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What do you need to become a Vet Tech.. :wink: just wondering, how well or bad does it pay..of course if I could i'll do it for free just to be around animals all day :D but yeah...what exactly does it take to be one.... :wink:
 

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Vala, you have 2 options, to be a registered veterinary technician (RVT) or a non-RVT. Each state has different requirements, but generally they include completion of an approved academic program (usually 2 years, less if you have bachelors), passing of the National Vet Tech test or having something like 5 years experience backed with vet recommendations, and passing the appropriate State Board exams.

Vet Tech pay isn't great compared to human nurses, with hourly pay ranging from $9 to $15 an hour on average. If you can find a salaried position you would be lucky to get $30k plus benefits, pay for licensed RVT's is slightly higher, but as with all jobs, pay is usually commesurate with experience.

The option to learn the ropes on your own is a long and difficult one, the hardest part is finding a hospital that is willing to train you from the bottom up. It is an investment in time and money many hospitals are not willing to make, and earning the respect of the staff and doctors is difficult and may be discouraging. However, if it is something you really want to do, it can really be done. Good luck, and if you have any other questions feel free to PM me!

-Nate
 

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for all i do i'm not paid nearly enough. but i'm not a full vet tech, i was supposed to be trained after X amount of time but then my boss got to disliking me (i found problems with the way our boarding facility was run and poop on me for wanting to change it and pointing things out to the boss cuase she actually had to work and some things aren't getting better so it makes her look bad to sum up the dislike... it's not cause i'm a bad worker, she even put in my review that i'm great with the animals and with the job but "i complain too much" ha if i told you what i was complaining about it would make your head spin!) anyways, if you can get into a hospital with a boarding facility that would be a great place to start. let them know that you want to work your way up and be trained and if you show your a good dedicated worker you won't have any problems moving ahead and becoming trained. some places will even pay for your education...
 

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I wanted to become a vet tech a couple years ago. I looked up the 2 year program from one of the near by colleges. They insisted you had 80 hours of experience in a vet office before applying for the program. Which was a good thing I guess. I started one day and the other vet tech lady's were total (you know what's) - expected me to know EVERYTHING, they wouldn't show me where anything was and I got yelled at by the vet because I did something wrong, but no one would explain anything to me! All they would do was sit and gossip and whisper to each other when they weren't working on animals. I was so mad - to top it off I saw 2 cats be put down and it made me very sad.

After that day I never went back. I honostly think I wouldv'e pursued it further if it weren't for those stupid women!!!!

But to this day, I still talk about all of my stories from the day I worked at the vet office. You vet techs see so many interesting things, your job is surely never boring!

Edited - I shouldn't be so lazy and just use spellcheck :roll:
 

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I wish vet techs were paid more...I thought about going into it but with at least another year of school and a major cut it pay I decided it wasn't worth it for me...wish I'd thought about it when I was younger, that goes ditto for vet school (the thought about it earlier part, I can't get in because I didn't take the right classes or have experience as vet tech)
 

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Yes the stories are quite amazing =)

One thing that most vet techs will atest to is the ridiculous amount of DRAMA that goes on behind the scenes. Not like ER drama, but more like Days of Our Lives Drama. Your first impression makes or breaks any chance to move up, and even if you are GREAT at what you do at a lower position (reception, kennel, etc...) it may even lower your chances at becoming a tech because they don't want to have to fill your shoes when you move up. This is the nature of the working world eh?=)

My suggested gameplan for anyone wanting to work as a tech without prior experience:
1. Find a hospital that needs help in reception/kennel. Work for a few months, show you are capable, volunteer on time off to observe techs. Ask to be taught (only on your time off) and ask to perform tech tasks under supervision.
2. Study! Buy a tech board exam study book and go through it, learn the terminology, the pharmaceuticals, the anatomy. These are all the basics, and before you can be expected to place a catheter into the cephalic vein, you have to know where it is and why you want to place it there, what other options you have if that vein blows.
2. When you have learned some skills and knowledge, ask the head tech if you can cover shifts for people who sick, etc...
A: If he/she says sure, GREAT. You will be asked to take more and more shift, and on your way to tech-hood.
B: If he/she says you need to learn more skills first: GREAT ask where you need to improve at least you haven't been shot down and they know you are interested.
C: If he/she blows you off or outright says NO, give your two weeks, get a great recommendation for the position you were in before, and look for another veterinary practice (one that may be badly needing personel) and apply as a Tech Assistant. Put all the things on your resume you have learned.

