Having a pet is a great. They are loving companions that will stay with you no matter what. In fact, most pets adore their owners and they even sense their owner’s moods.
As a result, you do your best to care for your pet by providing food and shelter. When your pet falls sick, you also take your pet to the local vet. However, you might have noticed that most vets are busy doctors.
They usually do check animals at their clinics but sometimes they have to travel as large animals cannot come down to the clinic. In this case, a vet technician provides care for your pet. A vet technician provides front line care for a sick animal.
This is because a vet is usually very busy and they do not have time to spare for simple conditions. A vet technician can handle the smaller problems and this spares time for the vet to deal with serious animal issues.
Role of a Vet Tech
Most vet technicians work under the supervision of a vet or a vet nurse and they are qualified with all simple animal conditions. The role of a vet tech includes the following:
• Provides primary care for all animals that are bought into a clinic or an animal hospital for emergency care.
• They work with vets on site or at location to assist them during medical procedures on animals.
• They can carry out routine medical procedures, take diagnostic x-rays of animals, dental cleanings, dressing changes, immunizations, etc.
• They work with nurses to clean the animal and prep it for surgery.
• Some vets may also work with pet owners to educate them about pet health requirements, food preparation, and pet hygiene.
• Animals are also kept at a pet clinic overnight for observation. Vet techs may stay in the clinic or overnight to keep an eye on animals and to provide any care that may be required.
As you can see, a vet technician has almost the same job as a vet. It would help if you loved animals as well as the profession requires a hands-on approach for animals. Techs often work with the same animals all through their lives and they easily develop lasting relationships with the pets and their owners.
Vet Tech Jobs: Place of Work
Most vet techs work with vets. As a result, they may work at private clinic, outpatient emergency centers, animal hospitals, animal shelters, rescue centers, zoos, labs, and boarding kennels. Vets may also work at places like wildlife centers, research labs, and livestock centers like poultry farms. Most of these centers are open 24-7 and vet techs work in shift systems.
Vet techs spend a lot of time on their feet and they frequently have to move animals in to and out of pet containers. They may also have to position animals for procedures, soothe them if they get scared or excited, and restrain animals in case they get aggressive. As a result, it does require upper body strength, patience and a lot of hard work.
How to Become a Vet Tech?
The very first step to becoming a vet tech is to take a certificate course or an associate’s course in the field. Most vet tech schools offer comprehensive training programs for candidates. You will have to finish a bachelor’s degree as it will provide additional support for your vet tech career.
It would help if your college degree is related to animal care field. After completing your degree, you can then join a vet medical college or a community college to get your vet tech degree. You can usually complete the associate’s course in two years. At present, there are fifteen universities that offer a bachelor’s degree and this degree will take four years to complete.
Although an associate’s degree will take lesser time to complete, it’s a good idea to do a bachelor’s degree as it opens up more job opportunities. The more you study, the better the chances for getting a higher paid job. After you complete your education, you may have to attend a compulsory internship or externship where you learn hands-on. Once you complete the internship, you will have to sit for a mandatory licensing exam.
The exam is held by American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). Of course, the vet tech will have to complete their course from a state-approved training course. Vet techs who have completed their National Veterinary Technician Exam do not need to sit for the AALAS exam.
Students can also choose to specialize by studying further. For example, vet techs may choose to specialize in critical car, biomedical research, animal dentistry, clinical pathology, avian medicine, and zoo keeping. Of course, this will mean you have to take additional certification and exams to qualify for the degree.
Vet Tech Salary Range
The vet tech salary will vary according to your education and qualification. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average vet tech jobs salary range will vary from $21,270 and $44,490. Vet assistants are different and the salary for vet assistants will be lesser than that of a vet technician. The vet assistant salary will also vary as it depends on education, expertise, and knowledge. Vet techs that have a lot of expertise will usually be paid more. Salaries are usually the highest for techs who work in colleges, hospitals, government agencies, and research labs.
Those who have specialized in popular niches like equine and dental treatment are more likely to have higher salaries as compared to beginner vet techs. As a result, equine vet tech salary ranges will be much higher than beginner vet techs. Some states also have a higher demand for trained vet techs as they have more livestock. States like Massachusetts and Ohio have very high demand for trained vets and vet techs. As a result, vet tech salary in ma are higher than average.
Vet techs who take management degrees or additional lateral science degrees may get management or teaching positions. However, this depends on the degree you take and the company you are working with. However, the vet field is expanding rapidly and there is definitely going to be an increased demand for educated and qualified vet techs in almost every specialization field.
The demand for trained vet techs is always there. In fact, there is already a critical shortage of trained vet techs. There will be a requirement for more than 109,800 trained vet techs by 2022. This means there will be a 30% increase in jobs for trained vet techs. As a result, this is a good time to get into the field. If you are interested in animals and if you have a little technical skills, you should consider becoming a vet tech.
Want to become a vet tech? Watch the video above to see what the job description is all about.