I’m a high school senior and I’m considering going to school to become a Veterinary Technician because I love animals more than anything. Is this a good career choice and what do Vet Techs actually do?
Go Waltrip Rams!
Dear Go Waltrip Rams,
What an interesting question and bravo to you for finding ways to use your love of animals to serve others. I loved your question so much that I went to the good folks at Texas A&M University’s School of Veterinary Medicine to get some answers for you.
“Veterinary technicians are the people who provide the technical support for patient care and assist veterinarians with many responsibilities,” says D’Lisa Whaley, veterinary technician at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
“Veterinary technicians have such a wide range of responsibilities such as restraining a patient for a physical exam, checking vital signs, administering medications, obtaining diagnostic samples, monitoring a patient under anesthesia, or assisting a veterinarian during a surgical procedure,” Whaley said.
“Technicians are also trained to operate and troubleshoot all of the equipment in a veterinary hospital or clinic, including monitoring equipment, anesthesia machines, and radiology equipment,” Whaley said.
“In order to receive a degree in veterinary technology, one must attend and complete an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited technician program,” Whaley explained. “Many of these programs are offered at junior or community colleges. Some programs even offer a ‘2+2’ program in partnership with a four year college so that the student is able to earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science. After completing the veterinary technology program, the student can take a national exam and a state exam to earn the title of licensed or registered veterinary technician.”
Though Whaley said there are many things she loves about being a veterinary technician, her favorite aspects of her job include a challenging and fast-paced work environment, interacting with patients and finding the best treatment options, and obtaining diagnostic samples.
Although veterinary technicians help provide care for furry patients and save animal lives, there are challenges veterinary technicians may face, such as comforting an owner over their sick pet.
“One of the most challenging aspects of being a veterinary technician is compassion fatigue,” Whaley said. “Whenever our patients are in pain, we do everything we can to help make them more comfortable. When we lose a patient or comfort an owner as they make the difficult decision to euthanize their beloved pet, we grieve along with the family.”
Despite this challenge, Whaley said, “The great things about this job far outweigh the bad, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Shadowing a Vet Tech at a vet’s office–to make sure that this is the career path for you–might should be your first step in exploring this as a career path. If you’re still interested after that, there are several schools that offer Veterinary Technician classes that are close to home. Talk with your school counselor about ways that you can apply and find out more about this exciting career.
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