Distinction Between a Veterinary Assistant and a Veterinary Technician

Many people hear the terms veterinary assistant and veterinary technician and assume that they are interchangeable. This is incorrect. The two jobs are quite different, with different responsibilities and pay scales. This is because they require different levels of training and education.

A veterinary technician has much more schooling. Specifically, he or she has graduated from a two-year program of study that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

That’s not all. A vet tech is also licensed. You can’t get licensed without passing a state board examination. So not only have they graduated from an accredited program, they’ve demonstrated via licensing exam that they have mastered the material.

Veterinary assistants have a lot less training. Sometimes they have had some training in high school, or have completed a certificate program, but generally they only have on-the-job training from their employers. They don’t have any license, nor have they completed an accredited degree program.

Because of this, vet assistants’ job responsibilities are a lot more basic. They hold the animals during checkups, and also clean instruments and clinic areas like kennels and exam rooms. They also do some clerical work like filing or answering phones.

The veterinary technician, on the other hand, will complete much more complex tasks like giving x-rays to animals, administering vaccinations, assisting vets in surgery, collecting and analyzing samples, to name just a few.

You have probably correctly surmised that the two positions don’t have the same pay scale. Vet technicians make a good bit more money and have better job prospects. They can earn $15 or more per hour with a few years experience, whereas your average vet assistant only earns around $9-10 per hour.

If you want to work with animals as a long-range career path, you are far better off spending time becoming a veterinary technician. For those who just want perhaps part time or short term employment with little need for schooling, veterinary assistant is the better choice.

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Easy Way to Obtain Veterinary Technician Certification

To obtain a vet tech certification is as easy as ABC. Is it true? What is the secret?

Before sitting for Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), it is compulsory for the candidates to submit the proof of graduation from their veterinary schools to American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) for approval. They will then be allowed to sit for the exam.

Here are some useful approaches to gain the certification in an easier manner:

o Always look for opportunities to enhance your clinical skills

You are advised to look for opportunities to expose yourself more to the real world. Grab the opportunities as many as possible through the lab practice and on the job training to learn the clinical skills such as first aid, emergency care, anatomy, routine care, surgical preparation, etc.

o Always look for ways to increase your knowledge in animal health care

You should always explore new knowledge in the related areas such as animal health and welfare, reproduction, veterinary technology, veterinary facility management, animal parasitological, animal anatomy and physiology, pharmaceutical, etc.

o Keep yourself updated with the latest technology and innovation

It is important for you to spend your time in reading different types of materials related to animals’ health issues and the researches done. It is also useful if you are able to keep yourself updated with the latest innovation such as newly invented equipments and instruments for surgical procedures

The candidates need to pass through the examination with the score of at least 70%. After getting the result, they must contact the licensing authority where they plan to work with to find out the requirements and procedures set by the state regulatory in order to obtain the license or certification.

After getting the certification, it is time for the newly graduated vet techs to start practicing the skills they have learnt under the close supervision of a licensed veterinarian. The journey as a vet tech begins here. The working life will be filled with challenges and fun.

Veterinary Technician Resume

A veterinary technician assists his veterinarian in the same way as a nurse performs his duty to his physician. The daily responsibilities can vary depending on the working environment. Most veterinarians work in private practices and cater to domestic animals. As such, the job of the technicians include but are not limited to assisting in animals’ physical examination, dental procedures, spraying and neutering, immunization, birthing and euthanasia. Additionally, technician is responsible in obtaining and recording patient case histories, collecting of specimens and perform laboratory procedures, providing specialized nursing care, preparing animals as well as instruments and equipments during surgeries. It is also the technician’s task to assist in diagnostic, medical and surgical procedures, expose and develop x-ray images, supervise and train practice personnel and also to stock and maintain adequacy of medicines and supplies.

In case a technician chooses to work for a zoo or laboratory, the job varies slightly. Let us say in a laboratory, technicians will work under the supervision of a scientist or a senior veterinary technologist where the focus is on scientific research that will be beneficial to humans and animals alike. Thus, the technician’s job is to administer treatment, observe and record animal behavior and oversee humane care and feeding of animals.

The position of a veterinary technician requires a completion of a two year program minimum, or a four year program plus clinical and laboratory experience. You must also have excellent organizational skills, written and oral communication skills and computer capabilities to be able to handle clerical jobs such as filing and keeping records, preparation of correspondences and referrals, issuing of certifications and completing insurance forms. You must also have a good interpersonal relationship as you will be dealing with the animal owners as well.

As taking care of animals is not that easy, you must be an animal lover to enjoy this type of work.