Veterinary technicians and assistants provide essential patient care. They are pivotal in all aspects of animal care, and make it possible for veterinarians to treat multiple patients as once, and/or see many patients for exams conducting all types of treatments. I rely on them daily in the care for my patients. Technicians draw blood for laboratory tests, take radiographs, place intravenous catheters, start iv fluids, give medications, clean wounds, place bandages, place splints, prepare surgical sites, recover patients after surgery, assist with dental cleanings, monitor vitals, monitor patients under anesthesia, administer CPR, provide nursing care, keep patients calm and comfortable, give love to the animals, and many more tasks to numerous to list.
Technicians are also a valuable information resource for clients. They discuss home care, review procedures that have taken place, and answer questions. Please remember to give these staff members your full attention when they are explaining medical issues to you. Often they can provide you with very specific information about the care of your pet because they have worked directly with your cherished companion.
Registered veterinary technicians have gone through formal training in both the classroom and hands on internships. They have then passed an exam to become board certified. With this degree, they are able to perform a higher level of care including the administration of anesthetic drugs, assist with dental cleanings, and more under the supervision of a veterinarian. They can work in private practice, specialty facilities, teaching hospitals, research facilities, military sites, rescue organizations, zoos, and more. Continued education is required to maintain this certification.
Veterinary assistants are much more limited in the tasks that they can perform, and most of time they are assisting the registered veterinary technicians. Often have moved up from other positions in a veterinary hospital such as kennel assistants or front office staff; and have typically not received training in the classroom. Generally these positions are not advertised because these staff members are promoted from within. There are some schools that offer formal training for this position.
Carrington College has an excellent veterinary technician training program in Stockton. It is a part-time accelerated program. The school cost is about $30,000 and takes 22 months to complete. The salary for a veterinary technician will depend on how long they have been working, what level of responsibility they hold, and where they are working. The average pay is $30,000 annually. For more information, visit their website at www.carrington.edu/degrees/veterinary-technician.