How to Become a Veterinary Technician

Become a Veterinary Technician

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Veterinary technicians are to vets what nurses are to doctors. If you like being with animals, but aren't sure you want the responsibilities and challenges that come with being a vet, you might want to explore retraining as a veterinary technician. As a vet technician, you would be able to assist in carrying out life-enhancing or even life-saving procedures on animals. Online veterinary technician training courses can supply the coursework you need to improve your skills and enter this field. The hiring demand in veterinary medicine is expected to be strong, regardless of the state of the economy of the future as people will always have pets that need medical attention.

Important Career Skills for Veterinary Technicians

Veterinary technicians generally work closely with vets in private practices, although some work in hospitals. Like vets, veterinary technicians might also use their career skills to work with larger animals and livestock, or in research roles.

Tasks of veterinary technicians include administering laboratory tests, taking blood, doing x-rays, and keeping detailed records of procedures. To do this job well, you must be patient, have manual dexterity, a true affinity for animals, and be able to work well on a team. You must also be able to follow procedures and instructions given to you by the vet.

Sometimes veterinary technicians work with animals that react aggressively to humans. This means that it's very helpful career skill to be able to manage an animal's behavior. Online veterinary training courses with a focus on animal anatomy and illness will help you retrain for this career.

Career Advice for Veterinary Technicians

The amount of education needed to become a veterinary technician is less than what's necessary for becoming a full-fledged veterinarian. An associate's degree is generally a great start for this career. As you complete your retraining, it will likely be important to include an apprenticeship or internship under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Career Outlook

  • Career Outlook 2012-22. 30 Percent - Much faster than the national average of 11 percent for all careers.
  • Median Annual Salary. In May 2013, the Veterinary Technologists and Technicians earned a median annual salary of $31,760 with top 10% making more than $44,490.
  • Career Training. There are 217 American Veterinary Medical Association accredited programs in Veterinary Technology.
  • Where the Jobs Are. The top employing states for veterinary technicians and technologists in 2013 included Texas, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.
  • Get Licensed. Veterinary technicians and technologists need to pass a State licensing exam prior to practicing veterinary medicine.
  • Schooling Required. Veterinary technicians typically need a 2-year degree while a veterinary technologist should have a 4-year degree.
  • Conducting Research. Veterinary technicians or technologists looking to work in research traditionally need certification from American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
  • Good Pay. District of Columbia, Alaska, New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia were the highest paying metropolitan areas for veterinary technologists and veterinary technicians in 2013.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, May 2013 Wages