A day in the life of a veterinary technician
Becoming a veterinary technician – often shortened to vet tech – might just be the ideal position if you’re an animal lover. While this career comes with a lot of challenges, it is also undoubtedly rewarding, and job duties can vary greatly from day to day. Veterinary technicians do have to earn a degree, and then enter a world filled with dogs, cats and other animals. If you’re considering entering this exciting profession, take a look at what the average day of a vet tech may look like:
While many veterinary clinics keep regular daytime hours, you never know when an animal may need emergency care or need to be checked on. For example, if a dog had to undergo emergency surgery earlier in the day, a vet tech may need to wake up to check its vitals and make sure the dog is in stable condition.
“I’ve worked every hour of the day and night,” lead veterinary technician at the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Animal Hospital Nancy Howell told the Dog Channel. “It depends on what kind of hospital you work in.”1
Sure, most people will be sound asleep during this hour, but it’s definitely worth waking up to make sure all the animals are safe and healthy.
The most active nine-to-fivers are probably up trying to get in a quick workout before the day at the office begins, while the majority of the workforce is probably just hitting snooze avoiding getting out of bed. Vet techs, on the other hand, are up and taking on the day. During this early hour, a vet tech may be feeding dogs and cats and again checking to make sure recovering animals are in good shape. According to Vet Tech Guide, workers in this position need to have lots of patience and confidence.2 Even though the day is just beginning, a vet tech may already have to deal with animals that are angry, scared, tired and excited.
However, the morning might also be a great time for vet techs to get in a little healthy exercise. Walking dogs in the morning is one of the many tasks a vet tech may have on the job.
Many workers are just sitting down with their first cup of coffee dreading the long day of lengthy emails and mindless typing awaiting them. The Dog Channel notes that vet techs have to be good with both animals and people, and as soon as the clinic or hospital is open that’s when you’ll have to turn on your social skills.1 Pet owners can be rather protective of their animals, and convincing them that their cat or dog is in the right hands requires a deft touch.
Your average office worker is in a boring meeting trying not to look groggy and disengaged. Meanwhile, vet techs are getting into the rhythm of a busy day examining animals, prepping cats and dogs for surgery or dental appointments, taking walk-ins and sending out lab work, among other tasks. One task veterinary technicians will have to be comfortable with is cleaning up after the animals on their watch. You never know when a nervous pup is going to pee in an unfamiliar environment.
For a busy vet tech, it might just be time for sitting down to lunch in the middle of the afternoon. Luckily, you were so busy having fun working with animals that you hardly noticed the time fly by. Other workers are probably counting down the minutes, hoping for happy hour to come as soon as possible.
Depending on your practice’s schedule, you may be wrapping up with patients at a veterinary clinic or hospital. Likely the pet owners will just be getting out of work and coming to pick up their cats, dogs and other animals. This is another time when people skills are important for vet techs, who may be sending off pets who’re tired out from a checkup or surgery. The rest of the workforce is likely either stuck in traffic or throwing one back at the bar, trying to relax after a long, redundant day.
The evening could go either way for a vet tech. If your shift is over you may simply head home and take some time to relax, but if there’s an emergency, you may stick around to help an animal in need. While the day has been long and tiring, this work is certainly more rewarding than plopping down on the couch and watching reruns on TV.
It’s safe to say that by 9:00 p.m., most people who work full-time are pretty tuckered out. For vet techs, a long day may be followed by a quick meal and a little leisure reading before going straight to bed, but the busy schedule is well worth the reward of knowing you made a difference.
1 “Life as a Vet Tech,” by Christina Chan, the Dog Channel. http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-careers/veterinarian-careers/life-as-a-vet-tech.aspx
2 “A Day In The Life Of A Veterinary Technician,” Vet Tech Guide. http://www.vettechguide.org/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-veterinary-technician/