If you’re on the fence about whether you should pursue a career as a veterinary technician, we’re here to help you make an informed decision.
There are plenty of reasons to become a vet tech, and we can probably start with the most basic: you love animals. While that’s generally a primary motivator for those who want to get into the profession, there are others to consider, as well.
Below, we’ll discuss five reasons to become a vet tech, from your passion for animal health to the ins and outs of the daily routine.
1. You Get to Work with Animals
We’ll start with the clear reason many people choose to become vet techs—they enjoy working with animals.
You’ll have the chance to help animals recover or live fuller lives, bond with pets during their time in the office and teach owners how to better take care of them.
As a vet tech, you may be working with more than everyday pets such as cats and dogs. Depending on where they’re located, clinics have different clientele—rural areas might see more horses and farm animals than run-of-the-mill pets.
Also, remember that you might have to care for animals that aren’t so cute or cuddly. (Snakes are pets, too.)
2. It’s a Growing Field
One thing about vet techs: they have plenty of career options.
The field is expected to grow 30 percent through 2022, much faster than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Specialization among veterinarians, along with demand for more skilled work, will drive the increase, the BLS reports.
Many businesses and organizations hire vet techs, including:
- Private clinics
- Animal hospitals
- Research laboratories
The pet industry as a whole is also growing—Americans are spending more and more on their beloved animals. The figure was estimated at $60 billion in 2014, according to CBS, up from more than $55 billion the year before.
And there seems to be more concern about the welfare of pets than ever before, according to a detailed post from Wired. The article notes a study that showed people display more emotional distress over bad things happening to pets than humans.
Ultimately, these factors make for ideal conditions for vet techs seeking employment.
3. You Help People Help Their Pets
If you take even a few minutes to check out vet tech blogs, you’ll find one common theme: they enjoy helping owners learn how to care for their pets.
It’s a big part of the job. Vet techs advise owners about everything from medication to grooming and nutrition, as well as comfort people who are upset about the condition of their pets.
As a vet tech, you have extensive knowledge and experience to share with owners.
Spreading that knowledge is among the most rewarding parts of the job for vet tech student Samantha Engel, who is already working in an animal hospital as she earns her degree.
4. You Can Get Qualified Quickly
Another benefit of becoming a vet tech is that you don’t have to go to school for four years to qualify for an entry-level position.
Those in the industry typically have an associate degree, which you can obtain in as few as two years at some colleges. Look for programs with hands-on learning, experienced instructors, and clinic and lab settings that give you a sense of what lies ahead in your career. Also, make sure your college’s program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Each state has its own set of rules for being a credentialed vet tech, so you may have to pass an exam along with your formal training. Before you enroll, check with school officials to find out what you need to do to get into the profession.
5. You’ll Learn Something New Each Day
In addition to caring for different kinds of pets, your day-to-day work as a vet tech will be varied.
Some days might be filled with the direct care of animals:
- Collecting biological samples
- Assisting surgery
- Dental cleanings
- Administering anesthesia
- Taking X-rays
At other times, your duties could include:
- Answering owners’ questions
- Filling prescriptions
- Collecting patient records
- Maintaining inventory
The type of work you do as a vet tech will vary by where you’re employed, and your schedule could be outside the typical 9-5, as some clinics are open 24 hours a day.
You probably have your own reasons for wanting to become a vet tech.
It’s a career that can be emotionally demanding at times—caring for sick or injured animals, helping owners cope with the loss of a pet, and dealing with the rigors of always seeing animals in need of help.
But in the end, you’re working with animals and helping them lead better lives. Isn’t that what it’s all about?