Vet technicians provide invaluable services to veterinarians and the community at large. Most vet technicians work in private clinics, and perform various medical exams and tests related to the treatment and care of pets. Some of these tasks include taking blood and tissue samples, dental exams, ear cleaning and exams, and other common duties. Typically, vet techs are under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, much like how nurses are complimentary to physicians.
Many techs work in private clinics that specialize in either small animals, such as cats, dogs, and other family pets, or focus on large animals such as livestock. The two practices are generally quite different, and except for very remote locations where it is a necessity, most vet practices do not cover both areas of practice.
Less commonly, vet techs may work in research, especially biomedical facilities where animal care is a necessity. In these situations, techs may be responsible for meticulous record keeping, such as keeping track of vitals, administering medications, and take careful notes of observation.
Veterinary technicians typically enjoy a generous salary, in no small part due to the nationwide shortage, which expected to continue at least for the next decade. According to recently released government data, the average salary for vet techs is around $29,000 per year.
Interestingly, the range of salaries for vet techs is quite large. This is for a multitude of reasons, including experience accrued, the possibility of advancement as a supervisor, and differences in the cost of living between different environments, such as rural versus urban. In any event, statistics indicate that the middle fifty percentile earned between $23 and $35,000 per year.
The top tenth percentile of veterinary techs earn north of $40,000 per year. Many of these individuals are in higher income settings, such as supervisors, research assistants, and other jobs with greater responsibilities than average. The lowest paying jobs register at around $20,000 per year, and are generally in rural areas where demand is less and competition for employment is more widespread.
Currently, individuals wishing to become vet techs are faced with a couple of critical facts to consider before pursing such a career. There is a nationwide shortage of qualified veterinary technicians and technologists, and as such, the demand means job seekers are in the driver's seat, able to receive great salaries, benefits, and working conditions.
However, the reason for the shortfall in vet techs is because of the limited number of qualified, accredited vet technician schools available. Even though new schools are opening all the time, there simply are not enough graduates from vet tech training programs to satisfy the need of employers such as veterinary offices and private clinics.
Most techs opt to pursue a two year course of study from a community or junior college program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA. There are about one hundred and sixty such programs, spread out across forty-five states.
As a vet, you will be required to perform a number of jobs depending on your place of employment. Many technical skills are required, most of which have some basis in medicine. Depending on whether one is specializing in large or small animals, most techs will be expected to be able to draw blood, take temperatures (rectally as well), supervise anesthesia, administer medications and much more.
The most basic vet technician jobs require basic skills like being able to observe and record vital signs, such as heart and breathing rate. Outside of the exam room, many vet technicians will be responsible for good record keeping, including administrative tasks such as typing, filing, and billing.
In order to find a good job as a vet technician, you'll want to have stellar marks on your courses from the VT program, as well as glowing references and recommendations. Volunteering in an animal shelter or clinic is another great way to show your commitment to the treatment of animals. Combine all elements in your resume and you'll be sure to land a great job.
The duties required for a vet technician vary widely depending on the environment in which one practices. Most qualified training programs provide a wide range of job skills which will then be further refined and specialized once employed. The typical job description for a vet tech is being able to perform basic exams and lab testing techniques.
Among these, a vet technician is expected to be able to perform a physical exam, monitor vital signs such as temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and record notes and observations regarding the medical treatment of animals. Of course, a vet tech does much more than this, depending on the setting.
For example, a large animal clinic in a rural setting may deal primarily with livestock, while a small animal clinic in the city would deal largely with family pets. Think carefully ahead of time about where you envision yourself working, and then focus on the electives that make the most sense to you during your training.
Vet technician colleges are licensed and accredited by two organizations in North America, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). The colleges typically grant a two or three year degree for the training program, and grant an associate's degree upon completion.
Technically, if one wishes, he or she can complete a full four year program in veterinary technology, thus becoming a technologist instead of a technician, but these individuals are a relative minority compared to the former group. Clinical skill is another vital part of vet technician colleges and must be obtained to complete the educational experience.
