Monday, March 7, 2011
Should You Become a Vet Tech?
by Tina Marconi
It’s a good profession if you like animals, or more specifically, if you enjoy working with animals; however, that’s not all being a vet tech involves. When you choose to become a veterinary technician, you should remember that like any job, it has its pros and cons; and when you weigh the advantages against the disadvantages and see which side comes out on top, you know whether you should become a vet tech or switch to some other career.
Vet techs don’t have to attend years of school like a veterinarian – in fact, you can start working and earning enough to support yourself as early as two years after high school. You can choose to earn either a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree, after which you must appear for and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam which allows you to qualify for a license to practice in your state. However, it is better to opt for a two-year degree program, find work as a vet tech, gain a few years of experience, and then go back to school for another two years to become a veterinary technologist. This opens up more opportunities, allows you to earn a higher salary, enhances your skills and repertoire, and lets you climb up the professional ladder.
Nature of the job
As a vet tech, you will be dealing hands-on with animals. Your primary job is to assist a veterinarian in all aspects of their practice, so you’ll be taking care of sick animals, liaising with their owners, advising in their care and diet, assisting vets with surgeries, and even treating minor injuries and suturing up small wounds. You must have a way with animals if you’re to taste any kind of success at this job, and you must be prepared to work with even the most aggressive ones and know how to calm them down and get them to accept your touch. On the downside, you could end up with vets who push you to the limit and dump work on you, you could be forced to deal with unpleasant pet owners who make unreasonable demands on your time, you could be bitten, scratched and injured in other ways by the animals, and you could get too attached to your patients and feel a deep sense of loss when you lose them or have to put them to sleep.
Perhaps this is the biggest disadvantage of being a vet tech – salaries are very low, and even the best in the business can make only around $35,000 a year. You could go higher if you specialize in one particular aspect of animal care and if you work in research or in private industries in any other capacity. However, with further education, you could become a veterinary technologist and earn much more by working in biomedical, wildlife and diagnostic facilities, and in drug and food manufacturing units. This will remove you from direct contact with animals, so if you’re in the job for the proximity to pets, you’re better off as a vet technician than a vet technologist.
As in any medical field, the hours are long and erratic, and you could be called in to help with sick animals at any time of the day or night, and even when you’re off duty. You would be spending lots of time on your feet, so you must be physically fit and strong enough to help restrain larger animals. Vet techs must work hard, but there’s an innate satisfaction to the job because the animals you treat and care for respond with affection and trust.
Prospects for advancement
Join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians for more career options, networking with fellow vet techs, and opportunities in continuing education. You could choose to move into research and development options in the field of veterinary science if you want to make more money, and if you’re employed in a private practice where there is a shortage of vets, you could take on more responsibility and enhance your skills. With further education, you could become a veterinary technologist and move into a laboratory or factory setting where you would be responsible for diagnostic procedures and quality control.
This guest post is contributed by Tina Marconi, she writes on the topic of online vet tech . She welcomes your comments at her email id: tinamarconi85[@]gmail[.]com.
Howdy! If you are reading this on Facebook, come on over to The All Creatures Great and Small Blog, where it originated. You can ask questions or comment on the post, and then page through previous posts--where a variety of writers have blogged about their pets! http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com