Veterinary technicians, especially registered veterinary technicians, aren’t precisely veterinarians, but they’re the next best thing. They’re involved in giving medical care to animals, and they’re qualified professionals who have had academic and on-the-job training in looking after animals and birds. In general, the tasks and responsibilities of a vet tech include:
- Assisting veterinarians in all that they do.
- Helping with surgeries and routine examinations.
- Administering medication, intravenously or otherwise.
- Conducting lab tests and knowing how to read the results of these tests.
- Providing overnight care for animals that have had surgeries and need to be kept in the hospital for observation.
- Working X-ray machines to diagnose animals with broken bones.
- Talking to clients and explaining surgeries and other medical procedures to them.
- Teaching clients how best to care for and cope with their animals.
- Helping with training animals – they teach obedience classes for pets.
- Some vet techs specialize in animal behavior and are involved with behavioral testing at veterinary practices.
- Some vet techs treat minor injuries and small wounds in the absence of a veterinarian and in emergencies.
If you want to become a registered veterinary technician, you must be prepared to:
- Enroll in and complete a two or four-year degree program. It could be an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, but it is necessary that you attend college before you’re allowed to take the certification examination.
- Apply for and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). This exam spans four hours and will test your abilities in prepping animals for surgery, nursing, animal pharmacology, lab procedures and other topics pertinent to veterinary science.
- Apply for an internship position at a veterinary practice or hospital.
- Apply for a job with a veterinarian who practices independently or with a larger hospital, depending on your location and options.
Most vet techs go on to specialize in one particular field of care – you could choose to study critical care, internal medicine, dentistry, equine care or anesthesia to extend your repertoire, boost your chances of success, and earn a higher salary. If you’re looking for jobs and hoping to reach out to other vet techs, joining the National Association of Veterinary Technicians is your best bet. This association helps not just with jobs, but also with continuing education and career development.