One needs to have an Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology to become a technician. Try to get into a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) which will come in use.
Veterinary technicians perform a vital role in caring for domestic and wild animals in a variety of settings. They are like the registered nurses (RNs) of the animal kingdom and assist veterinary doctors in treating animals. They work under different work settings, they may care for animals in the zoo or veterinary clinics. Some of them work in potentially dangerous work environment, like in zoos and wildlife facilities. Another avenue for employment is with research facilities.
The job can be demanding at times as it deals with caring for sick and injured animals that can be uncooperative. It is also not for the fainthearted as sometimes the job duties involve assisting vets with surgeries and euthanasia. A love for animals is a necessity for survival in this field as day in and day out you have to deal with different types of animals. They have to treat animals ranging from dogs to snakes.
You have to start preparing at the high school level to get into an accredited degree program. Aspirants should take courses in subjects like biology, chemistry and mathematics in high school. If you are really interested in this field start volunteering at a local animal shelter or take up a job in a veterinary clinic or zoo. This experience will stand in good stead when applying for degree programs.
Volunteering or working for a veterinarian, within a private practice, zoo, or research facility, during summers and breaks allows high school students to gain work experience. Gaining hands on work experience as a volunteer or through employment can bolster your chances of acceptance into an Associate degree level or higher educational program.
One of the options to becoming a veterinary technician is a two-year associate’s degree in a veterinary technology program offered by vocational schools and colleges. The other option is a four-year bachelor’s degree program which is offered by a few colleges. The course work of these programs consists of veterinary anatomy, physiology, and veterinary office management. It also involves topics like animal nutrition and animal husbandry. Pharmacology and anesthetics are some of the topics covered in these programs.
The job of a veterinary technician mostly depends on the work environment, but the basic duty is to care for animals. They have to administer intravenous injections to the animals and give medication to the animals in their care. Veterinary technicians also perform routine laboratory procedures like conducting blood tests and urinalysis. Assisting the physician in conducting examinations essential for diagnosis is part of their work profile. In the course of assisting physicians, technicians have to operate X-ray machines and position the animal correctly. They will also treat small wounds and apply dressing on animals independently.
They also record vital signs of the animals in their care and monitor their progress, this task includes taking temperature, pulse and respiration details. Their job responsibilities also include operating hi-tech medical equipment like ultrasound, electrocardiogram, etc. Assisting in surgical procedures and anesthetics is one of the important job responsibilities. Maintaining records and taking an inventory of medicines and medical supplies is a part of their office management duties. The average salary, according to national statistics is between USD 30,000 and USD 40,000 per year.
Individuals who have an innate ability to care for and empathize with animals will do well in this profession. This is a highly competitive sector and employers prefer candidates who have personal qualities like patience and discipline.