If you enjoy caring for animals, whether yours or from others, you show promise as a veterinarian. But you don’t have to go through the rigors of becoming one which is equivalent to a medical career. You can simply be a veterinary technician which has become an indispensable in animal health care.
Education and Training required
Becoming one is akin to being a nurse but in addition, you also get trained as a lab, radiology and pharmacy technician as well as an animal anesthesiologist along with administrative skills in maintaining medicines and treatment records. A 2-3 year credentialed degree as an Associate in Science majoring in veterinary qualifies you to become a veterinary technician. Just be sure you get it from any of the conventional and online schools accredited by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association).
Veterinary Technician Getting the Job
A certification in the state where you want to practice gives you an edge in landing a higher paying job and opens up career opportunities but years of experience has more to do with getting a higher salary than a degree.
Job opportunities include being an assistant to a veterinarian in pet clinics or in specialized areas to handle equipment in radiology, laboratory testing and as an anesthesiologist. There are also jobs waiting for you in pharmaceutical companies focused on pet care. You could get employment in a highly competitive job as one in a zoo where you specialize in managing exotic and wild animals either for research, conservation, care and treatment.
Veterinary Technician Working Conditions
Working like a nurse to assist veterinarians, your job requires you to properly handle and restrain pets for treatment or diagnostic procedures, conduct lab tests, administer anesthetics and do office clerical work. In a zoo, you get exposed to a more demanding environment doing much of the same but dealing with wild and exotic animals. If you work in a pharmaceutical lab, expect to work in sterilized clean rooms in your research work.
Veterinary Technician Salary and Benefits
Pay scales from various pet hospitals, labs, clinics, labs and pharmaceutical firms average from $10.22 to a high of $17. Pharmaceuticals often pay more. Annualized, the salary of a veterinarian technician ranges from $22,600 to $33,600 according to the US labor statistics. The NAVTA (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America) reports that a licensed vet tech earned as much as $80,000 in 2009. Some states offer higher salary than others like Seattle topping the list.