Online vet technician college training is available as well, and the AVMA accredits programs for distance learning through the internet. However, it is important to note that any course will require extensive practical experience which must be completed in a lab or clinic, and thus one's presence will be needed.
In order to be a veterinary technician, one must attend a training program that teaches the basics of the position. The education requirements for a vet tech are varied, but can be summarized by the following. Firstly, a student should have a high school diploma or general education diploma. Students should focus on biology and other life sciences during this early part of their schooling.
Once ready, a prospective vet tech should identify local programs through junior and community colleges that are certified by national organizations, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). It is important to select one of these programs as their education requirements are generally thought to be of the highest standard.
Ultimately, the vet tech will be expected to graduate from the program with either and associates or bachelor's degree (most opt for the two year process) and then be required to pass a national or state exam in order to practice. These requirements vary depending on the state and country in which one wishes to practice veterinary medicine.
In order to be a vet technician, several requirements must be met. First and foremost, one must obtain a college degree. In most instances, that degree will be an associate of science, from a nationally accredited training program licensed by the governing veterinary association. However, getting a degree is only part of the requirements to practice veterinary medicine.
Vet technicians must also pass an exam in order to obtain their credentials. In the United States, vet techs are expected to take not only the Veterinary Technician National Exam, but also a written exam put forth by the state board in charge of licensing. Note that not all states require such a test to be administered.
Ultimately, vet technicians are licensed and regulated in a wide range of practices that vary from state to state. Licensed veterinary technicians, registered veterinary technicians, and certified techs all are equivalent positions across the country.
There are a vast number of vet technician programs to choose from across the nation. The training varies depending on the academic institution which you choose to attend. Most vet techs choose to complete a two year program from a community college, vocational school, or junior college, and as a result earn an associate's degree in science. When evaluating which program to enroll in, make sure you check with the national veterinary medical association for your country (in the United States and Canada; other nations have similar groups).
When considering a vet technician program, there are a myriad of factors to evaluate. Besides obvious issues like location and tuition expenses, try to find out information about alumni job placement and graduation rates. Since all vet techs are required to pass a national licensing exam, also ask about what percentage of students pass on their first attempt.
In recent years, a number of vet technician programs have begun offering online training. While this form of distance learning can be quite effective, especially for those who have scheduling conflicts, it only covers the most basic parts of the curriculum. Classroom instruction may be substituted in this manner, but practical and lab experience will still require in person attendance.
Vet technician training is a lengthy but rewarding process that begins with a solid classroom education. Individuals wishing to pursue a career as a vet tech should start with good grades in their high school courses, especially biology. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission to a vet tech training program, which is offered at a variety of junior and community colleges across the country.
Vet technician training programs are national regulated by the American Veterinary Medicine Association, or in Canada by the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association. Other countries have similar programs, so make sure to begin your list of potential training programs by ensuring that the ones you are looking at are fully accredited.
Once a vet tech has obtained his or her degree, the training is still not complete. In order to practice animal medicine, the individual must pass at least the National Veterinary Technician Exam, and in many cases, a second exam administered by the state licensing board where the tech wishes to be employed.
The vet technician certification process is a multi stage endeavor. The first step is to graduate from a nationally accredited training program or equivalent. For individuals who have moved from a foreign country or do not have the degree, most states will still allow certification, but additional coursework may be required.
Besides the classroom experience, in order to be certified vet techs must also pass a national exam, known as the National Veterinary Technician Exam, administered by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. In addition, most states require passing a second written exam from their own licensing board. The certification test may also include essay and verbal questions.
Vet technicians also need a certain number of clinical experience hours in many states in order to become certified. These hours can be from a variety of work environments, such as animal hospitals, private care clinics, or research projects. Generally it will also involve a preceptor or veterinarian who the student will shadow for the duration of the clerkship.