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What Do Veterinary Technicians Do?

Veterinary technicians may help treat livestock animals, such as pigs.
Veterinary technicians instruct owners how to care for their pets following treatment, such as how to care for a bandaged wound.
A veterinarian technician must love working with animals.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 December 2014
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Veterinary technicians are the veterinary equivalent of a nurse. They are responsible for assisting veterinarians in the day to day tasks around the office and in medical procedures. Veterinary technicians have usually attended enough college to get a two-year technical degree, and then the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), given through the American Veterinary Medical Association. States have different requirements for the exact requirements and fees to become a licensed veterinary technician.

Veterinary technicians have a lot of responsibilities around a veterinary office. They are responsible for keeping everything running smoothly. They make appointments for patients, and help with pet owners to understand what is wrong with their pet, and what the treatment options are, as well as how to care for their pets after a medical procedure. They also do billings and some other light office work.

The most important part of the job of a veterinarian technician is working with the animals. They are responsible for working with many different species of animals throughout the course of a day. Much like nurses in human medicine, a veterinary technician is responsible for performing physical exams and giving shots, such as vaccinations. Other responsibilities may include performing x-rays and cleaning teeth.

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Another important task that veterinary technicians do is to assist during surgeries. This might involve preparing the surgery room, helping to anesthetize the animal, assisting during the surgery itself, and then performing cleanup afterward. Other tasks include performing tests and doing lab work.

Most veterinarian technicians work for private practices, but that is not the only option. The military has a growing number of positions available for veterinarian technicians on bases, providing routine care for the pets owned by military personnel. Veterinary technicians may also be hired to take care of laboratory animals, work with their local Humane Society, or may even be employed by private firms, as a public educator, or as a private animal care taker.

The job of a veterinary technician is very demanding. There is a lot to know and keep track of. It is often both physically and mentally challenging, and it can be hard to accept that not every animal who is brought into the veterinary clinic will be okay, despite everyone's best efforts. Anyone interested in this career should try volunteering at a local veterinarian office before starting a veterinarian technician degree, as this job isn't right for everyone.

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anon302510
Post 5

Your comment on vet tech positions is right on. It is very demanding, but can also be very rewarding - and schooling is important.

popcorn
Post 3

Veterinary technicians really don't make a lot of money for the amount of work they are responsible for. I really think you need to love animals for this career to be fulfilling for you.

I read that in the USA that only the top 10% of veterinary technicians make around $20 an hour. For those who are new to the field and starting out, you are looking at around $9 an hour.

Considering the cost of two years of college, just recouping your costs could take awhile.

Interestingly, where you work, city wise, also plays a role in how much you get paid. Larger metropolitans tend to pay more. So you may want to consider a move to a bigger city to make more money.

lonelygod
Post 2

For those who are curious about becoming a veterinary technician, you can often find volunteer work at a local animal shelter or clinic.

My friend worked as a veterinary technician and where she worked accepted students and adult volunteers. They also offered paid and unpaid internships.

I think, as this job can be very demanding, that those who want to pursue this career should take the time to sample before jumping right it.

While you may enjoy playing with your pet, it is another thing to clean up after dozens of sick animals, deal with customers and sometimes have to take care of grooming.

While most clinics have set guidelines on what a veterinary technician does, at smaller work places, you can find yourself doing a bit of pretty much everything.

anon46973
Post 1

it is a great article.

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