In a clinical practice setting, such as your local veterinary hospital, veterinary technicians handle many of the same responsibilities that nurses and other professionals perform for physicians – and, like veterinarians, they are trained to work with several species of animals. They are trained to: obtain and record patient case histories; collect specimens and perform laboratory procedures; provide specialized nursing care; prepare animals, instruments, and equipment for surgery; assist in diagnostic, medical, and surgical procedures; expose and develop radiographs (x-rays); advise and educate animal owners; supervise and train practice personnel; and perform dental prophylaxes.
The number of vehicles in use is expected to continue to rise. More entry-level service technicians will be needed to perform basic maintenance and repair, such as replacing brake pads and changing oil, on these vehicles. New technologies, however, such as electric vehicles, may limit future demand for automotive service technicians and mechanics because these vehicles will be more reliable and thus require less frequent maintenance and repair.
The ACVIM is also dedicated to providing veterinary technicians with cutting-edge learning opportunities at the ACVIM Forum. Whether you are highly experienced or a newcomer to veterinary medicine, you'll have opportunities to communicate with internationally-known leaders in the field and learn about the most informative and educational advances in veterinary care through sessions specifically targeting veterinary technicians.
Getting a credential, such as the Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), or the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)—which are commonly bundled under the umbrella term credentialed veterinary technician by the administering National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America—can enhance your career and provide more opportunity for advancement.
Veterinary technicians are often confused with veterinary technologists. While both occupations share some of the same job responsibilities, they work under a veterinarian to test animals and diagnose illnesses and injuries. A veterinary technician requires less education. A typical degree program completed by a veterinary technician lasts for two years and is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Licensing, certification and registration requirements for vet technicians vary by state.
The Associate’s degree program at Blinn College is taught at their campus in the town of Brenham. This public college has round 18,850 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is generally in the order of $2,256 and are $3,912 and $5,904 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost around $1,396, although this will vary with the program.
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Most technicians are certified — the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) is earned by passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) — and have completed several hundred hours of on-the-job training in order to be able to work with different prescription drugs, understand pharmacy operations and protocol, and abide by ethical standards. Basic job duties include dosing medications and filling prescription orders, taking care of administrative tasks, and handling basic customer service duties at the counter. Some pharmacy techs lead a team of pharmacy staff members as a lead pharmacy technician. Others may be responsible for managing supply and inventory or providing pertinent information to other healthcare professionals.
They help during patient examinations and surgical procedures by restraining animals when necessary, stocking examination and surgery rooms with supplies, sterilizing tools and ensuring that equipment is in working order. Veterinary technicians also communicate with pet owners and update patient files. Veterinary technicians often work Saturdays and may be on call in some facilities 24 hours a day.
The role of the veterinary technician is similar to that of a registered nurse in a doctor's office. Vet techs are the veterinarian's right hand. In many cases, the vet tech will be the first person to examine an animal when it comes into the veterinary clinic. Vet techs are also employed by zoos and research labs to assist in caring for, evaluating and treating the animals. Vet techs can specialize in several different areas of medicine, including dentistry, anesthesia, nutrition and pathology. Vet techs often supervise other members of the veterinary care team such as the veterinary assistant.
Communication skills are often emphasized so that prospective veterinary technicians can connect with pet owners and work efficiently with veterinarians. However, some classes are needed to satisfy general education requirements in the humanities as well as the basic sciences. Once students have earned their associate's degree, they might be ready to sit for national and state examinations administered by the state veterinary medical board.
Is your pet at the hospital for surgery? If so the veterinary technician may perform a physical exam on your pet prior the the procedure, will run the appropriate lab work, and will ensure that all equipment is ready for the veterinarian's use. S/he may, under the supervision of the veterinarian, administer the anesthetic agent to your pet to protect your pet's comfort during any surgical procedure.
Most employers require veterinary technicians to have an associate degree in veterinary technology earned through a program that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Membership in professional organizations like the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) can also enhance job opportunities by providing job listings, networking opportunities through local chapters and information about continuing education (www.navta.net).
Certification. Even if you don’t wish to sit for the PTCB examination (learn more below), research how well alumni of the program fare on that test. You will want to have the same level of knowledge to best serve your patients and pharmacists. The PTCB awards successful takers a national certification that can give your resume a special distinction.
According to the BLS, 91% of veterinary technicians work in veterinary offices, clinics and other facilities that provide veterinary services. A smaller number of veterinary technicians work in animal shelters, zoos and research facilities. Many veterinary technicians get their start by taking paid internships with animal health care facilities, which are often available to recent graduates of accredited veterinary technology educational programs.
Other pharmacy technicians enter the occupation after completing postsecondary education programs in pharmacy technology. These programs are usually offered by vocational schools or community colleges. Most programs award a certificate after 1 year or less, although some programs last longer and lead to an associate’s degree. They cover a variety of subjects, such as arithmetic used in pharmacies, recordkeeping, ways of dispensing medications, and pharmacy law and ethics. Technicians also learn the names, uses, and doses of medications. Most programs also include clinical experience opportunities, in which students gain hands-on experience in a pharmacy.
A degree program is generally two years and results in a full academic degree, an associate’s degree (AA), that will distinguish your credentials and provide a foundation on which to build. That is, when you complete an AA, you will have a transcript of accredited courses that can apply to a full, four-year degree later on. Even if you never return to college again, having a full degree will be worthwhile. The additional courses will inform you as a person and professional, expanding your ability to communicate and understand your patients.
Texas does not require employees to be certified in order to perform the duties of a veterinary technician. However, many employers in the state prefer or require their employees to be certified through the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Before the Board will issue a license, candidates need to complete a course of study in veterinary technology that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
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