Sometimes we cringe when we see those commercials on television that show sad, abused animals and ask for our donation to help. We don't cringe because the commercial is bad or the cause is unnecessary we cringe because we care, and it pains us to see animals in such a condition. Maybe you're one of those self-described animal lovers. Maybe when you watch these commercials you want to do more than just donate; you want to actually have the skills and knowledge that go into helping those precious creatures who cannot help themselves.
If you appreciate animals and have a passion for medicine, then pursuing a career in veterinary assisting and technology may just be the perfect path for you. In many ways, working at a vet can be more difficult than at a human's physician's office: animals can't tell you wear it hurts, what makes it stop hurting, or tell you anything about them at all. With an Associate's Degree in vet assistant and technology you'll acquire the skills and talents necessary to properly work with animals in a variety of ways that will satisfy your craving to be around them and satisfy their need for help and healing.
Veterinarian technologists and assistants perform a variety of tasks inside of a veterinarian's office to supplement the licensed veterinarian. Their responsibilities are centered around maintaining the office environment so that it operates smoothly and assisting the veterinarian with technical tasks and animal care. The animals that come into a vet's office are usually sick or injured, and much work goes into properly diagnosing and treating the animal. Veterinary assistants make sure to observe and document an animal's behavior prior to and following treatment. In some cases emergency care and first aid will need to be administered to animals. This includes anesthesia, which is also applied prior to surgeries and other treatments. When it comes to diagnosing, the collection and testing of laboratory samples like blood, urine, or tissue will generally be done by the assistant; and this is similar to the taking of x-rays. These procedures help provide the veterinarian with the essential information they need to make appropriate medical decisions for these animals. Once the veterinarian does make the decisions, often times the assistant or technologist will administer certain medications and treatments.
The most common areas of employment for veterinarian technologists and assistants are in the veterinarian services industry. This industry largely includes private clinics, but also incorporates laboratories and animal hospitals. In each of these places, the assistant or technologist aids the veterinarian in the ways detailed above, but the specific responsibilities will differ depending on the exact location and type of staff. Other employers might include boarding kennels, animal shelters, rescue leagues, and zoos.
In addition to veterinary science and technology, any veterinarian technology and assistant degree provides an extensive science background to equip the students with the information they need for any particular animal medical ordeal. Frequently biochemistry, clinical pathology, radiology, parasitology, nursing, dentistry, pharmacology, and physiology are all included in a comprehensive degree program all with a veterinarian focus. Individuals who wish to focus on one particular branch of animal, such as horse, can go on to receive more specific training.
Anywhere there are animals that cross paths with humans, there will be the need for talented veterinarian assistants and technologists to perform the essential tasks that keep a veterinarian practice smoothly operational, providing the essential care to animals. Whether working towards preventative measures with household pets, or dealing with sick, injured, or abused animals, veterinarian assistants will possess the technical know-how and emotional empathy to meet the health needs of these otherwise helpless creatures. Now is the right time to take your skills and your love for animals and apply them towards earning your Associate's Degree in vet assistant.
If you have every wanted to get started with your degree in veterinarian assisting then now is the perfect time. Research any of the schools below to get started. Below are just some of the top traits and roles for the career.
Compassion – If you have a love for animals then more often than not you’ll have compassion for them. Being compassionate is one of the top traits that all veterinarian assistants have.
Detailed – Because you’ll be working for a licensed Veterinarian you’ll realize they are very detailed oriented. If you enjoy multitasking then you’ll fit in well as you’ll be dealing with many cases at the same time and always needing to keep track of documents and be well informed about your surroundings.
Flexible – Depending on where you work you might be working with a vet that handles only small animals where some vets travel and are farm veterinarians. It helps to be able to be flexible when looking for your first job as it might not be in a traditional vet setting.
Physiology and Anatomy
Veterinary Office Management
According to the BLS the job outlook for veterinarian technicians is good with an expected increase of 30% over the next 10 years. The average salary is $30,290 for entry level positions and more experienced vet techs can make $44,000 or more.
It is important that you contact your state board first to determine if the school you are going to attend will qualify you to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination or VTNE. The test is given three times per year and will test you in your competency to become a veterinary technician. It is recommended that you take their online practice test firs which is made up of 75 multiple choice questions and should take you about an hour and a half. A veterinarian assistant is different than a technician and in some cases no certification or licensing is needed.