Veterinary Technician - Is A Vet Tech Career Right For You?
Guide to a veterinary technician career. Are you interested in starting or switching careers to become a vet tech? Are you weary about the requirements of the job and don't know what decision to make?
As with anything, the more informed you are, the easier it is to make the move, so before you start anything, let me help you sort out the facts you need to make the right move.
Making a career choice is always a scary time since the wrong decision can set you back lots of time and money. Which is why gathering facts about the the best vet tech schools, the tasks expected of you and the employment opportunities available can ease your mind and propel you on your way.
What Skills are Necessary to Excel as a Veterinary Technician?
Before making any career choice, you need to analyze if you have the right character for the job, especially when committing to multiple years schooling and long hours on the job. To make a career as a vet tech, the first thing you need before obtaining the necessary qualifications is assessing your desire and dedication to the job at hand.
You must absolutely love animals and ensure that you can give the required care and attention to your patients first and foremost. You also need to ensure you have good communication skills and compassion for those who bring their animals in to be treated. Understanding that they are worried about a member of their family will guarantee you have the right attitude for the job.
What Does a Vet Tech Do
The job description of a veterinary technician incorporates a variety of responsibilities, so loving animals will not be enough to excel in this career choice. The right veterinary technician schools will fully prepare you for the duties of a veterinary technician, tasks like treating and diagnosing animals and performing a variety of laboratory tests.
Vet tech duties include urinalysis, blood tests, assisting in dental procedures and being on hand to help the vet in charge with a series of other treatments. Your skills may also need to include training in taking and developing x-rays, recording medical histories and providing care to the animals in convalescence.
What Kind of Education is Needed to Become a Vet Tech
To be eligible to take the certification exam for a veterinary technician, you will need to complete a 2 year degree or a 4 year college degree to get a bachelor degree. Accreditation for these courses is offered from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and about 160 schools are the US are currently accredited by the AVMA.
Your programs will include a combination of in class theory as well as clinical practice on live animals in order to be prepared for your licensing exam, but the best thing you can do to prepare for your veterinary technician schools is to take as many science, biology and math classes in high school as possible.
The more prepared you are upon enrolling, the better chance you will have to get in and the easier time you will have to complete your vet tech training.
As far as financial aid is concerned, scholarships for veterinary technicians are available so do your research.
What Certification Requirements Are There to Obtain a Vet Tech License
Once you complete your veterinary technician requirements in school, you need to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination, which is adminstered by the AAVSB , however if you are seeking work in a research facility, it is suggested that you pass the exam given by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
The difference is that the latter offers testing in 3 competency levels required for research work: animal husbandry, animal health and welfare and maintaining a vet facility. The exam will test your oral, written and practical skills, all of which will be in the degree programs you take.
Are there Vet Tech Online or Distance Learning Options
If you don't have the time or ability to attend veterinary technician schools in person, there are accredited online options that will aptly prepare you to take your certification exam.
One of the most renowned distance learning centers for vet tech online studies is Penn Foster College which will prepare you in animal sciences and to work with animals of all sizes, including if you want to work in a research lab or a zoo.
You will still need to look into getting your practical veterinary technician training with an externship post studies, but you can easily complete your theoretical practice from the comfort of home.
What Job Opportunities Are Available
Once you have passed your national exam and are licensed to work as a vet tech, there are various employment options you can look into depending on the type of environment you want to work in. Note that employers will require veterinary technician verification.
Most veterinary technicians will seek work in vet clinics, working alongside a vet, but for those who want higher paying options, positions in research, at zoos, aquariums, sales, education or even owning your own practice are feasible. These higher paying positions are much more competetive, but with the proper education and work experience, you can propel your career in this field.
What Salary Can You Expect in this Position
As with any job, being aware of your salary expectations before launching your career is key. The average veterinary technician salary is about $14,000-$20,000 upon entry, but can be boosted to anywhere from $27,000-$35,000 after years of experience on the job.
Pursuing continuing education once working can also help boost your salary potential since you can take courses in specialized areas and stay up to date on any changes in the industry. For instance, if you get a specialist certification such as Veterinary Technician Anesthesia, your salary will be higher.
Although the salary potential may not be the highest out there, becoming a veterinary technician is more about your love and compassion for animals than it is about making a fortune, so consider your options and dedication carefully before making the leap.
Ready to become a veterinary technician? Find accredited vet tech schools near you with our school search or click the link below for free information.
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