A registered veterinary technician (vet tech) has many career options, beginning with which type of practice or facility in which to work.
A vet tech can specialize, too. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA.net), one of the leading national organizations for vet techs, provides a comprehensive overview of the eleven specialist categories approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association, one of which is the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. Though this sounds like it studies the behavior of veterinarians as much as animals, the focus of the Academy is “creating, maintaining, and strengthening the human-animal bond.”
A vet tech who achieves the designation of behavior specialist will be specially trained in animal behavior, problem management, and training. One of the growing fields these knowledge and skills are especially useful for is the training, management and placement of service dogs.
Service dogs are not just the ones you see in the grocery store with a backpack to help the owner carry his dog food home. Service dogs are specially trained for, of course, the blind, but also as mental health service dogs, therapy dogs, emotional support dogs (such as for people with PTSD), seizure response dogs, and service dogs for children with autism.
The training of these dogs can take from six to eighteen months and cost tens of thousands of dollars. There is a large investment in their training and health maintenance.
The websites listed below are excellent sources to learn more about this fascinating use of dogs as participants and assistance in the maintenance of human health.
At the time of this writing, at least one of these organizations was looking for a Director of Programs, with experience as a registered vet tech among the acceptable qualifications.
Working with service dog organizations is just one of the many examples of new career opportunities that the designation of registered vet tech can provide.