In today’s veterinary care sector, the importance of having skilled and motivated veterinary professionals cannot be overstated. For this reason, the demand for veterinary technicians is showing sustained and robust growth.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of available jobs for vet techs will grow by 52 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This makes becoming a veterinary technician an extremely attractive choice for those interested in a field that offers growing employment opportunities for newly trained and experienced vet techs alike.
Furthermore, the median salary for vet techs is over $31,000, making this field extremely competitive with other careers requiring a similar level of education and licensure.
When combined with the rising demand for qualified vet techs and the benefits many vet techs enjoy, this makes becoming a vet tech a wise choice for anyone seeking to enter America’s dynamic veterinary care sector.
However, that is not the only reason so many individuals have chosen to become veterinary technicians. In addition to the pragmatic benefits of the profession, this field is both personally and professionally rewarding for its members.
A vet tech is not just a hireling, but is a valued employee who plays a vital role in ensuring that America’s pets, livestock, wild animals and zoo animals receive the care they need.
Whether it is helping scientists to bring a species back from the brink of extinction at a major zoological institution or ensuring that a child’s pet makes a full recovery, the vet tech plays a central role in nearly every veterinary care facility in the nation.
The Neighborhood Vet Tech
Most vet techs work in local veterinary clinics where they assist the veterinarian in serving his or her community. It is here that the vet tech can enjoy the satisfaction that comes from becoming a part of his or her veterinary family in addition to becoming a respected member of the community he or she serves.
Providing Direct Care for Pets
While working under the supervision of the veterinarian, a vet tech provides a variety of care for any pets that are injured or ill.
In fact, without the vet tech’s assistance, most modern veterinary clinics could not function. A vet tech may help the veterinarian provide the following services.
- Provide emergency care for injured or ill pets.
- Prepare the pet for surgery and assist the veterinarian before, during and after the procedure.
- Ensure that all pets under the clinic’s care receive a proper diet and are kept in clean and comfortable enclosures.
- Supervise other employees, including veterinary aides, volunteers, clerical staff and cleaning staff.
- Ensure that the veterinary clinic has all needed supplies and that all supplies and equipment are maintained in a sterile and ready to use condition.
As can be seen, the vet tech plays a vital role in ensuring that the veterinary clinic can provide the best possible care for those animals it has been entrusted with. Furthermore, as a licensed or certified employee, the vet tech can provide a level of professional help that non-professional veterinary care workers cannot.
Working With the Public
Vet techs also provide a vital service by working with the veterinary clinics customers. The vet tech will often work in the office, where he or she will admit pets that need assistance, make appointments for later checkups or medical procedures and interview pet owners in order to provide information for the veterinarian. This is a vital service, as the veterinarian must have complete and accurate information about the reason for the animals visit in order to provide effective and timely treatment.
However, the vet tech does far more than simply take down information. One of the most rewarding parts of a vet tech’s job is the process of interacting with pet owners. In many cases, the vet tech will be the first veterinary professional that the pet owner sees when he or she brings an injured or ill pet in for treatment.
By helping to calm the pet owner, the vet tech can play a vital role in helping the owner understand the options that he or she has in terms of obtaining treatment for the pet. In other cases, the vet tech may work with distraught individuals in order to ensure that they understand that their beloved companion animal is receiving the best possible treatment.
This direct personal connection helps the vet tech play a role in the community he or she serves.
Unlike many other professions, the vet tech has the satisfaction that comes from providing direct and personal assistance to those individuals seeking treatment for their companion animals. In many cases, this can result in the vet tech forging long-term relationships with the patrons of the veterinary clinic.
Other Community Services
Many vet techs provide other types of community services, either via their employer or on their own personal initiative. Veterinary care seminars, pet health days, and workshops on providing a safe and healthy environment for a pet are all examples of ways that a veterinary technician can help contribute to his or her community.
In some cases, vet techs may work with veterinarians who are volunteering their time in order to provide treatment for pets that are owned by individuals who cannot afford veterinary care for their pets. In this case, the vet tech and his or her fellow workers can enjoy the knowledge that they are providing care for some of society’s most vulnerable citizens.
Vet Techs and the Public Sector
Many vet techs choose to work in the public sector, either as part-time or full-time workers. In some cases, this may be unpaid volunteer work, but many federal, state and local agencies employee vet techs in a wide range of capacities.
In this case, whether the vet tech is working at a local humane shelter or is providing care for animals that are part of a wildlife management program, he or she is helping to benefit society as a whole.
For example, public spay and neuter programs often put the vet tech in the position of helping to reach out to the community to eliminate the tragedy of unwanted stray animals.
In other cases, vet techs working with a wildlife management program will work with scientists and veterinarians to ensure that wild animals and humans do not come into dangerous contact.
This can include helping to capture, tag and examine wild animals, in addition to providing various types of care for wild animals. In some cases, this can also protect humans and domestic animals from various types of diseases.
For example, many states have oral rabies vaccination programs (ORVPs) which protect domestic pets and their owners alike by vaccinating wild animals against rabies. Vet techs working in these programs are fully aware that they may be saving both human and animal lives.
Public Education Programs
In addition, many vet techs working in the public sector help to educate the American people about feral animals. In some cases, a vet tech may take part in educational programs designed to inform the American people about wild animals and how to interact with them in a way that reduces the chance of injury to animals or humans.
This can be especially common in those areas where human habitation zones are starting to encroach on the living space for wild animals. By helping to train the public to avoid dangerous encounters, the vet tech can help ensure the health of humans and animals alike.
These educational programs can be especially rewarding for those vet techs who enjoy working with the public. In many cases, these programs involve young schoolchildren who can be especially excited when the vet tech and his or her fellow professionals bring animals to the school. In this way, a vet tech may very well instill a love for veterinary medicine in one or more students that might one day see them entering the veterinary care field.
Zoos and Wildlife Parks
For those vet techs who enjoy working with exotic animals, zoos and wildlife parks can be an excellent and rewarding career choice. A vet tech who is employed by a zoo will generally be working with a wide variety of exotic animals. In many cases, a zoo may also require that its vet techs be specialized in one or more fields.
Not only can this help the vet tech improve his or her earning potential, but it also provides an excellent way to become involved in cutting edge zoological work.
In addition to maintaining the health of a zoo’s animals, the vet tech may also assist wildlife biologists and other personnel in carrying out breeding programs for endangered species. In many cases, those vet techs working in this area can take partial credit for helping to ensure that endangered animals do not become extinct. As anyone who has seen the baby pandas that were born in captivity can attest, such projects often receive a great deal of publicity and public acclaim.
Finally, vet techs may also conduct educational seminars at the zoo, which can either take place in a fixed setting or be part of the larger zoo experience. Many zoos have regular shows involving live animals, where vet techs and other zoo workers can let the guests closely examine and even handle animals that they have never before had the opportunity to see.
Ultimately, becoming a vet tech is a gateway to a personally and professionally rewarding career. Vet techs not only play a vital role in providing high quality care to America’s animals, but they also are an integral part of the communities that they serve.
Whether it is in providing first aid to a child’s injured pet or helping with an educational presentation regarding wild animals, the vet tech can expect to enjoy a wide range of exciting and satisfying activities.
This makes becoming a vet tech an excellent choice for those individuals who find satisfaction in providing high quality care for the animals they have been entrusted with.