A veterinary technician fills a similar role to the veterinarian as does a nurse in human health. He or she is involved in every aspect of animal care, from intake to dismissal, including cleanup and euthanasia, two of the less pleasant tasks in which you might have to participate, but the challenges and rewards of the job more than make up for that.
Your education will prepare you to assist in surgery, emergency and wound care, administer anesthesia and medications, take x-rays, process tissue samples, apply restraint, and perform lab tests such as urinalysis or blood counts. You will also have owner contact, and assist in keeping meticulous records for the animals and the facility (such as supplies and medications).
A wide variety of skills are required, such as computer literacy, good communication skills (oral and written), the ability to think quickly on your feet, math skills, and have the physical capacity for the job, such as being on your feet for extended periods of time and to do physical tasks such as lifting as much as forty pounds (not only supplies but the animals).
Most veterinary technicians work in private practice clinics, but the education will prepare you for employment in private and public research institutions, military service, humane societies and rescue organizations, veterinary teaching hospitals, livestock and equine facilities, diagnostic laboratories, and zoos and exotic animal facilities.
View specific Vet Tech education and career requirements by state by choosing from the list below.
Find Vet Tech Info For Your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
The DE programs vary widely in tuition, types of programs and specialties offered, and time expected to complete the program. All will graduate you with an Associate’s type of degree in Veterinary Technology from an accredited school, the best situation for you to launch your career as a veterinary technician.
Whether your state requires you to obtain continuing education credits, you should keep current in your education and affiliation with your fellow technicians. Locally, join your state’s veterinary technician association, and consider joining the state’s veterinary medical association. Through one or both of these organizations, the continuing education credits are administered, classes and conferences are listed, and most times job opportunities are posted.
There are national organizations through which you can find a job and keep current.
- Veterinary Career Network
- National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)
- Vet Tech Life, an online journal for veterinary technicians
- Vetcetera, a listing of national, state and specialty veterinary technician associations
NAVTA is an especially good organization for veterinary technician resources, classes, jobs, conferences, events, and keeping current in your career.