’ll have more opportunities to choose from, and Techs can work any shift at their tier or lower, so you’ll still be able to pick up Tier 1 and 2 shifts if you need the work. 

To move up from Tier 2 to Tier 3, in addition to all the Tier 1 and Tier 2 skills, you must be able to confidently perform: 

  • Anesthetic induction, monitoring, and recovery
  • Assist/monitor spay and neuter surgery
  • Assist/monitor orthopedic surgery
  • Grade 3-4 dentistry and dental radiographs
  • Patient triage (some ER experience)

Tier 3 > Tier 4 Specialty Vet Tech Skills Checklist (outside CA)

Tier 4 Techs are rockstars with highly-specialized skills that hospitals NEED. As a Tier 4 Tech, you’ll be able to pick up any tech shift on the platform in your area, including our highest paying tech shifts! This will give you the ability to truly maximize your earnings using Roo. 

To move up from Tier 2 to Tier 3, you must be able to confidently perform all of the above skills and: 

  • Handle emergencies and/or complex surgeries
  • Calculate and administer CRI’s
  • Manage a central line

You must also have: 

  • Specialty experience
  • 2+ years of critical animal care and nursing experience
  • Experience as an Inpatient Nurse in an ICU

Roo’s here to help support your career growth

We know that’s a lot — that’s a career’s-worth of vet tech skills laid out in checklist form after all. But above all, we want to see you succeed, so if there’s any way at all we can help out, we’re down! 

If you want to move up, make sure you’re taking the right Roo shifts or ask to help with more advanced procedures at your home hospital. Update your resume, and send it our way with a few references when you feel confident. That’s really all there is too it. 

We know you’re gonna crush it if you really put your mind to it. Roo is pretty much made of vet techs, so there’s a ton of fellow techs on the other end of your calls and emails, and we’re all rooting for you! 

California Tech Tiers 

Hello California! If you’ve read this far, I’m assuming you’re a Californian wondering, “What’s the deal? Why does the coolest state have different Tech Tiers?” I don’t need to tell you, Cali likes to march to the beat of their own drum and often leads the way on, well, quite a lot actually. Just try and find In-N-Out quality fast food in any other state. 

California law states that only Registered Veterinary Technicians can be independent contractors (hey, that’s what a Roo relief tech is!), so we didn’t include Tier 1 Veterinary Assistants in your state. This means California Tech Tiers are basically all shifted up one level — so CA Tier 1 is most equivalent to General Tier 2. You get the gist, here’s your checklists:

California Roo Registered Vet Tech Tiers Required Skills Checklist

CA Tier 1 > Tier 2 Seasoned Registered Vet Tech Skills Checklist 

To move up from Tier 1 to Tier 2 in California, you must be able to confidently perform:

  • Dental extractions
  • SQ, IM, IV injections (with or without a port)
  • Surgical closure of skin wounds
  • Ultrasound guided cystocentesis
  • Urinary catheter placement
  • And be comfortable recognizing emergencies and performing CPR

CA Tier 2 > Tier 3 ER/Speciality Registered Vet Tech Skills Checklist 

To move up from Cali Tier 2 to Tier 3, you must be able to confidently:

  • Assist the vet in emergencies or complex surgical procedures
  • Prep for surgery; perform anesthetic inductions, monitoring, and recovery; and administer fluids in complex surgical procedures
  • Use of an anesthesia ventilator
  • Perform advanced medical drug dose calculations and CRI’s
  • Place arterial and jugular catheters in the most difficult patients
  • Experience with critical animal care and nursing

CA Tier 3 > Tier 4 Seasoned ER/Speciality RVT Skills Checklist 

You may have noticed with all these Tiers moved up by one, that Tier 3 is pretty much General Tier 4. So where do you go from here? Well, the only way to go is up, baby! California Tier 4 is as hardcore as it gets for Roo Vet Techs. 

Here are the final skills you’ll need:

  • Placement and care of PICC lines and multi-lumen central lines
  • Chemotherapy treatment
  • CVP Measurement

Welcome to the top of the food chain!

Wrapping up with some real talk: being in a higher Tech Tier doesn’t make you better or worse than anybody else. Your Tech Tier is personal to you, and it’s a function of the time and effort you put in, the experience you’ve gained, and the skills you’ve learned. Every vet tech was Tier 1 at one point, and everyone deserves the opportunity to grow and learn. But there are literal lives on the line here, and no one wants to be faced with something they’re unprepared for with those stakes. 

If you want to earn more, have more shift opportunities, or simply learn new skills and become a better vet tech, Roo can help! Just give us a call or email hello@roo.vet, and we’ll come up with a plan to help you obtain your career goals together. 

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