Welcome to the world of veterinary technicians, or as they are often called – vet techs. Also known as friends of fur-babies, calmers of humans, and an absolute necessity in a veterinary practice. Yes, this particular breed of healthcare hero holds a special place in the hearts of people far and wide for their compassion and care for the pets we hold so near and dear! If you’re contemplating a future as a vet tech and wondered what life as a veterinary technician is really like, you’ve come to the right place. Because we’re breaking it down and covering everything from the training and work environment, to what an ordinary day is like when you’re in the thick of it helping pets of every shape and size! Let’s start with what a day in the life of vet tech looks like.
A Day in the Life of a Vet Tech
Being a vet tech is a busy and rewarding job that involves working closely with animals of all kinds and their owners. A typical day for a vet tech can be anything but typical, but might include performing all or some of the following:
- Performing routine check-ups and triage
- Assisting in surgeries
- Administering medication or immunizations
- Drawing blood or other samples for lab work
- Recording and monitoring vital signs
- Dental care
- Updating patient records
- Communicating and educating clients
- Performing x-rays
- Sterilizing exam rooms or equipment
On an average day, a vet tech might start the day by preparing the clinic for appointments, checking in with the veterinarian, and reviewing patient charts. Throughout the day, they’ll often perform a variety of duties, such as taking vital signs, collecting blood samples, and assisting with diagnostic imaging.
You might think of a vet tech as only ever working in an animal hospital or veterinary clinic. But one of the most interesting aspects of being a veterinary technician is the variety of different work environments you can choose from depending on your interests. Vet techs can be found working in bustling city animal hospitals, rural farms, research laboratories, zoos, and even animal rescues and sanctuaries.
Overall, the wide variety of work environments available to vet techs means that you can find a career that fits your interests and personality. Whether you thrive in a fast-paced animal hospital or prefer a more serene farm setting, there is a work environment out there for you.
Training and Certification Requirements
To become a vet tech, it’s typically necessary to earn a two-year associate degree in veterinary technology from an accredited institution. The coursework in these programs includes classes in animal anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and disease prevention and treatment. In addition, students gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations and internships in veterinary clinics. Upon completion of a veterinary technology program, prospective vet techs may also need to pass a certification exam. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) offers the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), which is recognized in most states and provinces across North America.
It’s important to note that some states and provinces have their own certification or licensing requirements for veterinary technicians. For example, in California, veterinary technicians must be licensed through the California Veterinary Medical Board. Certification requirements may also differ based on the specific type of veterinary medicine practiced. For instance, in the field of laboratory animal medicine, certification may be obtained through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
Maintaining certification may also require continuing education. Vet techs are expected to stay updated with the latest advancements and techniques in animal healthcare and may be required to take a certain number of continuing education courses or complete a certain number of hours of on-the-job training to renew their certification.
Characteristics of a Vet Tech
Being a vet tech isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. It requires a special person to thrive in this fast-paced and emotionally demanding profession. Here are some characteristics of a successful vet tech:
- Compassionate: A good vet tech is compassionate and empathetic towards animals and their owners. They should have a genuine love for animals and a desire to help them. They must also be able to understand and relate to pet owners and their emotions.
- Patience: Patience is key when dealing with animals, especially those that are scared, sick or injured. A vet tech must have the ability to remain calm and composed in stressful situations.
- Detail-Oriented: Attention to detail is crucial when it comes to veterinary medicine. A vet tech must be able to follow protocols and instructions closely and ensure that medications are administered correctly and at the right times.
- Good Communication Skills: A vet tech should be able to communicate clearly with pet owners, veterinarians, and other team members. They must also be able to communicate with animals through body language and other non-verbal cues.
- Team Player: Veterinary medicine is a team effort, and a good vet tech should be a team player. They must be willing to work alongside other team members and communicate effectively to provide the best care for their patients.
- Physical Endurance: Vet techs often work long hours, and the job can be physically demanding. They must have the strength and stamina to lift and restrain animals, as well as stand or kneel for extended periods of time.
These are just some of the traits that a successful veterinary technician should possess. A combination of these qualities, along with the right training and certification, can make a huge difference in the quality of care a vet tech can ultimately provide to their animal patients.
Career Outlook for Vet Techs
When you look at the number of projected job openings for vet techs between now and 2031, it’s pretty clear that people – love their pets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for vet techs is projected to grow by a whopping 20% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. As pet ownership increases and more pet owners seek out advanced medical care for their pets, the demand for qualified veterinary technicians will only continue to grow.
Not only is job growth for vet techs expected to be strong, but salaries are also increasing. The median annual salary for veterinary technicians in 2021 was $36,850, with the top 10% earning over $48,100. As vet techs gain more experience and take on additional responsibilities, they may be eligible for higher salaries and other benefits.
Veterinary technicians can also pursue additional training and certifications to advance their careers. Many vet techs choose to specialize in areas such as anesthesia, emergency and critical care, or dentistry. These specialties can lead to higher salaries and more job opportunities as well.
Overall, the career outlook for vet techs is promising. With strong job growth, increasing salaries, and opportunities for advancement, the future for vet techs is looking pretty bright! And while there are certainly going to be occasional challenging situations to deal with, being a vet tech is a fulfilling career that allows animal lovers to make a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. If you’d like to learn more about a career as a vet tech, please visit MyCareers Job Portal for more information about the vet tech training programs in your area. Additionally, you can also register at MyCareers Community to stay updated on the latest news and career trends in the healthcare industry.