Veterinary Technician: Education & Work

veterinary technician

Veterinary technicians are one of the main technical supports which assists veterinarians in treating and caring for animals.

In order to become a veterinary technician, those interested are required to attend a college program which is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The coursework of such college programs is comprehensive and provides future veterinary technicians with the knowledge and technical expertise necessary to assists veterinary doctors in all aspects of animal care. A veterinary technician degree is usually a two-year associate degree which can also be a preparatory means for further studies for a four-year bachelor’s degree in animal studies or advancement into veterinary studies.

Most veterinary technician programs require a high school diploma before enrollment. Aside from studies in the classroom setting, veterinary technology students also receive practical hands-on experience through externships at veterinary hospitals or clinics.

Types of Degrees and Credentials

There are three main types of credentials towards which a veterinary technician can work: Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), and the most advanced degree in the field, Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT).

What Does a Veterinary Technician Do?

As mentioned above, a veterinary technician is involved in all aspects of animal care, assisting one or more doctors of veterinary medicine.

As the title states a veterinary technician is responsible for taking care of the technical tasks of the animal care process in order to allow the veterinarian the time and freedom to focus on the main task of diagnosis and treatment of the animals in her care.

Some of the tasks for which a veterinary technician will be responsible include:

  • Phlebotomy (drawing blood)
  • Assisting during surgical procedures
  • Management of animals under anesthesia
  • Caring for animals recovering from surgery
  • Administering medication
  • Assist the veterinarian during examinations
  • Perform dental cleaning procedures
  • Prepare for and perform laboratory tests

Earning Potential for Veterinary Technicians

Compared to other fields of work, an entry level job as a veterinary technician can earn a handsome salary, generally starting around low- to mid-thirty-thousand range, with more experienced and better educated technicians earning as much as forty or fifty thousand dollars per year. These numbers depend heavily on level of education, experience, and location of the job.

Is it the Right Career Choice for You?

If you are considering pursuing a career as a veterinary technician, then you must be an animal lover; this doesn’t mean that you like pictures of cute baby animals, but are genuinely drawn to animals of all type and love spending time and interacting with them. Aside from a true love of animals and a desire to provide care for them is the ability to be patient with people, in addition to animals. In most cases, if you are working in a veterinary clinic, you will be dealing with pet owners who treat their pets as members of the family and sensitive about how their pets are treated, so having a friendly personality and the ability to empathize is a very important part of personality traits that are important to a veterinary technician.

Additionally, since veterinary technicians will assist veterinarians during surgery and the convalescence, it is important to be confident, and have the ability to deal with every challenge that a surgical procedure will have.

If you are considering a career in this field, you should ideally contact a local veterinary clinic, and ask them to allow you to observe what a day in the life a veterinary technician looks like.


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