3. At your new practice, immediately tell them what you know how to do at excellent levels, tell them what you are working on. If you can perform basic duties you are on your way. Remember not all techs can (or are trusted) to work the ultrasound or monitor anesthesia or do dentals, and while they don't like to admit it, all hospitals need both kinds of techs.

4. Keep learning, and when you have a solid base you should be ready for new challenges and working unsupervised. If you still don't feel like you are getting the respect you deserve, look for a new job where you can start fresh armed with your new skills.

Our hospital is very demanding with their techs since it is so busy, the doctors rely heavily on their technicians to perform basically everything except the physical exam and surgery. The following requirements might scare you, but it is what is required to work in such an environment:

Here are list of basic but NECESSARY skills for an entry level technician (entry level meaning, I wouldn't hire anyone without at least 80% of these skills):

1. Clinical restraint of dogs, cats, some exotics - holding for exam, diagnostics, and intubation. Placing further restraints on an animal including uzing different types of muzzles, boxes, and rabies pole.
2. Knowledge of Husbandry/Proper Care of these animals, and understanding of external/internal anatomy and medical terminology. Know "normals" in terms of TPR, CRT, MM color, blood pressure, etc.
3. Ability to draw blood from jugular, cephalic, lateral saphenous veins.
4. Ability to draw urine from the bladder using cystocentesis.
5. Ability to perform basic diagnostics such as ear cytology, position and properly expose radiographs, skin cytologys, fecal analysis, and in-house blood tests. Tri-stain, Gram Stain, Zinc-Sulfate floats are a must.
6. Ability to administer treatments properly and calculate dosages based on mg -> ml conversions. Knowing properties of commonly used pharmaceuticals is also a must.
7. Ability to triage an animal, take TPR, blood pressure, know what is an emergency and what is not.
8. Ability to clean and bandage a wound properly.
9. Ability to place an IV catheter, and set up fluids at proper rate.
10. Know sterile procedure.
11. Ability to communicate well with doctors, other techs, and clients. A large part of the job is educating clients after exams or on the phone about treatments/illnesses when their time with the doctor is finished.
12. Ability to assemble and use most equipment including stethoscope, thermometer, otoscope, opthamaloscope, sphygmanometer, syringes, IV line.
13. Ability to perform duties unsupervised, and humility to ask for help.

Skills you will expected to develop and learn:
1. Monitoring patients under anesthesia.
2. Performing dental cleanings and extractions.
3. Dental radiographs
4. Calculating induction dosages/performing induction/intubation.
5. EKG
6. Basic ultrasonography.
7. Detail radiography.
8. Advanced bandaging
9. Euthanasia
10. Advanced pharmacy, knowing side effects and drug interactions.
11. Assembling and using non-standard medical equipment.
12. Scrub-In
13. Assisting with sterile and non-sterile surgical procedures.

Phew!! It's a long list, but hopefully it will help you get started when you are at the hospital, you'll know what to ask how to do. Do not be overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge that is required, you will learn very quickly in the right environment, and not all practices expect this much. Focus on the most commonly used skills, if you are stellar at drawing blood from any animal, you will be asked to do it everytime. I have to admit that when I'm done with veterinary school I hope to be able to do a lot of the hands-on work still, it is part of what makes the job so interesting. I wish you lots of luck on your journey into the world of vet-tech, and you know we are always here to support you and answer any questions you have about ANYTHING!

-Nate
 

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Wow Nate you are always so helpful! Are you a vet tech or a vet? From what I remember, I think you are a vet tech - if you are, have you ever considered being a vet?
 

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hey nate

and even if you are GREAT at what you do at a lower position (reception, kennel, etc...) it may even lower your chances at becoming a tech because they don't want to have to fill your shoes when you move up.
are you spying on me lmao!!!! that is what happened at my place, i replaced 2 kennel technicians and then a few vet techs (the ones that help in surgery "the senior techs"and make or break you in moving up) got worried that i would replace them! so they won't teach me anything!
 

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That's right! I remember reading a post about that sorry :oops:

You will be an excellent vet Nate! And Kristen and Sadie will miss you I bet! You're taking Ritz - am I remembering right? I hope so. You'll have to sqeeze in some time when you are in school to come back to this website and answer all of our questions :wink:
 

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I'm taking a course to become a vet assistant right now. I know it probably pays even less than a vt, but it's just the starting point... :wink:
 
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