Responsibilities of a veterinarian technician
Similar to how medical doctors work with nurses, it is the veterinarian technician's responsibility to fill that role for a vet. They do not diagnose, prescribe or perform surgeries, but have other responsibilities that assist in veterinarian medicine. Some of those responsibilities include: nursing care for patients, surgical assisting, collecting lab samples, taking x-rays and educating clients on procedures. Each of the following responsibilities also fall to a veterinarian technician:
- Assist with dental work for patients
- Administer anesthesia
- Medical tests like blood tests, collecting samples and taking x-rays
- Prepare for surgery
- Observe animal behavior
- Give vaccinations and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian
- Analyze patient results and case histories
- Observe animal behavior
- Monitor heart and respiratory rates
- Assist in the procedure
- Help with recovery
- Administer post-op anesthesia and medications
In many cases animal owners develop a better connection with their technician, mainly because they are the ones with the most interaction with the animals, help clients understand procedures and make them feel most comfortable.
A veterinarian technician should not be confused with a veterinarian assistant. While both are important professions that assist with animal care, they actually incorporate different responsibilities. Unlike a vet tech, a veterinarian assistant does not need to be certified or licensed. Their duties often include feeding and cleaning the animals, sterilizing equipment and several other responsibilities that do not require a technical education.
Veterinarian Technician Trainings and Specialties
Becoming a veterinarian technician is not an easy accomplishment. Many who wish to become a vet tech first achieve their associate degree, which covers veterinarian technology, office management, and animal anatomy. After completion of their courses, students are required to pass a credential exam, in most cases it is the Veterinarian Technician National Examination. After taking the exam an application must be submitted to the state licensing board. Once education is completed a veterinarian technician will often work under a veterinarian in an office for trainings. After becoming fully certified a veterinarian technician must renew their certification periodically.
There are a large collection of specialties a veterinarian technician can choose to focus on:
- Anesthesia care
- Behavioral medicine
- Clinical pathology or practice
- Emergency care
- Internal Medicine
- Surgical technology
- Zoological medicine.
In most of these cases a technician will need to be certified and accumulate experience in a clinical setting learning from a veterinarian.
Salary for veterinarian technicians
The average salary for a veterinarian technician is about $31,000 annually. Of course this number changes depending on where your office is located, in what setting are you assisting in and experience in the field. For example vet techs that are employed by governmental agencies earn approximately $45,000. While those that work in general hospitals make an average of $43,000.
Location can play a major role in determining how much a veterinarian technician can earn. In Alaska (the highest paying state for vet techs) they make an average of $38,190 annually. The second best paying state for a technician is New York, where they earn an average of $37,460. The next three highest paying states are Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia.