Is There a Demand for Vet Techs?

Published on February 14, 2020 by arothstein

Vet tech holds small dog

Interested in becoming a vet tech? When considering a career choice, the biggest consideration is if it is a field you will love. Additionally, it is important to consider the economic growth and availability of your career. Fortunately, vet techs are in high demand.

A career as a vet tech is an ideal choice for anyone passionate about animals and veterinary technology. The first step in becoming a vet tech is to earn an associate’s degree from an accredited school, pass the VTNE, and gain certification.

Vet techs are a valuable asset to any veterinary team. The vet tech assists the veterinarian in diagnosing illnesses and injuries in animals by taking samples, running lab tests, and taking x-rays. The vet tech is the liaison between pet owners and veterinarians in the practice. When an animal has been injured, the vet tech may administer emergency first aid before the veterinarian conducts an examination.

Is There a Demand for Vet Techs?

Is there a demand for veterinary technicians? The answer is, “yes.” The projected job growth rate for vet techs is up to 19 percent through thru the year 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of the contributing factors to the need for certified veterinary technicians is the job outlook for veterinarians in the United States.

The job prospects for veterinarians are excellent. For reference, the number of veterinarians that are needed to fill positions between 2018 and 2028 is expected to increase by 18 percent. As a result of the high demand for veterinarians, more veterinary technicians are also needed to assist with the care of their patients.

The Increase in the Number of Pets

People around the world began domesticating dogs between 15,000 and 30,000 years ago. In the United States, more than half of all households share their home with at least one pet.

According to the statistics compiled by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2017 and 2018, the number of homes in the United States that include pets as part of their family is on the increase. The number of households that own dogs is estimated at 38.4 %, where cat owners come in at about 25%.

Impact of Pets on Their Owners

Beyond the number of pets, the majority of U.S. households also consider their pets to be part of their families. Statistics indicate that almost all dog owners have stated that their dogs have made a positive impact on their emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Additionally, this bond is one of the reasons that three out of every four dog owners pamper their dogs and make their lives comfortable.

On the other side, cats were once worshipped in Egyptian temples, and the cats have never forgotten it. Statistics indicate that there isn’t as significant an increase in the number of cat households over dog households. However, there are more multi-cat households than those that own multiple dogs. More veterinary care is needed for all these pets.

Trends in Cat and Dog Ownership

An exciting trend among cat and dog owners is that urban pet owners are more concerned than ever before about their cat or dog’s nutritional needs. These owners believe that natural and organic foods are a better choice for their pets than commercial brands. However, pet owners in rural areas aren’t as concerned about nutrition for their cats and dogs. As a result, there is an opportunity for vet techs to improve the lives of rural pets through education. Educating pet owners about health issues and the importance of proper nutrition for their cats and dogs is an important part of a vet tech’s job duties.

What Does a Vet Tech Do?

One of the reasons the demand for certified veterinary technicians is so high is that they perform so many different roles. For example, when a veterinary technician must examine animals and know what is considered normal for a variety of species. The vet tech may also administer vaccinations or medications prescribed by the veterinarian. However, they are not allowed diagnose or prescribe medications.

Assisting the Veterinarian

Furthermore, veterinary technicians analyze samples for abnormalities that are reported to the veterinarian. Because many animals don’t like going to the vet’s office, the vet tech must know how to keep an animal comfortable. Vet techs prepare animals for surgery and administer anesthesia under the supervision of the veterinarian. The veterinary technician monitors the animal’s vital signs during surgery and recovery.

Interpersonal Skills for Vet Techs

Because this industry is client-focused, vet techs must have excellent communication skills and have compassion for animals and their owners. Since many pet owners are often stressed about their pet at a visit, the veterinary technician must be able to answer their questions in a calm manner. The veterinary technician may also write after-care instructions and explain them to the owner. Veterinary technicians may also educate pet owners about nutrition, vaccinations, and training.

Different Specialties That Need Vet Techs

An array of career choices are available to anyone who has the education and gains the credentials to work as a vet tech. The knowledge, skills, and credentials vary depending on the field in which a vet tech specializes. Some people are cat or dog lovers and want to devote their lives to caring for them. Other graduates from vet tech schools may choose to work with wildlife or large animals.

Some of the specialties for vet techs include:

Private Practice and Pet Hospitals

First of all, a private practice or pet hospital is one of the most common options. A vet tech working in private practice or an animal hospital provides an array of services for pets and their owners. When an owner and their pet arrive, the vet tech takes the animal’s vital signs and records them in the pet’s chart.

It is also the responsibility of the veterinary technician to perform an initial examination. The vet tech assists the veterinarian and restrains the animal during the examination. The veterinary technician may also prepare medications or vaccines to be administered and assists in research and lab procedures.

Kennels

Additionally, there is a demand for vet techs to work in settings other than in private practice or emergency clinics. Veterinary technicians who work in kennels provide nursing care for animals but have additional duties that include keeping the kennel areas clean and sterile. The veterinary technicians make sure that the animals have fresh, warm bedding and handle feeding on a regular schedule. If a pet has special dietary requirements, it’s up to the veterinary technician to make sure the animal is fed the proper diet.

Working in a kennel means that the vet techs are responsible for walking and exercising the pets in their care. For example, dogs may have individual runs or walked on leashes. It’s essential to make sure that the doors to individual kennels are secure at all times, so none of the pets can get out.

Animal Rescue

Thousands of people around the country work in animal rescue, including vet techs. Millions of animals are in shelters, and pet rescue groups pull many of them. Some are homeless and taken directly to a rescue. Regardless of their location, these pets need compassionate care so they can be adopted.

A lot of people think the only way they can get the pet they want is to go to a breeder. However, adopters should always check out local rescues when they wish to choose a pet. When a pet is brought to a rescue, it must be checked out by a vet tech to determine if any health issues require veterinary attention. Vet techs assist with the care of all rescue animals until they’re adopted.

Zoos

To work as a zoo vet tech, the student must earn an associate’s degree from an accredited school, pass the VTNE, then have specialized training to work in a zoo. The veterinary technician performs many of the same nursing duties they would in private practice or emergency clinic. However, a zoo vet tech must be familiar with the needs of hundreds of species of exotic animals.

Zoo vet techs must assist veterinarians with examinations and restrain large, exotic animals. They check vital signs, record them, and handle lab procedures. The vet tech must understand the behavior of these animals and report anything unusual to the veterinarian. Additional duties include food preparation and cleaning animal’s living quarters.

Animal Sanctuaries

Best Friends is one of the largest animal sanctuaries in the country and is the home to more than 400 animals. Some of the animals in sanctuaries can’t be adopted because of age or health-related issues and require a lot of compassionate care. Many of the animals are adoptable, and the vet tech cares for all of them.

One of the essential duties is to adopt pets out to owners that are compassionate and will provide for their unique needs. Vet techs can educate potential adopters about the pet’s personality and any special requirements they may have.

The Benefit of Becoming a Vet Tech

Numerous benefits are associated with becoming a vet tech and caring for animals, large and small. The veterinary technician assists in the healing of animals and educates owners about how to provide kind, compassionate care for their animals. Working in this field of medicine with like-minded individuals is an opportunity to learn from one another and work as a team to help more animals.

Conclusion

Veterinary technology is continuously evolving and working as a vet tech allows you the opportunity to learn about new techniques of healing and new medicines that can heal more animals. You can serve the community by educating children and adults about the importance of compassionate treatment of animals and how to keep them healthy. One of the best things about working in this field is that continuing education and opportunities for advancement are always an option.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about the demand for vet tech 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.

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