Vet techs play a vital role in any veterinary setting, whether they work in a small animal practice, an emergency clinic, a sanctuary or a zoo. The vet tech greets pets and their owners, assists with routine and emergency examinations, and handles the duties as instructed by the attending veterinarian. The vet tech is part of a team that is dedicated to animals and their care.
There are many benefits to working in the field of veterinary technology. For anyone who loves animals, there’s a lot of satisfaction in caring for them and being a part of their healing process. Enrolling in a vet tech program at an accredited school can get you started on a rewarding career.
Is There A High Demand for Vet Techs?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s a high demand for vet techs. They predict a growth of 16 percent in the coming decade. The high demand for qualified vet techs has increased because more households share their homes with pets. People are treating their pets like family. Due to all the preventative care, pets are living longer. Pets are not only home companions, but they also follow people to work. There are more rescue groups and shelters that work diligently to place homeless animals in permanent homes. Veterinarians are relying more heavily on their vet techs to handle routine tasks so they can focus on surgery and duties that only a veterinarian is qualified to handle. There are also more farm animals and that means an increased demand for vet techs.
Treating Pets Like Family
Many more people are treating pets like a member of the family. Giving them more nutritious food, extra treats, a nice place to sleep and extra affection. In addition, families are also bringing their pets to the vet more often. This increase in vet visits means an increased demand for vet techs. More vet techs to greet and check in pets, to take vitals and record medical histories, and prepare those pets for examination. Now that the pets are part of the family, we are spending more money on them at the veterinarian.
Pets are Living Longer
Since families are treating pets like family and they get regular preventative care, pets are living longer. The longer a pet lives, the more likely it will need additional care later in life. Many older dogs, especially larger breeds, suffer from arthritis. Now that our best friends are living longer, we need more vet techs to assist with the care.
People Bring Pets to Work
It is not uncommon to see a dog or two at the office. Many people that once decided on a career over a pet can now have both. This increase in pet ownership directly increases the demand for vet techs. More pets need more care.
Free Up Vets to Help More Pets
Another reason for the high demand is a need to manage the day-to-day influx of pets and their owners. Veterinarians have more work, more exams and more surgeries to perform. The vet tech can help the veterinarian out by taking on more of the administrative and preparation of the vet clinic.
An Increase in Clinics and Shelters
The increase in pets has also increased the number of vet clinics and emergency care facilities, but also shelters for misplaced pets. Vet clinics, emergency care facilities and shelters employ vet techs to manage the dogs and cats that come into the establishments. It is important to have vet techs ready to manage an influx of pets, especially in emergency situations.
More Farm Animals
The increase in population means more farms with cows, goats, chickens and pigs. Many vet techs choose to help veterinarians that visit farms. A vet tech can assist this veterinarian in prepping animals for exams or minor surgeries. Vet techs also help out occasionally with a midnight birth.
What Does A Vet Tech Do?
A vet tech is trained to perform the same duties and provide the same care that a nurse does for humans. The vet tech handles the initial check in, assists the veterinarian during exams, and instructs pet owners about administering medications at home. The vet tech may also instruct a pet owner about the best diet for their pet and proper feeding instructions.
Veterinary Practice and Clinic or Emergency Care Facility Duties
The duties of a vet tech can vary depending on the environment in which they work. However, many of the duties are the same. Here are the duties of a vet tech:
- Perform the initial examination and emergency first aid, if necessary.
- Reports findings of the exam to the attending veterinarian.
- Collects specimens, takes the animal’s vital signs, and records medical histories.
- Monitors animals during surgery and the recovery process.
- Takes blood samples and processes them.
- Provides assistance with research.
- Takes and processes ultrasounds and x-rays.
- Sterilizes and prepares instruments and surgical areas for surgery.
- Educates pet owners about proper care and nutrition for their pets.
- Administers vaccines and medications that are prescribed by the veterinarian.
What Is A Typical Day for a Vet Tech?
The vet tech arrives for their shift, checks with the office staff about daily appointments, and gets the exam rooms ready for pets and their owners. The veterinary technician greets new pet owners and takes down relevant information, while asking if the owner has concerns that they wish to discuss with the veterinarian.
- A vet tech must be able to restrain animals and have the ability to keep them calm during examinations. The vet tech must have the animal quiet and as relaxed as possible to get an accurate diagnosis and provide the necessary treatment.
- Under the direction of a veterinarian a vet tech administers anesthesia to animals, prepares them for surgery and monitors them to determine if dosages must be adjusted during the procedure.
- Vet techs are required to monitor the clinical symptoms of an animal as well as keep a close eye on their behavior.
- Vet techs must maintain a pet’s records and update them, as necessary. A vet tech must be responsible for maintaining the inventory of the practice, including pet medicines and supplies.
In addition to caring for animals each day, vet techs have to interact with co-workers, veterinarians, and pet owners. One of the essential attributes of a vet tech is excellent communication skills. Vet techs must always have a professional demeanor. It’s vital to get as much information from the pet owner as possible for the veterinarian to make a correct diagnosis and provide the most effective treatment. The welfare of the animals in the vet techs care and they should be the priority.
How Long Does It Take to Become A Veterinary Technician?
It takes approximately two years to earn a degree in veterinary technology. Some students choose to earn a bachelor’s degree. However, most students earn an associate’s degree. When a student graduates, they must pass the Veterinary Technology National Exam (VTNE) to work as a vet tech.
One of the best learning experiences for a student is hands-on experience while they’re in school. Working an externship in a veterinary practice or emergency clinic is one of the best ways to gain experience caring for animals and learning about procedures. Veterinarians want vet techs that have prior experience caring for animals.
You must be licensed for a career as a vet tech. You can’t earn the credentials to work in this field without going to an accredited school. One of the prerequisites to work as a vet tech is to enroll in a vet tech program, complete the coursework, and sit for the VTNE. Even though there are accredited distance learning programs for students who want to study at their own pace, the exam is a requirement.
Now that you know there is a high demand for vet techs, are you ready to learn more? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities 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.