Veterinary technicians must have excellent communication skills, so that they may interact with pet owners and coworkers. They must have an understanding of animal behavior and strong clinical skills in order to properly evaluate an animal's condition and provide treatment. They must be detail-oriented and well-organized so that they may take medical histories, carry out instructions, document patient statistics and update records. It's also essential that they enjoy working with animals and have the ability to comfort, handle and restrain large and small pets.
Pharmacy technicians who work in retail or mail-order pharmacies have various responsibilities, depending on state rules and regulations. Technicians receive written prescription requests from patients and perform medication reconciliation. They also may receive prescriptions sent electronically from doctors’ offices, and in some states they are permitted to process requests by phone. They must verify that the information on the prescription is complete and accurate. To prepare the prescription, technicians retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes mix the medication. Then they prepare the prescription labels, select the type of container, and affix the prescription and auxiliary labels to the container. Once the prescription is filled, technicians price and file the prescription, which must be checked by a pharmacist before it is given to the patient. Technicians may establish and maintain patient profiles, as well as prepare insurance claim forms. Technicians always refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information, or health matters to a pharmacist.
Vista College’s Associate-level Veterinary Technology program is based at their campus in the city of El Paso. The college has roughly 4,349 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Fees for tuition are about $15,760 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $150, depending on the program chosen.
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.
The scientific aspects of the job aren't the only things that vet techs need to prepare for, however. Tear says the hardest part of working as a technician is dealing with the relatively short lifespan of animals. “Our patients live anywhere from five to 15 years,” she says, “so there’s quite a bit of grief.” Another challenge is getting by on the salary, which, on average, skews quite a bit lower than comparable jobs in human medicine. “This isn’t a career you go into for the money," Tear adds.
Veterinary technicians in Texas earn a median salary of $28,530 per year. The top earners in this field may command a salary of as much as $38,100 per year. Although the median vet tech salary in Texas is below the national average for this profession ($32,350 per year), this is largely offset by the low cost of living in Texas (9.7 percent below average) and also the moderate cost of housing.
Besides your studies, there are several skills you could cultivate in order to perform your duties as a pharmacy technician optimally. In your classes you’ll learn to work with the tools of the trade, such as Auger Dose Machines, Lab Blenders and Emulsifiers and Sterile Processing and Filling Machines, but what else can you learn to get a jump on the competition?
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.
NAVTA defines a society as a group of veterinary technicians who represent a distinct and identifiable specialty, supported by a veterinary specialty. Members may or may not have received formal training and may or may not be certified in that specialty. Members of a society may go on to become members of an academy if they meet the requirements of the academy. NAVTA currently recognizes veterinary technician societies specializing in the fields of behavior, equine veterinary technology, zoo veterinary technology, and emergency and critical care.
In early 2017, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) held a national stakeholder meeting to develop industrywide consensus on qualifications and standards for advanced practice and entry-level technicians.4 Attendees drafted recommendations for the advanced practice certification, education, entry-level requirements, and regulation of technicians. As a result of this meeting, the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the PTCB have implemented more stringent and uniform requirements regarding certification, education, and continuing education for technicians, with new standards for ACPE accreditation and PTCB certification taking effect in January 2019 and January 2020, respectively.5,6 The PTCB has also developed a second certification program focused specifically on sterile compounding.7
With the appropriate amount of training and experience, pharmacy technicians may be promoted to supervisory roles, may seek specialization (e.g., oncology, nuclear pharmacy), or may pursue further education and training to become a pharmacist. Some technicians gain specialized skills in sterile products admixture, pharmacy automation, and health information systems. An ASHP survey of pharmacy practice managers in August 2009 revealed 56 percent of organizations offer career advancement opportunities for technicians. In an ASHP survey of pharmacy technicians, 81 percent indicated they expect to perform duties of a pharmacy technician for five or more years.
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.
The CVMA’s AHT/VT Program Accreditation Committee (AHTVTPAC) identifies and certifies animal health technology and veterinary technician education programs whose graduates are considered to be competent to successfully complete the National Veterinary Technician Exam, and assist veterinarians in clinical practice. The Committee encourages further development of such programs in Canada.
As a technician, you’ll make sure that our household brand names maintain the high level of quality that consumers expect, while helping P&G achieve performance goals. Want to gain new skills to help run and maintain the latest production technology and equipment for the world’s biggest brands? We’re looking for team players who know how to take charge of business-related challenges and keep us running smoothly.