Working with animals can be fun and rewarding for those who love their 4-legged friends. Veterinary Technicians work with animals every day. They are the veterinary equivalent of a nurse’s aid or hospital assistant.
What’s it Like to be a Vet Tech?
Much of a veterinary assistant’s day is spent taking care of the animals that have come to spend some time at the office. You’ll feed and water cats and dogs, give them their medicines, and sometimes, bathe them. If you work with a rural vet, you may also deal with horses and other livestock. This, however, isn’t all that you’ll do. You’ll also need to help veterinarians by restraining animals during procedures, sterilizing surgical instruments and other tools, collecting biological samples, and keeping various areas of the practice clean. This includes cleaning kennels and cages. Because there are so many duties, you may want to seek veterinary assistant training before you start.
Veterinary practices tend to be busy environments thanks to the low ratio of vets to animals. If you’re the type of person who likes being physically busy all day, this career may be a perfect fit.
Are There Typical Business Hours?
Yes, most vets have standard hours for the bulk of their business. Expect to start just before the “average workday” begins and leave in the early to mid evening. Some offices will also hire someone to work nights in order to keep watch on animals recovering from surgeries.
Is Being a Veterinary Assistant Easy?
It’s harder than you might think. On occasion, you’ll find yourself having to lift heavy, sick dogs up onto examination or operating tables. Since some canine species weigh over 100 lbs., this will give you quite a workout! You’ll also run into the occasional problem dog or cat.
Emotionally, it’s often hard to deal with the cases that result in euthanasia or the sick animals that simply don’t pull through. On the other hand, you’ll see animals that come in on death’s door and end up making full recoveries.
What Else is Good to Know?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide in 2012 veterinary assistants earned a median annual salary of $23,130. While some office hire individuals without veterinary assistant training, earning this training at a vet tech school may give you a leg up over the competition.