What is The Job Outlook for Vet Techs?
Published on July 30, 2019 by arothstein
A veterinary technician or vet tech is one of the most valued team members in any veterinary practice. A vet tech can perform a variety of duties in an environment that’s geared toward the care and well-being of animals. A vet tech must work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
Although a vet tech can perform a variety of medical-related duties in the practice, there are also certain functions they’re prohibited from including prescribing medications and making a diagnosis. Most importantly, veterinarian is responsible for the vet tech that cares for animals in their practice.
The Job Outlook for a Vet Tech
Working as a vet tech is one of the most rewarding career choices for any animal lover. Not only can you provide medical care for a variety of domestic and exotic animals, but you can give emotional support to pet parents who are stressed about their pet’s illness or injury.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for qualified vet techs is expected to grow by 20% between 2016 and 2026. The statistics are great news for anyone who loves animals, wants to educate pet owners about their care, as well as work in a fascinating field.
Why The Field Continues to Grow
Pet ownership statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2018 – 2019 show that 49% of all American households have at least one pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that there are 77 million dogs and 58 million cats in this country. The increase in pets also means that more veterinary technicians are needed to perform services on domestic pets.
Another factor in the demand for qualified veterinary technicians is that training and education to become a vet tech is relatively easy. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards offers a variety of study guides so graduates can assess their strengths and determine which areas require more study before taking the VTNE.
What a Vet Tech Does & How They Do It
First Impressions Matter
When a client brings their pet to the vet for an examination, the vet tech is often the first person they meet. A genuine love for animals is one of the essential qualities of a successful vet tech, but interpersonal skills are a must. The technician must listen to what the client is saying and take down all the relevant information accurately.
What Happens During an Exam?
The vet tech’s job is essential to any medical practice because they can handle duties and assist veterinarians. Although most of the job of a vet tech revolves around caring for animals, they may be responsible for some of the clerical work of the practice.
A vet tech listens to the pet parent to find out if the reason for the visit is a routine examination or if there’s a specific problem that must be addressed. The vet tech then weighs the animal and takes their temperature. The vet tech puts all the information about the pet in their medical record and takes note of any concerns.
What Are the Duties of a Vet Tech?
Although most states provide an outline of the job of a veterinary technician, most aren’t specific about the duties a vet tech may perform. However, state laws are specific about the responsibilities a vet tech may not perform and includes surgery, diagnosing medical problems, and prescribing medications.
Here are the duties a vet tech may perform on the job:
- The vet tech may perform routine laboratory and clinical procedures including taking blood and other fluid samples, as well as diagnostic tests.
- One of the assets of a vet tech is to have a calm demeanor, no matter what’s happening on the job.
- The vet tech will have to record the pet’s medical history accurately.
- The veterinarian uses all the information on the pet’s medical history to diagnose any problems and treat them effectively.
- Veterinary technicians can’t prescribe medications. However, a vet tech explains the drug to the pet’s owner, which includes administration and side effects.
Exciting Opportunities for Vet Techs
In addition to these roles, there are also other opportunities that vet techs may encounter while on-the-job. Some of the exciting opportunities vet techs may encounter are:
- Most vet techs work primarily with cats and dogs. However, some vet techs may work with exotic animals.
- The vet tech may have to administer emergency first aid or nursing care to prepare for a more extensive examination by the veterinarian. In addition, they may have to observe an animal’s condition and behavior to report to the veterinarian.
- The vet tech may provide specialty nursing care for animals suffering from trauma or specialize so they can provide dental care for pets, or care for post-operative animals.
The Difference Between a Vet Assistant and a Vet Tech
Before you decide to take a job with a veterinary practice, first it’s essential to understand the difference between a vet assistant and a vet tech. A vet assistant job requires minimal or no formal training. Because of this, a lot of vet assistants learn the necessary skills on the job.
The duties of a vet assistant may include:
- Maintains the environment at work
- Clerical duties
- Schedules appointments
- Maintains equipment and makes sure it is ready to use
- Feeds and exercises animals
- Keeps kennels clean
Veterinary technicians must have licensing credentials from the state in which they take their VTNE, although currently no state requires that a vet assistant needs credentials. However, most states are specific about the duties that a veterinary assistant is allowed to perform.
Where Can Vet Techs Work?
One of the most critical aspects of enrolling in a veterinary technician degree program is the environment in which you’ll work after graduation. Vet techs have a lot of exciting options available in terms of their job environment. Here are some possible choices:
- Private veterinary practices are always in need of qualified veterinary technicians.
- Animal shelters have a large intake of animals each day and its essential to make sure that animals in shelters are healthy before being placed for adoption.
- Veterinary technicians at an animal shelter may have to assist with surgery, care for cats and dogs, perform clinical tests, and examine animals recovering from illness or injury.
Specialized Vet Techs May Work At
- Emergency veterinary clinics always need qualified vet techs because the job requires the vet tech to work long hours. Vet techs who work in emergency care must be available to work nights, weekends, and on holidays.
- Zoo veterinary technicians care for endangered and exotic animals. A zoo technician may work independently, which means they must be familiar with a wide variety of breeds of animals.
- Research laboratories may employ vet techs to ensure that all the animals in the lab are treated and handled humanely and receive proper veterinary treatment.
Education Requirements to Work as a Vet Tech
The most common path for anyone pursuing a career as a veterinary technician is to earn an associate degree at a vocational college. The degree program usually takes 24 months to complete.
The general coursework that a student must complete to work as a vet tech may include:
- Animal diseases
- Basic animal nursing care
- Pharmaceutical training
- Surgical nursing
- Veterinary anatomy and physiology
- Veterinary pathology
Should you decide to specialize, the coursework will look somewhat different than the program for a general veterinary technician position. Students are required to have lab and clinical training.
Education as a vet tech requires hands-on training in a clinical setting. Depending on the school you attend, the designation may be called an internship, externship, practicum, or preceptorship.
To have the necessary credentials and work as a vet tech, you must first have completed the education, experience, exam requirements, and criteria that’s designated by the state. The VTNE is a multiple choice, 200 question exam that students are allowed four hours in which to complete.
Want to Learn More?
Did learning about the job outlook for vet techs interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
- POSTED IN: