I need some advice everyone.. - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 25 Old 01-04-2010, 09:17 PM
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I am a certified vet tech at a small animal practice and have been working there for 7 years. I enjoy the job, but as most people mentioned the pay is not very good. The only way to keep increasing would be to go into a specialty or work at an emergency clinic and overnights as such which I am not interested in since I prefer small privately owned practices.

I am currently in school to be a radiology tech (for people).

If you have any questions about it though feel free to ask me. Aside from just working at my practice during regular hours, I am one of the on-call emergency techs and also do all treatments during closed times.
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post #22 of 25 Old 01-05-2010, 07:18 PM
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Tealamutt, I'm getting my Tech degree and then transferring to Cornell for two years of large animal sciences, then I'm applying to the DVM program. From what I've been told it looks better when you have a vet tech degree (you still need to go to undergrad for 4+ years though) because then the school your applying too knows you've had first hand experience. Not to mention, if I didn't make it into the vet program then I have a backup, and can be a vet tech. VS. having a bachelor in large animal science, which I could do things it, but not a guaranteed job.

Horseluver250, the vet techs I've talked too don't make anything under $19, unless they are first starting out. Again, you don't have to accept how much they offer. If I'm going to school for 4 years vs. the regular 2 then I would expect more pay then the average vet tech, I think most would. And like I said earlier, I got lucky finding a vet I know, the one I do my job shadow with. The vet techs that work for him always complain that some people make more then them and he says the same thing all the time "You go to school for longer, get more training, and get more knowledgeable, then we will talk".
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post #23 of 25 Old 01-05-2010, 09:21 PM
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That sounds like a good plan, I didn't realize you were using the 2 year degree to transfer. Be aware though, that less than 4% of my class were certified techs and the admissions committee asked them all why they wanted to be a tech vs. a vet in the first place, because they are two extremely different jobs. I'm sure you'll be fine, just giving you a heads up on some of the questions they may ask you when you do get around to applying to vet school. If you (or anyone else) have any questions about applications, what helps etc. feel free to PM me. I'm on the student ambassador committee and we give input to the admissions committee on prospective students we have given tours to/ had lunch with, etc. It is never too soon to think about your apps! It sounds like you have a lot of experience already, I'm sure you're on the right track.
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post #24 of 25 Old 01-05-2010, 09:32 PM
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Thank-you very much. Luckily I pretty much stalk (jk) the vet school and all the admission workers, whenever I call for a question they already know me by my name, haha. "Hello, Rachael, What can I do again, for you today?"

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post #25 of 25 Old 01-06-2010, 10:27 AM
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Veterinary technicians are required (in most states) to have a 2 year degree in veterinary technology from an AVMA accredited veterinary technology program, to have passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam and a state exam in order to be credentialed. They are also generally required to attend a set number of continuing education courses each year to keep up with changes in veterinary medicine. Veterinary technicians are educated in veterinary anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, animal husbandry, surgical assisting, anesthesia, medical nursing, diagnostics such as radiology and ultrasonography, clinical pathology, parasitology, medical terminology and record keeping, biological collection and sample handling and preperation, etc. They can also specialize in areas such as emergency and critical care, internal medicine, anesthesia, dentistry, behavior and equine nursing.

The American Veterinary Medical Association maintains a list of accredited degree programs on their website: http://www.avma.org/education/cvea/vettech_programs.asp

In some states, the use of the title "veterinary technician" and the practice of veterinary technology is recognized as profession and licensure is required. In other states, veterinary technicians are registered or certified. The laws that govern veterinary technicians vary from state to state so for specific information on the laws you would need to check with your state licensing board or your state veterinary technician association. (New York is one of those states that requires licensure and where pay tends to be higher due to the license and the cost of living.)

The daily workload can vary greatly depending on the type of practice you work in and the area of the country you are in. Most often the workload will be variable in any practice--some days will be like a wild rollercoaster ride while others are so boring and slow that you have a hard time staying awake.

A very general list of things that a veterinary technician would do would include collecting patient histories, collect biological samples (blood, urine, feces, etc), running diagnostic tests, monitoring and medicating hospitalized animals, assisting in surgery, administering and monitoring anesthesia, performing dental cleanings, providing treatment for outpatients as prescribed by the attending veterinarian, filling prescriptions, answering client questions on preventative medicine, disease processes, medications, etc, maintaining inventory, caring for surgical and medical equipment such as anesthesia machines, taking radiographs, entering medical records, etc.

Pay and benefits generally are low and make it hard to get by. You have to really pick and choose your jobs in order to make a comfortable living. I was single and working as a "well-paid veterinary technician" for many years and still had a hard time just making ends meet. Licensed veterinary technicians average about $17 per hour, but you have to take into account the cost of living in the states where technicians are licensed. In states where licensure is not practiced the pay even for credentialed technicians is lower than that.

Before enrolling in a veterinary technology program, it is a good idea to volunteer or take a job at a veterinary hospital to see what the job of a veterinary technician really entails. Many people think that it will suit them but find out differently once they start school. Having personal experience in a veterinary facility will also help you to excel in your classes by giving you real-world application for what you are learning.

Also, contact your state veterinary technician association. They can give you detailed advice on the requirements for being a veterinary technician in your state and also help you to choose an appropriate school.

AVMA Center for Veterinary Education Accreditation

The other term you may also hear used, especially when you are applying for a position is "veterinary assistant". This is someone who works in a veterinary facility assisting veterinarians or veterinary technicians, but has not met the requirements for credentialing as a veterinary technician in that state. This is an entry level-position in a veterinary facility and training is generally done on the job. Because most training is done on the job it is often very cursory and lacks the depth and breadth of a formal education. Veterinary assistants are generally taught the basic how-to but not the why or when you would do something different. This is the type of position you would take to get some experience prior to starting college to earn your veterinary technology degree.

I've been working as a veterinary assistant and then a veterinary technician for 20 years now. I love the job, but it can be extremely stressful and most people leave the profession in 7 years or less. Between the stress and the generally low pay and benefits, it can really wear you out pretty quickly.

Tealamut is right, being a credentialed veterinary technician and having a degree in veterinary technology isn't going to make you look "better" to the vet school per se. What they look for is someone who has worked in a veterinary facility which they often do in high school or just after as a "vet tech"(in states where the title isn't regulated) or "vet assistant". It's the experience of actually having been in a veterinary facility enough to know that you have an aptitude for it and that you are really sure that it's what you want to do becaues it's a long and expensive committment to get your degree in veterinary medicine. Veterinary technology as a profession is very different from practicing veterinary medicine. There are some areas that overlap and lots of overlapping knowledge but veterinary technology is more about quality nursing and quality laboratory work than about being able to perform surgery or diagnose a disease---the focus is different.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician

Last edited by Ryle; 01-06-2010 at 10:34 AM.
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