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Carrington College Blog

Things to know before becoming a veterinary technician

December 30, 2014

Things to know before becoming a veterinary technicianSo, you think a career as a registered veterinary technician might be right for you? That’s wonderful news, certainly, but it also brings a fair amount of questions to mind.

While you’ve almost definitely already put a fair amount of time into considering your career plans as a veterinary tech, it’s important that you take a moment to be aware of some of the more difficult aspects of the occupation. Like any other profession, being a veterinary technician is incredibly rewarding, but it can be far more enjoyable if you’re prepared to deal with the less glamorous aspects of it from the beginning.

Take a look at some of the harder parts of the job, and we’re sure you’ll come away equally as motivated to become a veterinary technician, but also holding a stronger understanding of what you’ll be doing:

Compassion and professionalism

One of the trickiest aspects of being a veterinary technician, according to CareerBuilder, can be developing the proper personality.1 Effectively, those best suited to fill this role will operate through a mixture of compassion and professionalism. One of the things that potential veterinary personnel find most attractive about this line of work is the ability to help animals and animal lovers through some scary experiences.

This can be incredibly rewarding, and being able to show compassion in these situations will be extraordinarily beneficial. Still, you must also have a great deal of professionalism in order to handle the less ideal moments that the job provides. For example, it takes a fair amount of practical, but caring, speech to inform someone that their beloved pet may have a serious condition or illness.

Specialization within the job

If you’re early on in your veterinary technician education program, then you probably are under the impression that the majority of your work will be centered on assisting veterinarians with their more basic procedures. While there will certainly be a lot of blood work, anesthesia and testing included in your role as a technician, you can expect to become involved in a great deal more. According to VetStreet, the number of veterinary technicians included in surgical operations is growing.2

Once you’ve been a veterinary technician for some time, you’ll be able to become certified to do even more around the clinic, such as assist with surgeries, through experience, education and work. This sort of advancement will allow for specializations and growth beyond what you may have anticipated.

Preparing for the preparation

For many individuals, one of the most exciting parts of potentially becoming a veterinary technician is that the work varies so much from day to day. You could be doing routine blood work on a golden retriever one day and performing surgery on some sort of livestock the next.

While there’s certainly a great deal of appeal to this, it’s important to recognize that it isn’t all quite so glamorous. You’ll need to become familiar with billing and coding, scheduling practices and other administrative functions in order to be truly successful as a veterinary technician. Luckily, all of this subject matter should be covered throughout your continuing education,  allowing you to gain an understanding of these topics through your certification work.

1 Roberts, Jackie, Career Builder, ‘Do You Have What it Takes to be a Veterinarian,’  1/10/2012 –

2 Becker, Marty, VetStreet, ‘5 Things You Don’t Know About Veterinary Technicians,’ 10/15/12 –