A veterinary technician provides direct care to animals, usually in a private veterinary, laboratory, or animal hospital. A veterinary technician handles and provides nursing care for injured or ill animals under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. To become a vet tech, you must attend a 2-year associate’s program in veterinary technology at accredited veterinary technician colleges or online veterinary technician training program.
Veterinary Technician Colleges
Becoming a veterinary technician generally requires a 2-year associates degree in a veterinary technician training program. Veterinary technician colleges offer courses in an on-campus setting, as well as online. In 2011 there were over 190 veterinary technology programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Much of the coursework focuses on animal biology, chemistry, and behavior. There are other basic courses in science and math that are required to become a veterinary technician. This knowledge is important when working with animals, and especially valuable when taking measurements and conducting laboratory work.
Veterinary Technician Exam
Every state regulates veterinary technicians different. Once the student has completed all necessary coursework, most states require the student to pass a credentialing exam. Most veterinary technician colleges and accredited programs utilize the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) as the standard. Depending on the state, students must pass an exam to become licensed, certified, or registered in order to practice. Once they have received the proper credentials, they can begin working with animals in a veterinary setting.
Veterinary Technician Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the veterinary technician job outlook are excellent. They have predicted a 52% growth in the field over between 2010 and 2020. That means that nearly 41,000 veterinary technician jobs will be created in the next period. This is good news!
With the economy doing poorly, many people are wondering what career choices are smart for the future. Students are graduating and finding no work in their field or extreme competition. With a career as a veterinary technician, there is no worry. The job outlook for veterinary technicians is just the opposite! Now is the perfect time to find local or online veterinary technician colleges.
Skills of a Vet Tech
A veterinary technician will be working closely with animals, owners, other technicians, and doctors on a daily basis. This requires a unique skill set, much of which can be learned during the formal education process at veterinary technician colleges. There are also some other qualities that can help a veterinary technician become more successful:
Empathy. It is important to treat all animals with kindness and compassion, regardless of their demeanor.
Social Skills. Working with animals often means working with the animal’s owner. Having the ability to calm a worried owner or help them make a difficult decision is a valuable quality. It is also very important to have the social skills necessary to work and communicate with your co-workers.
Physicality. As a veterinary technician, you may be asked to lift heavy equipment, animal food, or animals. Dexterity is also important when handling animals, instruments, or laboratory samples.
Detail Oriented. A vet tech is constantly being bombarded with information. The veterinarian is giving instructions, taking measurements, and much more. A good vet tech can pay close attention to detail and ensure that all actions and information are accurate.
Veterinary Technician Salary
One of the main reasons students choose a career path as a veterinary technician is the competitive salary. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of a veterinary technician was $29, 710 in 2010, or about $15/hour. This has likely increased since that time due to the expected 52% growth rate of the veterinary technician occupation. It is important to keep in mind that this an average wage, usually determined by location. The veterinary technician is an entry level position and many people choose to continue their education to become a veterinary technologist or veterinarian and earn a much greater salary. Veterinary technician colleges will help you get your foot in the door and begin your climb up the income ladder.
Veterinary technician colleges try to prepare each student for the real workplace. But like in every occupation, there are good and bad parts about the veterinary technician work environment. Many people enter the veterinary field because of their love for animals. Having cute animals as patients all day may seem as a dream job for many. However, it’s not ever that simple. Most veterinary offices and hospitals do have a calm flow of business. However, you may be exposed to dangerous situations more often than in other occupations, due to aggressive animals. There is a much higher chance that you will be hurt. Most vet techs complain about being scratched, kicked, or bit while handling injured or ill animals. The hours of a veterinary technician range, depending on the business operation. Most private clinics have regular hours, open only during the day. However, emergency clinics and animal hospitals may have 24-hour shifts and on-call responsibilities.