A veterinary technician plays an important role in many animal clinics and hospitals. Just like a nurse assists a doctor, veterinary technicians assist veterinarians. They provide basic care to animal patients and help the veterinarian with other important daily tasks that keep the business running smoothly. Veterinary technician schools prepare students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in a veterinary setting.
Veterinary Technician Salary
As a vet tech, you probably won’t be buying that mansion in Beverly Hills or driving a Rolls Royce. But, veterinary technician salary is competitive within the health technician occupation group and veterinary technician schools can help you make the first step. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average veterinary technician salary is $29,710 per year, or about $14 per hour. For more information about salary rates in your area, see the veterinary technician salary by state table.
Getting paid is not the only benefit of the veterinary technician occupation. Unlike many other jobs, such as dialysis technician, instead of working with ill human patients, you get to work with animals. This is ideal for people who have a passion to help animals in need. Veterinary technician schools take that passion and turn it into a full-time career.
Veterinary Technician Job Description
The main job of a veterinary technician is to support the veterinarian by responsibly completing medium to highly difficult health-related tasks. A veterinary technician is responsible for running various tests and performing physical examinations under the supervision of a veterinarian to help diagnose illnesses or injuries of an animal. Some common veterinary technician job duties include:
- Observing behavior and comfort of animals.
- Provide emergency first aid or nursing care to injured animals.
- Administer anesthesia to animals.
- Perform laboratory tests (such as urinalysis and blood tests).
- Collect and record animal’s medical history.
- Provide front office business services (sales, phone calls, etc.).
How to Get Licensed
In order to get your veterinary technician credential, certificate, or license (depending on your state), you must first complete a training program from one of your local or online veterinary technician schools. Training is generally offered as bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs. Most veterinary technician programs are 2 years in duration. The bachelor’s degree program is usually for those students who want to work in a research environment and become a veterinary technologist.
Once training is completed, you may be required to take a final exam. You can find many resources to help you prepare for the exam, including online vet tech study guides.
Vet Tech Work Environment
According to the BLS, in 2010 there were over 80,000 veterinary technicians and technologists in the United States. 90% of those jobs were in private clinics, laboratories, and animal hospitals. In most cases working with animals is straight forward and enjoyable. But working in these environments may be emotionally stressful for some people who are not accustomed to seeing sick, abused, and injured animals. Also, veterinary technicians are more prone to injury due to the nature of their work: handling irritated and even angry animals. However, veterinary technician schools can help prepare you to deal with this work environment by building the skills and knowledge to adapt and approach the environment professionally.