Veterinary Technician

What Does a Veterinary Technician Do?
A veterinarian is not the only person who provides animals with health care. Veterinary technicians provide animals with care as well, acting in much the same way as nurses do in a clinical setting. Veterinary technicians work under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian. They assist veterinarians in providing animal dental care, help veterinary technologists take blood samples from the patient, steady and monitoring the patient for any other required tests, and provide valuable aid to the veterinarian and veterinary technologist in general. Technicians can also provide animals with routine care. These duties can include maintenance treatments such as claw trimmings, assistive services such as helping pet owners with medication administration, and general nursing responsibilities such as changing the dressings of the animal patientís wounds. Some veterinary technicians also develop x-ray films, keep veterinary records accurate and up-to-date, and educate pet owners about their animalís condition.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Veterinary Technician?
Pets are very much a part of the human family, despite the differences in species. Pet owners typically treat their animals as part of the clan, taking them on trips and including them in family photo albums. It is no surprise then that many pet owners are also diligent about keeping their animals in the best shape possible and providing them with health care just as they would provide their human family members with health care. For this reason, skilled veterinary technicians who are capable of assisting veterinarians will remain in demand well into the future. Employment opportunities for veterinary technicians are expected to increase 36 percent through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job openings will be the highest for veterinary technicians who are familiar with household pets, especially cats, as a growing number of cats are now being kept as companion pets. Veterinary technicians earn an average salary of $28,900 annually, according to the latest information available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Veterinary Technician?
The veterinary technician occupation is a highly rewarding job, especially for those who love animals and want to work with them. Aspiring veterinary technicians must first earn an associate degree accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in veterinary technology. An associate program typically takes about two years to complete. During their time in school, students take courses in biology, chemistry, animal anatomy, and other classes related to preparing students for a successful future in handling and treating animals. After completing the veterinary technology program, graduates must pass a State Board of Veterinary Examiners-regulated credentialing examination in order to practice. This ensures that the veterinary technician truly has the drive and knowledge needed to work with animals in a clinical setting. Some states require that technicians become certified, but these mandates vary, so you should check with your stateís veterinary licensing agency for details. Entry-level veterinary technicians usually train under the supervision of a veterinarian.