A veterinary technician is a healthcare provider that supports veterinary doctors as they provide medical care to animals. Veterinary technicians work in both the front office providing administrative support to the people visiting the clinic and alongside veterinarians while they work with animal patients.
What tasks do veterinary technicians perform?
Veterinary technicians perform a wide assortment of tasks. In the front office, where they provide administrative support, they do everything from greeting people and their pets, calming the animal patients (and their human companions too), scheduling appointments, invoicing and billing, providing aftercare instructions, and following up with owners on the status of their animals after procedures.
In a clinical setting, Veterinary technicians assist veterinarians during examinations by obtaining animal vital signs, completing diagnostic testing, administering injections and medications, and with prescribed treatments. During surgical procedures, veterinary technicians assist the veterinarian throughout the course of the procedure both with surgical anesthesia and the procedure itself.
After inhouse medical procedures, veterinary technicians track the animal’s recovery and progress until they are released back to their owner. They further assist the veterinarian with discussing all discharge procedures and providing aftercare instructions to people as they take home their pets.
Veterinary technicians also ensure all required health and safety protocols are followed at all times in the clinic and when administering care. This includes preparing rooms to specific standards, maintaining and sterilizing equipment, and proper disposal of waste.
Where do veterinary technicians work?
Veterinary technicians work at veterinary clinics and hospitals, zoos and wildlife parks, government organizations, humane societies and animal shelters.
Depending on their interests, a veterinary technician can choose to work with large animals, typically in farm, ranch or zoological settings; small domesticated animals, like dogs, cats, rabbits; or even exotic animals, such as lions, tigers, and pandas. The types of animals helped by veterinary technicians is determined by the veterinarian they work for and the veterinarian’s specialization.
How do I become a veterinary technician?
Because of the administrative and clinical tasks performed by veterinary technicians and the health and safety protocols veterinary work requires, enrolling in a degree program is an important step to becoming a veterinary technician. Equally import is finding a program that incorporates a hands-on externship as well.
What is it like to be a veterinary technician?
Just as there are many types of places for veterinary technicians to work, there are many shifts and schedules as well. Animals need care around the clock and throughout the year. For those needing the consistency of a set daily schedule, many veterinary clinics offer that in part-time or full-time employment options. Clinics that provide twenty-four hour emergency care also provide shifts throughout the day and even on weekends and holidays. Additionally, specialized care facilities, zoos, and shelters also have different schedules to consider. In many cases, the option to work additional hours, for additional pay, is also offered.
Veterinary technicians are not bound by geography. They are needed in every state, both in urban settings and in rural, agricultural locations. Location many determine the types of opportunities available, though relocation is always an option.
Becoming a veterinary technician is an excellent career choice for those that love animals, enjoy to hands-on work, and who also need a flexible career.