Currently, the veterinary care sector is enjoying dramatic growth due to a combination of factors. Many families are willing to heavily invest in their pet’s health and well-being, going so far as to take out veterinary insurance policies. Additionally, the growing importance of insuring the comfort and health of livestock and other production animals has resulted in a demand for veterinary care in the industrial farming and ranching sectors.
Vet Tech Duties
Vet techs perform a variety of duties under the guidance of the veterinarian, and in general carry out the same types of duties that a registered nurse (RN) performs for a physician.
Among the most common duties that vet techs will perform are the following:
- The vet tech will admit animals to the veterinary practice and obtain the needed information from their owners about the animal’s condition. The vet tech will also evaluate whether the animal requires immediate treatment.
- Vet techs will perform the initial examination of the animal in non-emergency situations, obtaining the base line information that the veterinarian will use to help evaluate the animal’s health and overall condition.
- Vet techs will administer those drugs prescribed by the vet. In addition, they will instruct the animal’s owners in how to administer drugs that have been prescribed for use after the animal is released.
- Many vet techs will assist the veterinarian before and during surgical procedures, as well as help in monitoring the animal after the surgery is concluded.
- When an animal is agitated, vet techs may be required to restrain the animal in such a way as to protect the veterinary staff without harming or unduly frightening the animal.
Vet tech duties may vary depending on their employer. A vet tech who is employed at a spay and neuter clinic, for example, will likely focus on efficiently assisting the veterinarian in those surgical procedures, while a vet tech working in a general practice will have a more varied range of duties.
Career Areas for Veterinary Technicians
Vet techs have a wide variety of career options available to them in Ontario. With an extensive range of urban and rural population centers, along with major farming and ranching establishments, Ontario is an excellent choice for a veterinary technician.
Among the more common careers a vet tech can obtain are the following:
- Rural and urban veterinary practices remain the primary source of employment for most vet techs.
- Exotic pet clinics are becoming increasingly common, catering to owners of animal breeds ranging from birds to exotic reptiles.
- Government organizations, ranging from animal control to wildlife management programs, are an increasing source of employment for veterinary technicians.
- Many businesses that make use of production animals and livestock employ veterinary personnel to ensure that their animals remain in good health and that the businesses comply with health and safety regulations regarding livestock.
Becoming a Licensed Vet Tech in Ontario
Ontario requires that all practicing veterinary technicians be licensed by the province. In order to obtain licensure, the vet tech should complete the following steps before applying for a veterinary technician’s license.
Attend an Accredited Veterinary Technology Program
Veterinary programs in Ontario must be accredited by the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) in order to count towards becoming a veterinary technician. This accreditation process ensures that the program is effective in training its students in the academic and practical aspects of a veterinary technician’s duties. A student should check with the OAVT to ensure that his or her program is accredited before attending any classes.
Students attending programs in other Canadian provinces or the United States should ensure that their schools have been accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) or the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), as schools accredited by those agencies will be accepted by the OAVT.
Full-time vet tech programs generally take approximately two years to complete. However, many programs offer part-time and online programs that can allow a student to complete the program at his or her own pace. This can be especially important for students who are currently working or who have family obligations that limit their available time for attending class.
Taking the Veterinary Technician National Examination
After completing his or her program, the student must take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). This test is a comprehensive examination that tests the students for their academic and practical skills as relates to the practice of veterinary technology. In order to successfully pass it, the student must score at least 425 on the test.
The Ontario Examination
In addition to completing the VTNE, the candidate must also complete an examination administered by the OAVT, which focuses on the ethical and legal requirements for a licensed veterinary technician who is working in Ontario. In order to successfully complete this exam, the vet tech must understand how the law interacts with his or her duties as a veterinary technician.
Finally, the vet tech must provide proof that he or she has not been convicted of a crime and be a member in good standing with the OAVT. Not all criminal convictions will render a candidate ineligible to become a licensed vet tech and so anyone who has been convicted should immediately contact the OAVT to determine if it will impact their eligibility.
The Benefits of Becoming an Ontario Vet Tech
Becoming a licensed Ontario veterinary technician is an excellent career choice in today’s economy. Veterinary technology is a sector that is currently enjoying robust and sustained growth, which will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
Additionally, given the importance many families assign to their pets, the field of veterinary technology will continue to enjoy high respect from coworkers and the public alike. Finally, veterinary technicians earn a very competitive salary in comparison to other fields with similar educational and licensing requirements. Whether for a newly graduated individual, or someone who has decided to change careers, becoming a veterinary technician is a promising and exciting career choice.
Vet Tech Programs[edu-search]vet_tech_progra010101082584[/edu-search]