Veterinary Technicians, the nurses of the veterinary profession
Veterinary technicians primarily function as professional technical support to veterinarians, biomedical researchers, and other scientists. They are sometimes refered to as veterinary nurses.
Through the 1950s, veterinarians trained their own employees, delegating routine tasks and procedures as they saw fit. These on-the-job trained individuals were designated animal assistants, animal attendants, and veterinary assistants and were trained to meet the needs of an individual practice. If people wanted to move to another practice, they would have to start over again being trained in the ways of the new practice. To meet the technical demands of an expanding veterinary profession and a more mobile population, formal academic programs started appearing in the 1960s.
Today there are over 150 veterinary technology programs in the United States that educate veterinary technicians. In order to maintain a standard of excellence, these programs are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The course of study in these programs leads to an Associate of Science or equivalent degree with four-year Bachelor of Science degrees available at some institutions. In today's fast-paced, high-tech world, veterinarians and other scientists must maintain high standards of animal care. The veterinary technician can be an enormous help. The technician possesses the skills to handle many aspects of patient care, as well as many laboratory procedures.
Examples of the areas of responsibility qualified veterinary technicians are educated to assume include:
Physical Examination and Patient History
Caring for the Hospitalized Patient
Administration of Medication and Vaccines
Clinical Laboratory Procedures
Office/ Hospital Management
In addition to many of the above areas of responsibility, veterinary technicians in research may also: supervise the operation of research colonies and facilities and assist in the design and implementation of research projects.
The demand for veterinary technicians is rapidly growing. Opportunities exist in the following areas:
Large Animal/Equine Hosptials
Herd Health Managers
Veterinary Supplies Sales
In approximately 40 states and provinces, veterinary technicians are certified, registered, or licensed. Candidates are tested for competency through an examination which may include oral, written, and practical portions. This process is regulated by a State Board of Veterinary Examiners, or the appropriate state agency. State Regulations for Veterinary Technician Registration. Practice acts, legislated by states and provinces, often define the responsibilities of the veterinary technician. These responsibilities and duties are dependent in part on the type of employment the individual chooses.