The tasks vet techs often take on include drawing blood, placing catheters, assisting in surgery, managing anesthesia, and giving medications. In actuality, their duties encompass much, much more. In fact, it’s easier to list what they can’t do: make diagnoses, perform surgery or prescribe medication.
Veterinary technicians typically work wherever you find veterinarians — private practices, hospitals, research labs, and zoos. While they are clearly an important part of the professional veterinary team today, this hasn’t always been the case. The first “animal technician” program was created in the 1960s, before then, veterinarians hired students or office workers to feed the animals, clean the cages, answer the phone, and do other routine tasks. As the field of animal health became more complex, a need arose for a well-educated staff that could take on greater responsibilities.
Getting the Education and Experience
A desire to work with animals is a big part of what makes a great vet tech, but a solid education is just as important. There’s no quick way to get the education you need. A lot of people say they want to become a tech because they love animals, but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort.
A licensed veterinary technician, or CVT, has earned an associate’s degree or higher in veterinary technology from an accredited school, and has passed a national exam demonstrating specific knowledge and competencies. Training consists of laboratory and clinical work with live animals.
The scientific aspects of the job aren’t the only things that vet techs need to prepare for, however. The hardest part of working as a technician is dealing with the relatively short lifespan of animals. Another challenge is getting by on the salary, which, on average, skews quite a bit lower than comparable jobs in human medicine.
Although Animal Medical Clinic values our technicians each day of the year, we take this week to honor their commitment, compassion, and high quality veterinary care for all animals. We love our Certified Veterinary Technicians: Jane, Cammie, Melanie, Tracey, Brandi and Katy.