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Old 01-30-2006
KristenB KristenB is offline
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Default Income

After reading interviews and researching quite a bit, I'm still considering becoming an ACO. Honestly, the only concern I have is the income. I hear it's relatively low (in the range of $25,000 seems to be the average) and while money isn't THAT important, I want enough to live comfortably. I don't care if I have a new car, awesome mansion, or anything like that. My parents made $35,000 last year and I want to be a little better off than we are. Of course, they probably just have poor budgeting skills. :P I just don't want to have to stress out about how to keep food on the table.

If it weren't for the low income, I would not HESITATE to become an ACO. But you can't have everything I guess. And I know it seems shallow to be worried about money and that it shouldn't matter, but realistically, it does.

I'm 18 and still have no clue what to do. I love art and animals and am good with computers. I'm starting out at a junior college just to help myself make the transition to college (I'm in a senior class of 6 at a PUBLIC school). I'm second in my class with a 3.88 GPA and while my mom states (no offence intended, this is MOM talking) that becoming an ACO is a "waste of brain", I believe differently. I know booksmarts don't count near as much as common sense, but I like to think I have a decent amount of that too. I may not go into AC right away, I may wait until later in my life. Or I may start out in it earlier in life and then move onto something else. But knowing me, I'll probably start out in it and end up in it for the rest of my life.

So what I'm basically getting at, is how comfortably does the average ACO live? I know it varies from state to state, but in your own personal experiences?
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Old 01-31-2006
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ILUVMAXINE ILUVMAXINE is offline
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Aw heck, I don't make $25,000 and I'm a supervisor. I must be crazy. Or maybe my desire to better the lives of our animals friends just outweighs any thought to responsible living.
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Old 01-31-2006
ACO278 ACO278 is offline
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I make about $18,000 after 2 years and as being only one of 2 ACO's here. As for the money and your mom, i don't feel my "brain is being wasted". I attended some college, but i wanted to go straight to work so i bartended for a looooong time. And now i have a job that i really love most of the time. Where i am the dispatchers are making more than i am to start. But its all in what you want to do. I couldn't sit around and answer the phone in an office all day, its what makes you happy that should matter.
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Old 01-31-2006
Gromlich Gromlich is offline
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if you were my daughter, like I have told her before, and wanted to do this job.................Stay in school and be a VET or vet tech. That way you make great money and stay off the streets, out of danger. I would not want to do anything other than what I do now. BUT growing up I wanted to be a Vet.
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Old 01-31-2006
KristenB KristenB is offline
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I thought about being a vet, but decided against it. Still considering being a vet tech, but I dunno.
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Old 01-31-2006
doggz109 doggz109 is offline
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Default depends on the area

The agency that I work for starts ACO's at $13.74/hr and then goes up to almost $16.00/hr once they are certified as a Humane Officer in the state. Then it is the usual 2-3% increase each year and it is a union position as well. Benefits include medical, dental, life, 10 days vacation to start, 403(b) account w/ small match, and 11 paid holidays. Overall its not too bad, but I live in an area that has $1,500 montly rents and the avg house costs over 500K!
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Old 01-31-2006
aco416iris aco416iris is offline
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Another point to mention is that whether you work for a humane society or municipal animal control plays a big role in the income. Smaller cities / towns will contract private humane societies (and their staff) to enforce and perform the animal control related duties. The private-sector factor really pulls down the pay and the officers usually make anywhere from $10-12 per hour. Once you get into the larger cities though that increases ALOT. The city I work for pays all by-law enforcement officers (parking control; animal control etc.) anywhere from $21-25 per hour, 40 hours per week depending on the job. It's definatly worth researching your options before ruling it either in or out beacuse of pay.
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Old 02-01-2006
five_dash_seven five_dash_seven is offline
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here in virginia beach, we are very fortunate. our starting pay for ACO I is around $25,000. we also get ~$8,000 in benefits a year (health insurance, retirement, ect) we also have a huge staff (21 officers, 6 caretakers). of course, we have our 'issuses' like everyone else, but all in all its a great career.

my fathers was a police officer for 28 years, and hes way stoked that i have made this my career.
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Old 02-01-2006
ACO278 ACO278 is offline
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Well it must be something about this job Gromlich, i also wanted to be a vet growing up but ended up in this job which i love. And Kristen i agree, with your GPA i'd go to veterinary school. Vet tech's don't make much money either. At least not here.
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Old 02-01-2006
doggz109 doggz109 is offline
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One thing to remember too is that if you are here for the long haul it can be financially rewarding. You may not start out at 35K or higher per year but after 10-15 years you may be in a supervisory role and making much more than that. You never know. Good luck on whatever your future holds!
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