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.
Veterinary technicians assist veterinarians in the care of animals. They may perform an initial evaluation of the animal's condition, clean and wrap wounds, check vital statistics, collect samples and administer medication. They also perform basic lab work, including urinalysis and blood tests, and may assist with procedures such as teeth cleaning.
The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians in 2014 was $29,810, although this varies by state. Pharmacy technicians in Washington, Alaska, California, Hawaii and Oregon are the highest earners, on average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the highest-paying positions are available with federal, state and local government agencies, outpatient care centers, and scientific research and development organizations. Pharmacy techs that work in department stores and health and personal care stores typically make lower annual wages.
Pharmacy technicians work in clean, organized, well-lighted, and well-ventilated areas. Most of their workday is spent on their feet. They may be required to lift heavy boxes or to use stepladders to retrieve supplies from high shelves. Technicians work the same hours as pharmacists. This may include evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. Because some hospital and retail pharmacies are open 24 hours a day, technicians may work varying shifts. As their seniority increases, technicians often have increased control over the hours they work. There are many opportunities for part-time work in both retail and hospital settings.
Attending a postsecondary education program with an emphasis in pharmacy technology is helpful but not required. Vocational schools and community colleges offer these programs, which usually last one year or less. They might teach mathematics commonly applied in pharmacies and help familiarize students with the names, uses and doses of medications. Best practices for dispensing medications, as well as pharmacy law and ethics, will also be covered. Some training programs include internships that allow students to obtain hands-on experience.
Pharmacy technicians’ primary responsibility is dispensing prescription medication, which requires great attention to detail. Pharmacy techs must be able to measure, mix, dose and dispense appropriate amounts of medication based on the pharmacist’s orders. They may also be involved with data entry tasks to update patient records and fill prescription orders.
4. Work with your state veterinary technician association. And if there isn’t one already, start one! Working with your state technician association helps you stay on the front lines of what’s required of you as a technician within your state. You’re able to be a part of continuing education and veterinary legislation that's vital to us as technicians.
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.
There's ample need for pharmaceutical support professionals capable of filling prescription medications quickly and efficiently. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth of about 12 percent between 2016 and 2026 – faster than the average growth rate for all occupations – and during that period, 47,600 new positions will need to be filled. "There's a tremendous amount of demand as the baby boomer population is aging and taking more and more medications, and with all the new prescription drugs that are being approved and consumed by Americans, there is a great amount of growth and increase in the pharmacy sector," Johnston says.
For a state with such a large population of veterinary technicians, it’s not surprising that Texas also has many schools with AVMA-approved vet tech programs. The schools with fully-accredited programs are Cedar Valley College in Lancaster (both the on-campus and distance learning programs), Lone Star College in Tomball, McLennan Community College in Waco, Palo Alto College in San Antonio and the Vet Tech Institute of Houston. There are also three programs in Texas under initial accreditation: Blinn College in Bryan, Pima Medical Institute-Houston and Vista College in Lubbock.
Technicians work in a variety of settings, including laboratories, processing plants, farms and ranches, greenhouses, and offices. Technicians who work in processing plants and agricultural settings may face noise from processing and farming machinery, extreme temperatures, and odors from chemicals or animals. They may need to lift and carry objects, and be physically active for long periods of time.