When many people think of veterinary technicians, they think of the professionals whom they see helping veterinarians in local animal clinics or hospitals.
However, did you know that veterinary technicians can work with marine animals as well?
Working with marine animals can be quite intriguing and does not require much additional training than a regular vet tech.
To begin any vet tech career, you must complete a veterinary technology program and earn at least an associate of science degree.
However, if you wish to work with marine animals, you will want to obtain additional training in marine biology.
This can be in the form of completing additional coursework or even earning a marine biology degree.
Furthermore, if you want to become a marine animal vet tech, it is highly recommended that you obtain SCUBA diving certification.
While this is not a requirement, this type of certification can prove extremely helpful in this field and may also help you secure employment after you obtain your vet tech license.
As a veterinary technician working with marine animals, you will work closely with a veterinarian and animal caretakers to provide medical care to such animals as fish, dolphins, octopus, seals, penguins and even whales.
You may be responsible for many different tasks depending on where you choose to work. However, some common responsibilities of marine animal vet techs are listed below.
- Taking Stool, Urine and Blood Samples
- Performing Laboratory Tests
- Administering Injections and Medications
- Handling Medical Records
- Restraining Animals When Necessary
- Assisting During Examinations, Procedures and Surgery
- Assisting in Research Projects
- Taking Vital Signs and Checking for Illnesses
- Maintaining Medical Equipment
- Ordering Inventory
- Feeding Animals and Cleaning Tanks/Living Quarters
According to data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for all vet techs are expected to increase at a rate of about 52 percent until 2020. While this figure is quite impressive, there is currently a low demand for marine animal vet techs.
Nevertheless, it is essential to keep in mind that the more education and experience you possess, the better your chances will be to obtain employment in this field. Marine animal vet techs can be found working in a variety of settings including marine parks, aquariums, fisheries and marine wildlife conservation centers.
With that said, by earning such additional education as SCUBA diving certification, marine biology coursework and/or a marine biology degree, you can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a job in the field. Additionally, participating in paid or volunteer work in related jobs can help as well.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary for all vet techs in 2013 was about $30,290 per year.
However, those who chose to work with marine animals enjoyed average salaries that ranged from $37,000 to $43,000 per year. Of course, these are averages, and the salary you could earn may vary.
If you want to succeed as a marine animal veterinary technician, you must be strong and in excellent health. Some of the animals you may work with can be quite large weighing up to 350 pounds or more. Furthermore, this job can be dangerous at times. As such, you must always be prepared for the unexpected.
Choosing to become a marine animal veterinary technician can be very exciting. However, before you embark on your new career, you will want to make sure that you obtain the proper training and qualifications. By acquiring as much education and experience as you can, you will increase your chances of obtaining employment in the field.