I’ve always worked with animals from the time I joined the workforce in high school. I started off working at Petsmart while trying to get my foot into the door of an animal hospital.
Once I became of age, I worked as a receptionist for a few years, and then finally got the chance to become a veterinary assistant. I knew that this was the field for me and I eventually wanted to advance on to become a veterinary technician. It took me a few years to finally buckle down and make the decision to apply to the local program.
The reasoning behind this is simple. A lot of people were telling me that it was a waste of money and time. They would exclaim that you didn’t need schooling or a license to work as a technician.
I understood where they were coming from because as an assistant I was doing almost everything that they were but without a proper formal training. I knew that wasn’t the way that I wanted to work.
I wanted the license, the respect, and most of all the title of Registered / Licensed Veterinary Technician.
Starting At A Vet Tech School
In the Fall of 2009 I was accepted into Macomb Community College’s Vet Tech Program in Michigan. I was extremely nervous regardless of the fact that I had a few years of experience under my belt. Macomb’s program is very highly rated and known to be very strict.
They have a goal to run the program as if you’re already working in the career field with a very stringent attendance policy and high academic expectations.
For example, you must pass every class with at least a 75% or you have to drop out of the program and wait a year to retake the class that you failed.
Even with my prior experience and familiarity of the program I was entering nothing could have prepared me for exactly how strenuous and difficult the next two years were going to be. Most of the vet tech programs are on a full time basis so it’s nearly impossible to maintain a full time job and still have the time you need to devote to studying for your classes.
I highly recommend, if possible, cutting your workload down to part time to be able toaccommodate all of studying that you’re going to have to do. I know that this isn’t possible for everyone since we all have to have a way to support ourselves but trust me, try.
The studying is another thing that I wasn’t prepared for. I’ve always been a great student. I had no issues in high school or other college classes with having to study. I would read over everything once and it would usually stick pretty well. The curriculum in veterinary technician programs is beyond anything that I’ve had to learn before.
I knew it was a medical profession but for some reason I wasn’t thinking exactly how in depth it was going to be. You’re learning several different species and various skills.
If you think about it, as a Vet Tech, you’re training to become a nurse, a dental hygienist, a surgical technician, an x-ray technician, and anesthesia technician.
It’s quite the workload and anyone thinking about attending school needs to be aware of that.
School is expensive anyway that you look at it. It doesn’t matter what decide that you want for your future, if you’re attending college, it’s going to cost quite a bit of money.
If you’re going into the veterinary field you probably already know that you’re not going to be making the kind of money where you’re driving around in a brand new Ferrari and own a mansion on the ocean. You won’t meet one technician out there who is in it for the money.
We do what we do because we love to do it. Spending the money on an education to be able to go to wake up for work everyday excited, and then go and come home satisfied, is worth it in every way.
After graduation in 2012, I can honestly say that I have not one single regret. It was the most grueling, expensive, stressful experiences of my life but now I have what I worked so hard for. I have graduated from an AVMA accredited program and am now hold a license to work in the state of Texas.
About the Author:
Erin is a 20 something mother, blogger, and Registered Vet Tech.
There isn’t much free time to be had with a one year old son, 2 cats, 2 dogs, a rat, running a blog, and working nights and weekends in emergency and critical care medicine. A busy life is a life full of adventure, right?
You can find more writings at Unconventional Mommy Tails