Veterinary technologists and technicians are the unsung heroes of the animal world. These animal healthcare workers assist veterinarians, biomedical researchers and other scientists. Also called "vet techs," they handle a wide variety of tasks.
The vet tech often performs the initial examina ...
tion, taking samples and running tests in the lab. They assist in surgery, monitoring the patient's heart and respiratory rates as well as handing instruments and other items to the surgeon. The vet tech even acts as dental hygienist, evaluating animals' teeth and cleaning them with specialized equipment.
The work can involve lifting heavy animals. It can also be stressful, requiring great patience and empathy. Sick animals can be messy and difficult to handle. Sadly, some can't be helped. It usually falls to the vet tech to end an animal's suffering through euthanasia.
While some employers offer training on the job, most prefer to hire technologists and technicians who have completed college study, generally an associate's degree, in a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The job outlook is good for this occupation, though it is a highly competitive field. And while these patients can't say "thank you," they can still show their appreciation.
Perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases. Prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. Clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. May assist a veterinarian during surgery.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
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Dress and suture wounds and apply splints or other protective devices.
Provide assistance with animal euthanasia and the disposal of remains.
Supervise or train veterinary students or other staff members.
Bathe animals, clip nails or claws, and brush or cut animals' hair.
Perform a variety of office, clerical, or accounting duties, such as reception, billing, bookkeeping, or selling products.
Perform laboratory tests on blood, urine, or feces, such as urinalyses or blood counts, to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of animal health problems.
Provide information or counseling regarding issues such as animal health care, behavior problems, or nutrition.
Prepare animals for surgery, performing such tasks as shaving surgical areas.
Fill prescriptions, measuring medications and labeling containers.
Take and develop diagnostic radiographs, using x-ray equipment.
Give enemas and perform catheterizations, ear flushes, intravenous feedings, or gavages.
Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
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