Veterinary Technician Job Description

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Veterinary Technician Job Duties


The job of a veterinary technician involves much communication andcollaboration with a veterinarian. The veterinary technician is involved inevery aspect of animal healthcare. On a daily basis, vet techs will routinelyadminister medications, take x-rays, process tissue samples, and assist inboth surgery and emergency care. Vet techs are also entrusted with performinglab tests, which include urinalysis or blood counts.Vet techs are required to do a lot of hands-on work, but that does not excludethem from performing clerical work. They are also responsible for maintainingdetailed and accurate records, which applies to animals, medications andsupplies. This is why professional vet techs must be multi-dimensional intheir overall skillset.Veterinary technicians can also become immersed in high-pressure situations,as wounded animals are often facing life-or-death situations when brought intoan animal healthcare facility. Therefore, a vet tech must display bothcalmness and efficiency. Much like nurses in the medical profession, vet techscan be a source of comfort for pet owners who may be facing a difficultsituation.Becoming a veterinary technician translates into an exciting career thatprovides a valuable service for animals and their owners. These job duties arean example of why vet techs are expected to complete hands-on training inaddition to classroom work before they can begin their professional career.That combination adequately prepares them for what is both a busy andrewarding work environment.

Veterinary Technician Pay And Job Prospects


The average national salary for a veterinary technician is $35,320 per year,according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (circa May 2019). Thosestatistics also report that the top 10 percent of veterinary technicians inthe nation earn a salary of more than $51,230 annually. The level ofexperience and location of the job both play a key role in determining a vettech’s salary.Veterinary technicians are growing in number, with more than 112,900 nowworking within the United States as of 2019. Over the next decade, 18,300veterinary technician positions are expected to become available across thecountry. The upgrade in yearly healthcare provided to animals has had apositive effect on the vet tech profession. In order to meet the increaseddemand for veterinary healthcare, veterinary facilities are opening andexpanded at an accelerated pace, thus creating many new jobs for veterinarytechnicians. For the past few years, economists have continued to call theveterinary field one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. Thatidea has also been supported by the rising number of new veterinarians, whichcreates an even greater demand for more vet techs.

Veterinary Technician Education


In order to become a veterinary technician, one must earn an associate ofapplied science degree in veterinary technology. This normally takes two yearsof education for students who attend an AVMA (American Veterinary MedicalAssociation) – accreditedcollege on a full-time basis. Alternatively, someschools offer two-year degrees in animal science with a specialization inveterinary technology. In order to gain admission to any of these programs,applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalency.The veterinary technology curriculum is very detailed and often requires acertain amount of observation hours within a veterinary hospital. Someprograms require students to complete externships or internships in order toattain the necessary field training. The overall coursework needed to attain adegree involves an in-depth exploration of subjects like animal behavior, vetpathology, clinical practices, biochemistry, animal pharmacology and muchmore.This degree prepares students to enter a bachelor’s degree program in animalscience, if desired. It can also serve as a stepping stone for an ongoingeducation with the ultimate goal of becoming a veterinarian. However, it isnot necessary to have those two extra years of schooling required forveterinarians in order to begin work as a veterinary technician.

Veterinary Technician Licensing


Each state is entrusted with setting its own guidelines for the licensing ofits veterinary technicians. In most instances, this involves passing a state-issued exam after completing the necessary educational requirements. Moststates use the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) for licensingpurposes. This examination is comprised of 200 multiple choice questions andmust be completed within four hours. Some states may require their own statelicensing exam to be passed after passing the VTNE.As each state operates its licensing protocol differently, you must contactyour state licensing board of veterinary medicine. They can provide you withthe exact details on which steps to take in order to procure a license. Alisting of veterinary state board websites can be found here. A license isalso subject to renewal and requires a fee to do so within an allotted periodof time (as well as completion of continuing education in some cases).

Where Do Veterinary Technicians Work


Veterinary technicians may find work in any kind of establishment that is hometo a veterinarian. Private veterinary practices are a common workplace for vettechs. Animal hospitals and pet clinics also require the services of aveterinary technician. Humane Societies and animal shelters hire multiple vettechs as well. Research labs can even employ veterinary technicians to helpprovide care to animals and also check for any signs of ill health. Othertypes of workplaces for vet techs include veterinary teaching hospitals,livestock and equine facilities, zoos, exotic animal facilities, and rescueorganizations. In all of those aforementioned workplaces, vet tech dutiesremain relatively the same, although there may be more of an emphasis oncertain job functions according to each location.

