What Is Veterinary Technology?
Veterinary Technicians function primarily as professional assistants to Veterinarians, biomedical researchers, and other scientists, and as such are an integral part of the veterinary health care team.
These individuals must possess an unique combination of knowledge and skill involving basic science, animals, and people.
As the complexity of veterinary medicine increases, and as the public demand for state-of the-art care for their animals increases, the veterinary technician will play an ever increasing role in the delivery of excellent health care for animals.
The greatest demand for veterinary technicians is in a private veterinary practice working along side the veterinarian caring for companion animals.
However, the demand for veterinary technicians in other fields is rapidly growing
and opportunities exist in the following areas: Teaching, Pharmaceutical Sales, The
Military, Humane Societies, Livestock Production, Equine Practice, Biomedical Research,
Diagnostic Laboratories, Zoo/Wildlife Medicine, Veterinary Supply Sales, Public Health
Organizations, and the Pet Food Industry.
The responsibilities assigned to Veterinary Technicians varies and is regulated by a State Board of Veterinary Medicine or other appropriate state agency.
Duties often include: Nursing care of hospitalized patients, history taking, physical examination, and assessment, administering medications, performing a wide range of technical tasks, assisting in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, collecting and analyzing clinical specimens, performing radiological and dental procedures, anesthesiology and surgical assisting, office and hospital management, biomedical research, client counseling and education.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 No. Meacham Rd., Ste. 100
Schaumberg, Illinois, 60173-4360
- The North American Veterinary Technician Association
P.O. Box 224, Battle Ground
Director, Dr. Lisa Eshman c/o Veterinary Technology Program Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills CA 94022
Today there are over 60 college programs in the United States and Canada which are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association as programs which train technicians. Formal study in veterinary technology entails at least two academic years leading to an Associates Degree with four year degrees available at some institutions. The training is demanding and academically challenging.
In forty states and provinces Veterinary Technicians are either certified, registered, or licensed. Candidates must demonstrate competency by passing a comprehensive examination that may include oral, written, and practical components. There are individuals that have received on-the-job training working in veterinary practices and other animal care facilities. These individuals are properly referred to as veterinary assistants, animal attendants, animal caretakers, ward attendants, etc., not as veterinary technicians.
Those interested in a career in Veterinary Technology should enroll in college preparatory courses in science, mathematics, and English, and acquire experience working with animals. There are approximately one hundred professional organizations in the United States and Canada representing technicians on the Local, State, Provincial, National, and International Levels.