Veterinary technicians are animal nurses that can be trained on the job or can go to college to get a two year degree or a four year degree and go on to be credentialed. Credentialed means they take a test that makes them either a licensed, certified or registered veterinary technician.
A veterinary technician’s jobs can include:
- Restraining pets (keeping pets from moving)
- Drawing blood
- Looking at blood, urine and other samples under a microscope
- Taking X-rays
- Helping give checkups
- Helping put pets to sleep for surgery (anesthesiology)
- Placing urinary and intravenous (through the vein) catheters
- Cleaning your pet’s teeth
- Scrub nurse
- Educating pet owners on anything from diet to dental care
- Managing a hospital
- Supporting the veterinarian throughout their daily schedule
Who would be good at this job?
This might be the right job for you if you:
- Aren’t bothered by body fluids like blood and pet waste
- Enjoy animals, people, science and helping others
- Are confident and good at communicating with those around you
- Can make good decisions under pressure
What is great about this job?
- Helping save pets’ lives
- Educating pet owners in keeping their pets healthy and happy
- Nursing sick animals to better health
What is the hardest thing about being a veterinary technician?
When an owner makes a decision to have their pet put to sleep, euthanized, you will have to be there to help support the veterinarian as well as the owner. This can be a very hard thing to do when you become close to the owner and their pet.
What else can veterinary technicians do?
The most popular position for a veterinary technician to take is one at the veterinarian’s practice; however, here are some other possibilities:
- Animal rescue teams
- Emergency response
- Education as teachers
- Humane societies
- Cattle and cow health
- Animal research
- Veterinary supply sales
- Laboratory technician for research
- Dog trainer
What education does a veterinary technician need?The veterinary technician can be trained on the job. However, it’s best to graduate from a 2-year or 4-year program. The program should be accredited (approved) by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). There are over 100 AVMA programs in the U.S. Find out about them through:
- Community colleges
Once you get your degree, you will be asked by your state, not all states require this, to sit through an exam that will then license, register or certify you as a technician where upon you will have an easier time finding a job due to your credentials.
What can you do to start getting ready for this job?
- Volunteer for a veterinary practice or animal shelter
- Take a lot of science classes
- Do well in your classes