In September we celebrated Vet Appreciation week. Vets do amazing work and we need and love their support. Vets, however, cannot do it all alone. The staffing of veterinary clinics can often determine the hospital’s success. One of the critical roles you’ll find in the office is the veterinary technician (and assistants), the nurses to our pets. This week (October 15-20, 2017) is National Vet Tech Appreciation Week. I want to spend this week recognizing our the talent and patience our vet techs demonstrate.
First let’s talk about the different roles:
Veterinary Assistants often have some certifications and learn on the job; there are no credentialing exams performed. Some clerical work is handled by the people in this role including customer service, scheduling appointments, and working with other offices to obtain pet records. In addition to clerical work a vet assistant will help with handling, feeding, exercising, and even restraining the animals.
Veterinary Technicians have more clinical responsibilities than assistants. Many obtain 2-year degrees (some get 4-year) and must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). In order to maintain their credentials they must also earn continuing education credits to keep them current with the latest medical updates and practices. In a vet clinic technicians maintain pet records but also perform some basic clinical routines. Some of the work requires x-rays, preparing for/assisting with surgeries, and performing lab tests.
Vet techs also have the option to specialize by joining an academy focusing on dental, critical care, anesthesia, internal medicine, or several other options.
Very few states in the United States make a distinction between 2 and 4 year education for vet techs. If a distinction were to be made the four-year bachelor’s degree would be considered a vet technologist. The roles here are mostly similar unless the “technologist” moves into a research driven field.
Stay tunes for some more fun posts and information about becoming a vet tech. For more details you may also visit:
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America