In honor of National Veterinary Technicians Week, Vetstreet is doing a series of articles that highlight the work of these veterinary professionals who play such a vital role in the well being of our pets. Our first piece, by Dr. Marty Becker, Time To Sing Out for Vet Techs, the Unsung Heroes of Animal Care, talks about some of the ways that vet techs take care of both human clients and animal ones. In this article, we cover more of the nuts and bolts of the important role.
A pharmacy technician is a health care provider who performs pharmacy-related functions, generally working under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of locations (usually in community, retail, and hospital pharmacies), but can also work for long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, third-party insurance companies, computer software companies, or in government or teaching. Job duties include dispensing prescription drugs and other medical devices to patients and instructing on their use. They may also perform administrative duties in pharmaceutical practice, such as reviewing prescription requests with doctor's offices and insurance companies to ensure correct medications are provided and payment is received.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits veterinary technology programs throughout the United States and Canada. Most AVMA-accredited programs lead to an Associate degree after two years but some lead to a four-year Baccalaureate degree. Technicians with Baccalaureate degrees usually receive higher salaries and greater level of job responsibilities.
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Veterinary technicians typically work wherever you find veterinarians — private practices, hospitals, research labs, and zoos. While they are clearly an important part of the professional veterinary team today, this hasn't always been the case. The first "animal technician" program was created in the 1960s, before then, veterinarians hired students or office workers to feed the animals, clean the cages, answer the phone, and do other routine tasks. As the field of animal health became more complex, a need arose for a well-educated staff that could take on greater responsibilities.
Veterinary technologists and technicians earn two- or four-year degrees in veterinary technology. While they share many of the same responsibilities, technologists typically hold four-year bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology, whereas technicians hold two-year associate degrees. They must also pass an exam and become certified, licensed or registered, depending on the state. Strong science and math backgrounds are essential, Legred says, since much of the job involves drug calculations and lab tests.

Texas is a huge employer of veterinary technicians, leading the country with approximately 8,870 vet techs as of 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, the profession is growing rapidly in the state, with a 27.6 percent projected job growth rate between 2012 and 2022. This could equate to an increase of nearly 2,500 jobs by 2022. [Leer en español]

A mail-order pharmacy tech finds herself in a more office-like environment, filling prescriptions from a workstation amidst many other techs. The day of a mail-order pharmacy tech might start with meetings with pharmacists and other techs, from there, duties might include preparing compounds, maintaining the patient database, filling vials of medicine and inventory maintenance. Just because a mail-order tech is behind-the-scenes and doesn’t deal directly with the public it does not mean that their jobs are easy.
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).
As the number of pets per household increases, the need for trained professionals to take care of our furry friends is on the rise. With a projected 20% growth rate through 2026² in the field, now is a great time to pursue your training with Penn Foster College. Veterinary Technicians have an average salary of $32,490² per year and licensed Vet Techs can find positions in various environments such as:

In the United States, there is no mandated regulatory agency governing the training of Pharmacy Technicians. Each state has a Board of Pharmacy which regulates the licensure of Pharmacy Technicians in their state.[8] Licensure requirements vary widely by state. Some states require training from board-approved schools, PTCB certification, on-the-job training or no requirements at all. There are two National Examinations for the certification of Pharmacy Technicians (PTCE @ www.ptcb.org) (ExCpT @ www.nhanow.com/pharmacy-technician.aspx).
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.
Hospital-based pharmacy technicians, for instance, work with IV medications and do a lot of laboratory preparation to ensure that patients receive exactly what they need. The lab work might also include extensive cleaning to ensure sterility and the safest possible pharmaceutical environment. Others in the hospital might be charged with maintaining the drug-dispensary machines that nurses rely on to retrieve medications at a moment’s notice.

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.
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.

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.
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.
Veterinary technicians typically work wherever you find veterinarians — private practices, hospitals, research labs, and zoos. While they are clearly an important part of the professional veterinary team today, this hasn't always been the case. The first "animal technician" program was created in the 1960s, before then, veterinarians hired students or office workers to feed the animals, clean the cages, answer the phone, and do other routine tasks. As the field of animal health became more complex, a need arose for a well-educated staff that could take on greater responsibilities.
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