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700 Fox Chase Road
Jenkintown PA 19046
(215) 885 2360

 

Information about Veterinary Technology

What is a veterinary technician?

Veterinary technicians work in a wide variety of animal-health related fields. Most veterinary technicians assist veterinarians in small animal veterinary practices and function in roles comparable to those of registered nurses in the human medical profession. Veterinary technicians may work in specialty practices, zoos, aquariums, wildlife rehabilitation centers and in equine and food animal practices. In addition, veterinary technicians may pursue careers as sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies, as teachers in educational programs and as assistants in biomedical research facilities. The career options for veterinary technicians are diverse and exciting!

How do I become a veterinary technician?

In most states, veterinary technicians may be licensed, registered or certified, but the requirements for this vary among the states. For a complete listing of the various laws regarding the registration of veterinary technicians by state, click on Reference Sources. In the state of Pennsylvania, a veterinary technician must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Graduate from an AVMA-accredited program of veterinary technology.
  • Satisfactorily complete the Veterinary Technician National Examination. (VTNE)
  • Pay the application fee to the state for licensure.

In addition, every two years, veterinary technicians are required to complete 16 hours of continuing education and must pay a licensing renewal fee.

What is the climate of the current job market?

There is a shortage of veterinary technicians nationwide, making the job market highly favorable for technicians. Every year, between 95-100% of Manor's VT graduates find employment within 6 months of graduation. In addition, many of Manor's students are offered positions in veterinary practices before they have graduated.

How much can I expect to earn?

Technicians working in private practice in the greater Philadelphia area can expect to make $32,000 ($16.00 per hour) initially. Those working in large research facilities, however, may start by earning $39,830 per year ($19.18 per hour). In this way, the earning capability of a technician is dependent, in part, upon the area of technology that is pursued. In general, technicians who work in education, biomedical research and pharmaceutical sales earn more than those who work in private practice. Similarly, technicians who work in private practice tend to earn more than those who work in zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers. Salaries will also vary with respect to the area of the country in which you live. Practices located in urban areas tend to offer higher salaries than those located in rural regions. Many employers also offer healthcare benefits, compensation for professional development, paid vacations and sick leave. Refer to the most recent salary statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labour


Laboratory Animal Science - Another Career Avenue

After six months of employment in a laboratory animal facility, graduates in Veterinary Technology are eligible to take the level one certification examination that is given by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). Successful completion of the examination certifies graduates as Assistant Laboratory Animal Technicians (ALAT). ALAT's are employed by biomedical research institutions to monitor animal health, maintain records, assist research scientists and maintain animal facilities. Students directed toward laboratory animal science may begin completion of the six month work requirement during the summer after the freshman year and during the sophomore externship experience.

Specifically, what would my responsibilities be as a veterinary technician?

Veterinary technicians perform a wide variety of tasks. These may include:

  • assisting in surgery
  • performing radiographic studies
  • performing laboratory studies on blood, fecal and urine samples
  • calculating and administering anesthetic agents and monitoring patients during anesthesia
  • performing dental prophylactic scalings and oral examinations
  • completing in-house treatments on hospitalized patients
  • recording patient information in medical records
  • maintaining the inventory for the practice
  • communicating with pet owners regarding billing, pet loss, and preventive health

How can I learn more about veterinary technology?

The best way to learn about veterinary technology is to talk to the veterinary technicians who work in veterinary hospitals near you and spend sometime observing them at work. Even if you spend only a few hours in a veterinary hospital, you will gain greater insight into the nature of the profession. Try to observe or volunteer in a practice on a regular basis. In addition, you may explore the web pages of professionally related organizations. These are easily accessed via this website by clicking on the Reference Sources.

I have heard other terms used such as veterinary assistant and veterinary technologist. What do they mean?

A veterinary assistant is involved in the care and handling of animals, but is not a graduate of an AVMA-accredited program of veterinary technology and is not licensed, registered or certified in the state as a veterinary technician. The supervising veterinarian or veterinary technician determines the range of tasks performed by veterinary assistants. Typically, veterinary assistants are involved in the feeding, watering, bathing, restraint, moving and exercising of animals, but in some regions, their responsibilities are far more extensive.

Veterinary technologists are graduates of four-year AVMA accredited programs of veterinary technology, where as veterinary technicians are graduates of two-year AVMA accredited programs.