Veterinary Technician vs. Veterinarian


Although the names sound similar, there are distinct differences betweenveterinary technicians and veterinarians. Review the table below for an ideaof the general differences:| Veterinary Technicians| Veterinarians —|—|— Required education| Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology|Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Exam| Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)| North AmericanVeterinary License Examination (NAVLE) Job function| Assisting role| Supervisory, directing role Job duties| Perform preparatory work: prepare treatment rooms for surgery,prepare animals for surgery and maintain laboratory equipment. Restrain andhold animals during treatment.| Provide treatment by examining animals,performing surgery, prescribing medications, setting bones and dressingwounds. Ability to administer drugs| Administer medications under supervision only|Can prescribe and administer medications

What is the job outlook for veterinary technicians, and where are these


jobs available?According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 84,800 veterinarytechnicians and technologists in 2012, and in the 2012-2022 time frame, 25,000new jobs are likely in this field.These are the five industries with the highest levels of employment ofveterinary technicians and technologists:INDUSTRY| EMPLOYMENT —|— Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services| 81,480 Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools| 2,240 Social Advocacy Organizations| 1,140 Scientific Research and Development Services| 710 Federal Executive Branch| 560 The states with the highest levels of employment of veterinary technicians andtechnologists include Texas, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Veterinary Technician Job Description


Veterinary Technicians use their knowledge and skills to assist veterinariansin the care and treatment of animals. A Veterinary Technician works closelywith supervising veterinarians to provide preventive care, diagnose injuriesand illnesses and perform medical procedures on dogs, cats, small mammals,reptiles and birds. Some Veterinary Technicians also work with horses, cattleand other large animals. Although the job requires a great deal ofcollaboration with veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians also have theopportunity to work independently.Veterinary Technicians typically report to a veterinarian or practice manager.In some cases, they assign tasks to volunteers or office workers. Animalhospitals, small-animal practices, veterinary clinics, animal shelters,kennels and large-animal practices employ Veterinary Technicians to care for avariety of animals. The number of jobs available in this field is expected togrow by 19 percent through 2022, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Veterinary Technician Duties and Responsibilities


The primary responsibility of a Veterinary Technician is providing basic careto animals that come to a veterinary practice or animal hospital. To provideadequate care, a Veterinary Technician must perform a variety of duties. Welooked at several job listings to identify the core duties of a VeterinaryTechnician.Obtain Case HistoriesIt’s important for the veterinarian to know as much as possible about ananimal’s diet, exercise routine and home environment. A Veterinary Techniciangathers this information by asking what kind of food the animal eats and howmuch exercise it gets. If an animal is ill, the Veterinary Technician asks ifit spends a lot of time outside or has access to table scraps, cleaningproducts or other potentially harmful substances.Collect Laboratory SpecimensBlood, urine and stool samples are used to diagnose viruses, bacterialinfections and other diseases. Veterinary Technicians collect these samplesand run simple laboratory tests.Prepare Animals for SurgeryBefore a veterinarian performs surgery, a Veterinary Technician prepares theanimal by shaving and sterilizing the surgical site, administering sedativesand performing other pre-operative procedures. Veterinary Technicians alsoassist veterinarians during surgery.Educate Animal OwnersVeterinary Technicians teach animal owners how to administer medication andperform basic medical procedures at home. In many cases, a VeterinaryTechnician is also responsible for answering questions about general pet care.Assist in Veterinary ExamsIt’s difficult to perform a thorough examination on a wiggling animal, so aVeterinary Technician assists with every exam. The Veterinary Technician mayhave to hold the animal in a certain position, hand instruments to theveterinarian or record an animal’s vital signs.

Veterinary Technician Skills


Veterinary Technicians must have a blend of technical skills and interpersonalskills to succeed in the industry. Communication skills are especiallyimportant, as Veterinary Technicians spend much of their time talking withveterinarians, office personnel, clients and vendors. Employers wantVeterinary Technician candidates who also have the following skills.Core skills: After reviewing several job postings, we determined thatveterinarians want to hire Veterinary Technicians with the following skills.If you are interested in working as a Veterinary Technician, spend timelearning how to do the following. * Administering medications to animals in a safe manner * Restraining animals during exams and procedures * Taking vital signs accurately and collecting lab samples * Performing first aid on sick animals * Maintaining laboratory equipment * Providing post-operative care to a variety of animalsAdvanced skills: Not every practice requires Veterinary Technicians to havethe following skills, but several postings did list them as preferred. Developthese additional Veterinary Technician skills to improve your standing as acandidate. * Performing dental exams and dental cleanings * Training new employees to perform veterinary procedures * Using AVImark practice-management software

Veterinary Technician Q & A


Thinking about pursuing a career as a Veterinary Technician? While lovinganimals certainly is a prerequisite for the occupation, the job entails somuch more, Jasmine Black-Regan of Best Friends Animal Society tells us. Weasked Black-Regan what it’s like to work as a Veterinary Technician. Here’swhat she had to say.What’s the most rewarding part about being a Veterinary Technician?Having a patient, such as a cat with a blockage of the urinary tract, come inon the brink of death, and then seeing them walk out the front door. Thetechnician plays such an important role in the care of the patients.What skills do you use every day?Math is an important one – sorry to break it to you, but you’ll use thealgebra you thought you wouldn’t need after high school every day as aVeterinary Technician. Ingenuity is another one: When you are staring down theeyes of an uncooperative patient that has 30 sharp teeth, 20 claws and an “ohno you don’t” attitude getting the blood draw can take some fancy thinking.Patience comes into play every day, as well. Lastly: a sense of humor.Sometimes you just have to laugh when at the end of the day you are coveredhead to toe in activated charcoal, there is a foul odor coming from the soleof your shoe, there is vomit in your hair and silver nitrate stains on yourhands.Who succeeds in this job?There are a few qualities I possess that have supported me through out mycareer: compassion, dedication, empathy and accountability – this is the mostimportant character trait and one that I look for in every tech I hire. Yourpatient’s life is in your hands every day, and it is your responsibility tohelp your patient in every way you know how.How should someone prepare for a career as a Veterinary Technician?I knew that being a Veterinary Technician was what I wanted to do for the restof my life, so I decided that going to school was best for me. I didn’t wantto only give the anesthesia; I wanted to know what the medicine l was going todo to my patient. I tried out all sorts of practices: I worked in generalpractice, emergency medicine, teaching hospitals and animal welfare/animalrescue until I found the right practice for me which is Best Friends AnimalSociety. I also recommend smelling awful things until you have significantlylowered your gag reflex.Are there any misconceptions people have about being a Veterinary Technician?That we spend all day working with cute puppies and kittens – I wish! We spendall day holding the lives of our patients in our hands and administering theproper care that will make their lives livable. I spent one week with 14puppies. Every morning at 4 a.m. I got up, went to work and treated all 14puppies infected with Parvo. So did I work with puppies all day? Yes, you cansay I did but I also did so much more.

Veterinary Technician Resources


We searched for resources to help you learn more about the veterinary fieldand determine if you have what it takes to become a Veterinary Technician. Usethese books, industry groups, and websites to learn new skills and meet otherveterinary professionals.On the WebVetMedTeam: Access free continuing-educational materials to help you become abetter Veterinary Technician.American Association of Veterinary State Boards: Find out if you are eligibleto take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).IDEXX: Learn more about providing veterinary care to cats, dogs and smallanimals.Industry GroupsNational Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA): Join NAVTAto take advantage of networking opportunities, survey data, and resourcescreated specifically for Veterinary Technicians.Veterinary Support Personnel Network (VSPN): Access a community forum andlibrary of resources for Veterinary Technicians and other veterinary supportpersonnel.American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians & Assistants (AAEVTA):Join AAEVTA to meet other equine Veterinary Technicians.Veterinary Technician BooksMaster the Veterinary Technician National Exam: Improve your chances ofpassing the Veterinary Technician National Exam.An Illustrated Guide to Veterinary Medical Terminology: Brush up on theterminology you need to succeed as a Veterinary Technician.Mosby’s Veterinary PDQ: Use this guide as a reference any time you have aquestion about animal care, medications, or other veterinary topics.

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