College training in the highly skilled area of medical support in a veterinary hospital.

Question:

I just love animals. I think it would be great to be a veterinarian but I don’t want to go to school for 8 years. I have heard about a career as a veterinary technician or assistant. What can you tell me about these careers?

 

Dr. Nichol:

I am always delighted to hear of folks interested in the rewarding field of veterinary medicine. You are right about becoming a veterinarian. It is as long and difficult a career path as medical school for a physician. But while schooling for technicians is shorter it is also very important work.

 

The work done by technicians involves not only nursing care for sick pets but a lot of specialized work as well. Duties include starting i.v. catheters, taking x-rays, reading lab work like blood counts and urinalysis, electrocardiography, and surgical assisting. A well trained technician is a major player in a multiple doctor busy animal hospital.

 

To get started, you can call the office of the Board of Veterinary Medicine at 841-9112. They can direct you to schools that are approved. The 2 year courses in Animal Technology award an associate degree that allows a person to take the state exam. Passing the exam gets you a license as a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT). RVTs are important in busier animal hospitals with several doctors. We need them to help us give the best possible care to as many pets as we can.

 

By the way, since all of the Veterinary Technician schools are out of state, there has been a new program developed that allows instruction via on-line computer training. Write to me here at the Journal for more information.