Veterinarian Technician Appreciation Week
The third full week in October is National Veterinary Technician week. This week’s blog will highlight veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants. Long before I ever started working for a veterinary hospital, I realized the value of great technicians and assistants. Just like in human medicine, the techs and assistants are the nurses to your doctors. They will spend more time with your pet than what the veterinarian will be able to and perform tasks like blood draws, dental cleanings and radiographs. It has always been important to me to not only have veterinarians that I trust but to also trust the techs and assistants just as much. That is why I appreciate and celebrate my co-workers!
Veterinary technologists and technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing the injuries and illnesses of animals. Veterinary technicians must complete a postsecondary program in veterinary technology. There are both accredited colleges and online schools that provide veterinary technology programs. AVMA has a list of colleges with VMT programs. Technologists need a 4-year bachelor’s degree, and technicians need a 2-year associate’s degree. Typically, both technologists and technicians must take a credentialing exam and must become registered, licensed, or certified, depending on the requirements of the state in which they work. Technologists and technicians require at least 16 hours of continuing education each year. Technologists can become specialists such as emergency/critical care, anesthesiology, and dentistry.
Veterinary assistants care for the animals by performing routine tasks under the supervision of scientists, veterinarians, and veterinary technologists and technicians. Most veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers have a high school diploma and learn the occupation on the job.
Veterinary technologists, technicians and assistants work in private clinics, laboratories, and animal hospitals. Their jobs may be physically or emotionally demanding. Many work evenings, weekends, and holidays. It is definitely not a glamorous job or a job you will get rich at, but it is a very rewarding job in many other ways.
If you are thinking about getting into the animal care field, I would recommend by volunteering at your local animal shelter and/or rescue. Those facilities are always in need of help and the experience will provide you with a lot of information that can assist you throughout your career.
Mountain View Veterinary Services currently employ ten techs and assistance. We have had some wonderful clients who, over the years, make food and other items for the techs… I send my love to all of you. But even the clients who have sent cards can make a bad day better. So, during this week, take a moment to send your favorite technician or group of techs a little thank you card.