Job Requirements for Large Animal and Equine Vet Techs
Zoo Vet Tech Education
As mentioned, educational and training requirements for zoo vet techs arerigorous – which is logical once one has reviewed the daily tasks required ofthis position. Here are the steps one must take to work as a zoo vet tech: * Graduate from a veterinary technology program approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). * Complete no less than five years (or 10,000 hours) of work experience in the field of zoo medicine. This experience cannot be more than seven years old at the point of application. * Complete at least 40 hours of continuing education in fields relevant to this specialty. The CE hours must have been taken no earlier than five years preceding the application to take the exam to become a veterinary technician specializing in zoological medicine. * Complete at least 40 case logs, at least five of which must be detailed case studies. These case studies must cover mammal, avian and reptile/amphibian categories, and be approved by a qualified supervisor. * Complete the advanced skills list, thereby establishing the ability to operate as a zoo veterinary technician. This requires the signature of a qualified co-worker or veterinarian. * Secure two letters of recommendation from qualified individuals. This includes letters from Academy of Veterinary Zoological Medicine Technicians (AVZMT) members, supervising zoological veterinarians, or Diplomates of the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM). * Upon completion of steps one through six, the candidate may sit for the AVZMT Examination in order to be certified as a zoological veterinary technician.
Where do Louisiana Vet Techs Work?
While many vet techs in the Creole State work in veterinary clinics andhospitals, they are also employed by farms, aquariums, biomedical researchlabs, animal sanctuaries, zoos, kennels, humane societies, universities, petstores, public policy organizations, and more. Some of these animal healthcareprofessionals work typical business hours, while others may be called upon towork nights, holidays, or weekends, depending on the needs of their patients.In addition to iHireVeterinary—a job hunting site specializing in animalhealthcare—Indeed boasts employment opportunities for vet techs at places suchas Monroe Animal Health, VCA Animal Hospitals, LaPlace Veterinary Hospital,Broussard Veterinary Clinic, Quality Pet Care, Banfield Pet Hospital, TulaneUniversity, Louisiana State University, Robinsons Rescue, and more.Additionally, some LA vet techs choose to specialize their skills and becomeveterinary technician specialists (VTS). The National Association ofVeterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) reports that there is an abundanceof professional credentialing societies and academies in areas such asdentistry, dermatology, critical care, zoological medicine, nutrition, avianmedicine, equine nursing, and animal behavior, to name a few.In order to become credentialed, candidates typically need to have documentedexperience in their subfield, proof of specialized education, and a passingscore on an exam. To learn more about how to become a VTS, please check outthe vet tech career page.
What Does a Vet Tech Do?
Before we get into the details of how to become a vet tech, let’s take a fewminutes to explore the job itself. Being a vet tech is an extremely rewardingjob, but it’s not for everyone.In your job as a vet tech, (or officially a veterinary technician) you willprovide direct care to sick and injured animals as well as help healthyanimals stay in good health. You will work under the supervision of a licensedveterinarian and with a team of other vet techs, vet assistants, and officestaff.Vet techs can work with dogs, cats, small animals, exotic animals, labanimals, farm animals, and even zoo animals. Your job is to provide front-linecare and do your best to keep your animal patients as comfortable as possibleduring their procedures.Here are some of the duties you will perform as a vet tech: * Provide first aid and nursing care to animals * Assist veterinarians with procedures and examinations * Prepare animals for surgery * Induce anesthesia * Assist in surgery * Help animals recover after surgery * Phlebotomy (collecting blood/fluid samples) * Place intravenous catheters * Monitor animal patients and document medical charts * Dispense prescription medication * Perform or assist with routine procedures like dental cleanings and vaccinations * Perform or assist with diagnostic testing like radiology, fecal tests, bloodwork, and urinalysis * Educate and work with pet owners to promote and maintain their pet’s healthZoie Barber, IMBC Vet Tech Student/Alumnus
Qualities of a Great Vet Tech
If you have an interest in science and a love for animals, becoming a vet techis an excellent career choice. As a vet tech, you will have the opportunity todevelop personal relationships with your animal patients and their owners overthe course of their lives.You have the power to make a significant difference in the lives of youranimal patients as well as their human companions with the level of care andeducation you provide both in the office and at the animal’s home.As you can imagine, being an animal lover is a must. However, you will alsoneed to be able to communicate professionally with the human owners of youranimal patients, who are likely to be upset if their animal is sick orinjured.To be a great vet tech you will need to have strong communication and animalhandling skills. You will also need to be able to work and maintain composurein stressful situations.Being a vet tech is a unique role that combines skills from many disciplinesincluding nursing, customer service, imaging, and lab work.
Where Do Vet Techs Work?
Vet techs can find employment in a variety of different environments. Being avet tech is a flexible career and you can easily transition betweenenvironments over the course of your career, expanding your skillset andchanging your scenery.Most vet techs work in one of the following environments: * Private clinics * Animal hospitals (including general, specialty, and emergency practices) * Animal shelters * Rescue leagues * Boarding facilities * ZoosHowever, if these settings do not interest you, there are other options. Vetstechs can also find employment in non-traditional settings. These include: * The military * Livestock facilities * Wildlife control services * Governmental agencies * Research labs * Pharmaceutical sales * Veterinary medical equipment salesWhat your typical day and work schedule may look like depends a lot on whereyou work and the type of employment you choose. If you work at a privateclinic, you will probably have regular business hours.If you work in an emergency facility, you will likely be expected to work someevenings, weekends, and holidays. Even if you expect to work a regularbusiness schedule, you should prepare to be flexible in this environment.It is not uncommon for vet techs to work late or through their lunch to carefor a sick animal patient. You might also come in on evenings and weekends totake care of hospitalized animals.You may be required to work some early morning shifts to admit patients forsurgery. Most vet techs are okay with this work schedule because they are ableto care for and save animals.
