A veterinary technician or veterinarian assistant works alongside a licensed veterinarian to perform routine tasks that take place in a veterinary facility. Basic animal care duties are performed along with customer relations. Many veterinary technicians are often the veterinarian’s right arm when it comes to duties overseen in the animal care center.
Most states do not require formal training to become a veterinary technician. While there are a large number of schools available that offer courses in veterinary medicine, few vet offices require certification to apply for the available jobs. However, possessing a certification in veterinary technology sets you above the competition and makes you more employable than those who do not have a certificate.
A high school diploma is required for employment and one to two years of college is preferred. Individuals who want to pursue a career in this field should have basic mathematics skills and enjoy science, including biology and anatomy.
Average Salary Details
Salaries vary by state and region. On average and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of a veterinary technician is $25,000. Most are employed by veterinarian offices, animal care hospitals and even research laboratories.
For those who do not want to work directly in a vet office, available positions include post-secondary institutions, pharmaceutical manufacturing companies and government agencies. These employers typically pay more and the average salary is $35,000 per year.
Common Duties of a Veterinary Technician
Most veterinary assistants and technicians perform common office duties and administrative work in the veterinary office. This may include checking in patients, walking dogs, filing, answering phones, pulling charts, assembling medical records, data entry and more. Scheduling appointments is one of the largest tasks done by a vet tech.
Clinical duties vary widely and may include administering medication to an animal patient, disinfecting and cleaning cages, sterilizing equipment, feeding and walking pets, and stocking medical and supply cabinets. The vet assistant typically works under the direct supervision of the veterinarian but in some case may have another supervisor who oversees the office and staff.
While there is no academic preparation for the job, a love for animals and good old-fashioned common sense should be par for the course. It is important to be compassionate in nature, as there are times when family members are grieving the loss of a pet and need consolation. The vet tech may provide advice and assistance for those going through a rough time.
Some veterinary technicians deal only with small domesticated animals, while others may work with farm animals and large animals. Vet techs are also seen employed for zoos and work directly with wild animals of all shapes and sizes.
The career outlook is favorable for veterinary technicians as the pet population continues to grow. No matter what the economy outlook is for humans, they love their pets and are not willing to give them up. While the pay is not exceptional, most that pursue this career are not in it for the money but the reward of helping to save an animal’s life.