In today’s competitive economic environment, finding a long-term and personally rewarding career is the goal of many individuals, whether they are preparing to change careers, or are entering the job market for the first time.
Fortunately, by becoming a veterinary technician, individuals can enter into a vibrant and growing field of veterinary medicine.
This is especially true given the emphasis on effective animal care both in the domestic and industrial fields.
Basic Duties of the Veterinary Technician
A veterinary technician plays much the same role in the veterinarian’s office as a nurse does in a doctor’s office.
As such, he or she handles the medical duties that help assist the veterinarian in providing the top-flight veterinary care owners expect for their pets.
Among the duties of the registered veterinary technician are the following:
- Conducting initial physical and evaluation of animals brought into the veterinarians office, in order to create baseline information for the veterinarian to later use in creating a complete picture of the animal’s health condition.
- After the veterinarian has determined the proper drugs to administer, the veterinarian technical often administers those drugs to the animal. In many cases, this also includes instructing the owners of the animal in how to administer those drugs that are sent home with the pet after its stay at the veterinary clinic.
- The veterinary technician will take store and transport biological samples from the animal. In many cases, this also includes correctly packaging them for transport to a testing facility, and doing while complying with the regulations regarding how to properly transport biological samples.
- Vet techs are often the first responders when an injured or ill animal is brought into the office. This requires that they provide first aid in order to stabilize the injured or ill animal, as well as taking down information to provide to the veterinarian when he or she arrives.
- In some cases, a veterinary technician will assist the veterinarian in preparing animals for surgery, as well as assisting in the post surgical procedures, monitoring the animal to ensure that it is making a proper recovery.
- In some cases, an injured or ill animal may become combative. The veterinary technician will often be required to immobilize the animal in such a way as to ensure the safety of the staff, while minimizing the animal’s discomfort and fear.
- Finally, in many cases, pet owners are distraught when their pet has been injured or has become severely ill. The veterinary technician must be prepared to calm these individuals while interviewing them in order to obtain accurate information about the pet’s condition.
Additional Missouri Vet Tech Duties
In addition to practices serving domestics pets, Missouri has a wide range of livestock and production animal industries.
These industries require a veterinary staff to help ensure the comfort and health of the animals, especially in those industries that are regulated by the federal or state government.
In addition, animal shelters and humane societies often require vet techs to provide care for lost or abandoned animals, or injured animals that have been dropped off at the site. For this reason, many of these groups are interested in hiring vet techs.
Steps To Become a Vet Tech in Missouri
Becoming a vet tech in Missouri requires that the candidate complete a series of steps before being licensed as a veterinary technician. The most important step is to take a two or four-year course at a school that has been accredited by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).
Alternately, a student who has studied at a non-accredited school may provide transcripts and information demonstrating that the school provides an equivalent education, but approval is on a case-by-case basis.
After completing his or her course-work, the student must complete these steps:
- Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), with a score of no less than 425. Missouri only allows the VTNE to be attempted a total of four times by any candidate.
- The student must then take the Missouri State Board exam, which tests the candidate’s knowledge of how Missouri state law interacts with the duties of the veterinary technician.
- Register with the Missouri Division of Professional Registration.
Alternate Paths to Becoming a Veterinary Technician
While Missouri does not have any direct reciprocity agreements with other states, if a state has requirements that are equivalent to Missouri’s the candidate may be allowed to become a licensed vet tech in Missouri. However, in this case the candidate must still take the state board exam, as that pertains to specific points of Missouri law.
Career Outlook for Veterinary Technicians
Currently, veterinary technicians enjoy a very bright career outlook. With the increasing emphasis many families put on the care of their beloved companion animals, the provision of effective and high quality veterinary care has become a priority in many regions.
For this reason, all aspects of the veterinary health sector have shown robust growth.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that the employment opportunities for veterinary technicians will continue to grow at a well above average rate for the foreseeable future. In addition, the rate of retirement among current veterinary technicians has led to a growing demand for replacement vet techs. For these reasons, becoming a veterinary technician remains a wise choice for newly graduated students and older workers alike.