What Do Vet Techs Earn?
The annual median salary for a vet tech in the U.S. is $31,800. The middle 80%of vet techs earn between $21,890 and $47,410. This data represents all vettechs – including those who have been working for a while. If you are new tothe field, you should expect to earn less at first.The average hourly wage for a credentialed vet tech is $17.40. Vet techs whowork for research labs, governmental agencies, and colleges typically earn thehighest wages.Working in a specialty such as dentistry, animal behavior, surgery, oranesthesia will also earn you a higher wage. Like with any industry, yoursalary should increase with education and experience; and may vary betweenurban and suburban regions.
Vet Tech Employment Outlook
The employment outlook for vet techs is predicted to increase by 19% between2014 and 2024. This is significantly faster than the average outlook for alloccupations.You will likely not have to worry about securing employment as a vet tech, butmay have to relocate to find the right job. The industry growth is due tofactors including advances in technology leading to new diagnostic andprocedural capabilities, increased availability of specialized care, and achanging perception of pets in the family.Pet owners are seeking more complex and specialized care for their furryfamily members. This creates a demand for veterinary specialties includingdentists, orthopedic surgeons, and cardiologists.In turn, there has been an increase in demand for vet techs.
How to Become a Vet Tech
Now that you know why you should become a vet tech, let’s take a look at whatit takes to get there. The first thing you must to do to become a vet tech isto earn a high school diploma or GED.
Where Do Vet Techs in SC Work?
South Carolina’s veterinary technicians are employed in a wide range offacilities such as veterinary hospitals, specialty animal clinics (e.g.,behavioral, surgical, zoological, etc.), kennels, farms, researchorganizations, public policy groups, labs, pharmaceutical companies, zoos,universities, state and federal regulatory agencies, food inspection groups,and aquariums. Some SC vet techs work regular business hours—particularly ifthey’re involved in lab work or diagnostics—whereas others may be called uponto work evenings, weekends, or holidays to monitor the health of their animalpatients.One standout option for the job hunt in SC is iHireVeterinary, which hasposted vet tech openings at places such as the Pathway Vet Alliance, AlphaGenesis, Inc., VCA Animal Hospitals, Vector, Banfield Pet Hospital, SouthernVeterinary Partners, Carolina Veterinary Specialists, and more.Additionally, some vet techs in SC may find it advantageous to specialize andbecome a veterinary technician specialist (VTS). This process not onlyenhances a person’s skills in one particular field—areas such as behavior,surgery, clinical practice, pathology, dentistry, radiology, zoologicalmedicine, etc.—but also can enhance one’s resume and salary prospects.To learn more about how to become a VTS, visit the veterinary techniciancareers page.
Large Animal & Equine Vet Tech Salary Data
The median annual veterinary technician salary can vary for large animal andequine vet techs depending on where they work and their experience. However,the BLS indicates median nationwide pay for vet techs overall was $33,400, asof May 2018. The highest 10 percent earned up to $49,350 (or more) and thelowest 10 percent earned $22,880 or less. The BLS does not break down salaryby specific vet tech type, but the website ZipRecruiter (2019) notes that theaverage salary for large animal vet techs was $34,479 as of December 2019.This is roughly on par with the BLS (2019) average salary for all vet techs at$34,710.Please note that salaries vary widely by geographic region, degree attained,place of employment, experience, and certification status.
Equine Vet Tech Certification
Recent graduates may be able to increase their hiring and earning potential byobtaining certification. Generally, states have specific licensingrequirements that need to be met to be able to work in that state. However,when most vet techs graduate from an accredited program, they can apply totake the Veterinarian Technician National Examination (VTNE) through theAmerican Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). To qualify to sit forthe VTNE, candidates must check their specific state requirements.Upon passing, their results are sent to a state credentialing board throughwhich a student can apply for the local license or certification that isnecessary to become registered, certified, or licensed veterinary technicians(RVTs, CVTs, LVTs), depending on their state of residence. Equine vet techscan also seek membership in the American Association of Equine VeterinaryTechnicians (AAEVT), which boasts more than 1,000 people nationwide. Theorganization offers continuing education resources, wet labs, seminars,professional advocacy, and an annual conference.
Job Requirements for Large Animal and Equine Vet Techs
Large animal vet techs and equine vet techs should be prepared to be on calland work unusual hours when necessary; this could mean evenings and weekends.As well, they should be in good physical strength as some of their work mayinvolve restraining large-sized animals. Consider that the weight of a horsecan average between 880 to 2,200 pounds and the average weight of a dairy cowis 1,400 pounds.The BLS (2019) also notes that those considering a career as a vet tech shouldpossess qualities such as compassion, which can be helpful when working withsick animals and upset owners. They also need to be detail-oriented, havestrong communication skills, and possess manual dexterity—the latter which ishelpful when needing to restrain animals, give animals shots, or assist withsurgery.