Veterinary Technician Jobs
Much like nurses are the front line to doctors, veterinary technicians are the front line to veterinarians. Veterinary technicians work under the guidance of licensed veterinarians and assist in a variety of tasks. These tasts including surgeries, medication administrations, wound cleaning, nail trimming, assessing vital health information and performing routine procedures.
Procedures such as blood draws and collecting urine and fecal samples, and much more.
Part nurse, part groomer, part magician, veterinary technicians are often called upon to handle dangerous or troubled animals and keep them restrained while administering necessary medical treatment. By the very nature of what they do (assist licensed veterinarians), most veterinary technicians are employed in private solo or group veterinary clinics/practices, where they assist the veterinarians and move the patents along through the appointment process. Note - check out aquaculture veterinarian jobs in the fish farming industry. Find out how these veterinary positions differ from those described in our Animal Jobs section.
Veterinary technicians must attend veterinary technician programs that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Students in AVMA-accredited programs typically earn either a two-year associate's degree, or a four-year bachelor's degree. As with most jobs, the higher the degree you possess, the higher your starting salary and job requirements will be. Technicians also must have clinical, hands-on experience, which is called an externship, preceptorship or practicum.
Unlike studying to become a veterinarian, which requires classroom face time, it is possible for veterinary technician students to earn their degrees via distance learning from home. The AVMA accredits these programs, which still require clinical experience. There are currently 150 programs, 18 of which offer a four-year degree, and nine of which offer distance learning options.
The only states that do not offer AVMA-accredited veterinary technician programs are Alaska, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Montana and Rhode Island.
Tuition fees vary per school. For example, at the Veterinary Technology Distance Education Program at St. Petersburg Junior College in St. Petersburg, Florida, tuition is $7,257 for Florida residents (including lab fees, books and uniforms), and $21,228 for out-of-state students. The Distance Program costs $5,331 for Florida residents and $15,092 for out-of-state students, but in both cases, basic 22 hours of course work is a prerequisite, and there is an additional $754 technology fee, as well as the $800 book fee.
Most states also require veterinary technicians to take and pass a test regulated by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, which, upon passing, earns a certification, license or registration for said state. In some states, veterinary technicians must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination.
Veterinary technicians can find themselves on call much like veterinarians and their pay can range from minimum wage to upwards of $50,000 per year, depending on where they work.