Veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants both work in animal hospitals and clinics, but that is where the similarities between these two careers end. They differ in both their job duties and in their education and training requirements. While assistants need only a high school or equivalency diploma, technicians must complete a two-year veterinary technology training program. In addition to their formal training, they usually need a state-issued license.
Vet Tech Institute of Houston’s Associate-level Veterinary Technology program is taught at their campus in the city of Houston. Most of the school’s 216 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. The cost of tuition is, as a rough guide, in the order of $14,200 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $934, depending on the program chosen.
Completing a vocational or other postsecondary education program in automotive service technology is considered the best preparation for entry-level positions. Programs usually last 6 months to a year and provide intensive career preparation through classroom instruction and hands-on practice. Short-term certificate programs in a particular subject, such as brake maintenance or engine performance, are also available.
Veterinary technicians usually have a 2-year associate’s degree in a veterinary technology program. They generally work in private clinical practices under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Technicians may perform laboratory tests, such as a urinalysis, and help veterinarians conduct a variety of other diagnostic tests. Although some of their work is done in a laboratory setting, many technicians also talk with animal owners. For example, they explain a pet’s condition or how to administer medication prescribed by a veterinarian.
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, who must review prescriptions before they are given to patients. In most states, technicians can compound or mix some medications and call physicians for prescription refill authorizations. Technicians also may need to operate automated dispensing equipment when filling prescription orders.
The final competition consists of 10 rigorous, hands-on skill tests including vehicle electronics, preventive maintenance, and air conditioning. The title of “Top Tech,” along with a cash prize, is awarded to the first place winner. All seven finalists receive cash prizes for their exemplary performance. Each year’s top seven finalists go on to represent Team Ryder at the TMC SuperTech National Technician Skills Competition, where they compete against the industry’s best technicians.
Top Tech is an annual program designed to identify, recognize, and reward Ryder’s top performing technicians. Eligible participants for the award are selected from Ryder’s team of more than 5,000 U.S. and Canadian-based technicians and are measured on technical training qualifications, outstanding customer service performance, and quality workmanship. After advancing through three increasingly demanding rounds of challenging written and hands-on tests, seven finalists compete for the top honors at the Top Tech Competition.