What are the Pros of Being a Vet Tech?
Published on April 21, 2020 by Charlie Buehler
Being a vet tech offers advantages that aren’t found in many other professions. They include an interesting workplace, a variety of different job specialties and the security of being in high demand with employers. Most importantly, vet techs get to spend every day working with animals. While veterinary technicians play a vital role in delivering a large portion of the care provided by a veterinarian practice, they also have a tremendous emotional impact on both animal and human welfare.
Working with All Creatures Great and Small
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of being a vet tech is the daily interaction with animals. This profession, more than any other, attracts those with a passion for creatures of all kinds. Consequently, it draws together people that are naturally and uniquely motivated to provide a high standard of care. They love animals and genuinely want to help them in the best way possible.
While working with animals may be what initially attracts people to this career, the science behind it is what differentiates it from other animal-related jobs. Vet techs have extensive knowledge about animal anatomy, biology, disease processes, pharmaceutical compounds, and laboratory technology. Usually, this in-depth knowledge will span multiple species. On any given day, a veterinary technician may be handling dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles, birds, horses, cows and more.
There’s Never a Dull Day
The most predicable thing in the life of a vet tech is their work wardrobe. Beyond that, every day is different. Vet techs do many things including wellness exams, toenail trims, blood work, dental prophylaxis, x-rays, anesthesia, surgical assisting, examining specimens under a microscope, and calling patients for follow up. The needs of the pet owners, patients and veterinarians will dictate the workflow for the day.
Variety is core factor in employee happiness. The constant change prevents boredom and promotes innovative problem solving, mental stimulation and motivation. This is one reason why vet techs report high job satisfaction.
Vet Techs are Animal Welfare Ambassadors
Animal welfare standards have come a long way over the past century. There was once a time when animals were regarded as flea ridden, inferior species of low intelligence. They had little value outside of what they could provide for humans. Today, mainstream society views most animals as an integral part of the family dynamic.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, roughly 38 percent of households have dogs. Many others have multiple species and livestock. Animal welfare practices impact people’s emotional and physical health. People want their pets to live as long as possible. They also want to know that the meat and dairy they consume is both healthy and ethically sourced.
Vet techs may not be the people found in picket lines and protests, but they are still activists. The effect they have on animal welfare comes in many forms, such as increased pet owner education and improved public safety. From guidance on animal nutrition and disease prevention to safe handling and behavior modification, veterinary technicians are at the forefront of teaching everyday people how to properly care for animals. The work they do ultimately influences how pet owners perceive standards of care.
There’s Room to Grow
The field of veterinary technology is rapidly changing. As a result, there is an opportunity for graduates to narrow the scope of practice to areas they are most interested in. Many employers focus solely on small or large animals, exotic pets, ophthalmology, cardiology, orthopedics and oncology. In addition, the last decade has seen the introduction of specialty fields, such as dentistry, anesthesiology and emergency medicine. A vet tech can earn these certifications beyond their degree.
To date, the use of titles is very fragmented within the industry. Many states have differing designations for vet techs. The laws regulating what a vet tech can do also vary considerably. There is a strong movement towards consolidating both industry practices and title designation. Veterinary technicians have their own professional organizations taking part in shaping this evolution, making this an exciting time to be a part of this career field.
The adage “with experience comes wisdom” has never been truer of any other profession. The longer a vet tech works in the industry, the more valuable they become to the practice. Not only does their skill set increase, but the amount of responsibility delegated to them also increases. Many vet techs work as practice managers, overseeing all aspects of management. This includes hiring staff, human resource management and making large purchasing decisions on their own.
Coworkers and Pet Owners Are a Tribe
Culture is defined as a shared set of values and goals within an organization. In veterinary medicine, these values include a strong belief that animal life is valuable, a desire to alleviate suffering and an interest in promoting animal welfare. Many people enter the profession with these personal values already in place. Pet owners also share these values, with Americans spending approximately $28 billion annually on veterinary care, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
This shared value system brings coworkers and pet
owners together because they relate to each other. Most vet techs not only make
a living by working on animals, they are also pet owners. The traits that
inherently make someone a good vet tech, also makes him or her a good person.
They are empathetic, compassionate, and intelligent. This allows for strong friendships that make for a pleasant work environment.
Becoming Telepathic, Almost
Unlike humans, animals can’t verbalize a problem. They communicate by sending subtle signals. It may be a posture, sound, movement, or a change in color. These signals can be very hard for the average person to interpret. It requires paying close attention to body language and having a good working knowledge of animal behavior.
Vet techs become very adept at intuiting what is going on with an animal. Fear, pain, hunger, nausea, alertness and aggression are examples of things that can be determined by observation. Many of these features are documented in a patient chart as part of the examination. All of the data is highly relevant to the veterinarian in deciding on a course of treatment. While vet techs aren’t quite telepathic, they do learn to assess a problem without being told what’s wrong. Often, their observations can mean the difference between a problem that is missed versus a problem that is solved.
Improving Human Quality of Life
A vet tech does more than improve the quality of life for animals. They also have a great influence on the humans they interact within a practice. There has been a lot of research into the dynamics of the human- animal bond. Most of them agree that there is a definitive link between human wellbeing and pet ownership.
There is an entire organization built specifically to study how animals influence mental health in people. The Human Animal Bond Institute (HABI) found that the effect of pet ownership is so profound that it spills over into people’s physical health. A sick animal causes people significant stress and worry.
Vet techs have the opportunity to help people in several ways. They may validate a pet owner’s concerns and offer advice for coping with long-term patient health conditions or recovery. Veterinary technicians are most often the ones carrying out the veterinarian’s medical orders and people place a great deal of trust in them.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the demand for veterinary technicians will grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2028. It is also expected that the number of annual visits for animal care will continue to rise. Veterinarians rely heavily on vet techs to help deliver quality patient care. As visits increase, so does the number of specialized career opportunities, leaving a need for more registered veterinary technicians in the industry.
Beyond the numbers, a career as a vet tech has a strong benefit in that skills and credentials will transfer anywhere. For example, experience working in a mixed animal practice is equally applicable to a feline-only practice and many subspecialties. While job competitiveness does exist in some areas of medicine, qualified veterinary technicians are a welcome addition to most organizations.
Everyday Makes a Difference
Many career fields focus on company profitability, either directly through sales or indirectly through services. This is also a part of veterinary medicine. Vet techs are frequently called upon to be salespeople. However, there is a distinct difference in that this type of sale is part of an emotional value system.
Veterinary technicians usually sell procedures and products including dental cleanings, preventative bloodwork and medications, food, nutritional supplements, and vaccinations. All of these are vitally important to animal welfare. Recommendations by the vet tech have the potential to improve pet health and extend life.
Veterinary technicians have a sense of duty towards their patients and there are times when they literally save an animal’s life. Acute emergencies require the administration of medications, and advanced resuscitation procedures. Regardless of how they help, vet techs end their day knowing that the job they do makes a difference in a life.
No Fancy Attire Required
A perk of working as a vet tech is that they save a significant amount of money on clothes. Vet techs work in hospital scrubs, which can be very comfortable. For the most part, everyone will have the same color, although some facilities designate specific colors for different roles. Many practices offer a clothing allowance to cover uniforms.
Veterinary technology is a very personally rewarding career choice. Not only do vet techs experience the joy and personal satisfaction of helping animals, but it is also an interesting field. Qualified people will find a great job market with plenty of opportunity for success.
Did learning about the pros of being a 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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