Vet Tech – Salary, School Program Online, and Certification Requirements
What is a vet tech? A vet tech assists the veterinarian in treating and diagnosing animals in animal hospitals, private clinics, and research facilities. A vet tech is also referred to as a veterinary technologist although there are minor differences between the two. Veterinary assistants are often supervised by vet techs. The additional responsibilities of a vet tech include:
- Monitoring and documents the activity and vital signs of patients
- Assisting the veterinarian with medical examinations
- Obtaining and preparing blood samples for testing
- Taking digital x-rays
- Preparing animals for surgery and assisting during surgical procedures
- Conducting triage and managing patients
- Performing dental procedures
- Assisting veterinarians with euthanasia
The average veterinary technician earned a yearly salary of $32,490 in 2016, or $15.62 per hour. This salary reflects the jobs requirements and the experience level and education of the vet tech.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Vet Tech
The standard program to become a veterinary technician takes two years to complete. There are online vet tech programs and online vet tech schools available. Some of these programs are accelerated and shorten the length of time required for completion. The schools and programs must be accredited by the CVTEA, or Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities, and the AVMA, or American Veterinary Medicine Association. An associates degree is generally earned within the program.
How to Become a Vet Tech
The formal training includes clinical and laboratory work with animals. High school courses including biology and math are helpful. Candidates should additionally volunteer at an animal shelter or veterinarian’s office to gain experience. An accredited veterinary program must be completed. The licensing requirements vary by state but typically include the Veterinary Technician National Examination. This is administered by the AAVSB, or the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. A vet tech must receive their certification before they are legally able to practice.
The Difference Between a Vet Tech and a Vet Assistant
A vet tech and a vet assistant both work in animal clinics or hospitals. The job duties, training, and educational requirements are different. A vet tech can perform additional duties including vaccinating, medicating and anesthetizing animals. The assistants bathe and feed the animals, prepare operating and examination rooms, and perform clerical duties.
The Necessary Skills
A vet tech learns a lot during their formal training, but certain personals are necessary. This includes:
- The ability to understand the needs of the colleagues and clients.
- The ability to convey instructions clearly and concisely to veterinary assistants and clients.
- The ability to interact effectively with veterinary assistants, veterinarians and the owners of the animals
- The ability to keep track of medications and lab specimens
- The ability to identify and solve problems regarding illnesses and injuries
- The ability to provide alternative solution regarding making decisions and solving problems
- The ability to choose the most effective solutions
- The ability to notice any changes in the condition of the animal so future complications can be prevented.
- The ability to work with veterinary assistants and veterinarians while synchronizing their actions with yours
- Must be mature and friendly
- Must be able to work well with others and multi-task
- Must perform well in a fast-paced environment
- The strength to lift fifty pounds is a necessity
- The ability to practice good judgment and work independently
- The ability to provide high-quality care for all patient
- The ability to ask for help when required
- Must have strong computer skills and the ability to use a paperless information system
- Must remain composed and calm during emergency situations