A career working with animals offers lots of opportunities for advancement, fun, and job fur-fillment.
Job Growth of 19% for the next 10 years!
More people think of their pets as family than ever before and pet retail sales are at record highs. Pet care, as an industry, has continued to grow annually since 1992 and is one of the world’s most resilient markets. Both the job market and animal care sales were completely unaffected by the Dot Com Crash and the Great Recession.
All Kinds of Jobs Available!
Prior to an industry-wide consolidation trend that began around the turn of the Century, animal care jobs were mostly limited to grooming, training, boarding, veterinary medical care, veterinary nursing, veterinary medicine support, pet retail, and client service. Now there are dozens of jobs in this rapidly changing and robust field.
A Career With Animals Can Include These Popular Jobs
Veterinary Hospital Receptionist
Lots of veterinary practices and other pet service companies have decided to compete for business by offering premium client service. Veterinary receptionists that can demonstrate that they care about clients (and their pets!) are invaluable to veterinary practice owners. That’s why so many great veterinary receptionists come from backgrounds in the service industry: effusive interactions with people and pets come naturally to them.
Bubbles AND Brains
But the best veterinary client care representatives aren’t just bubbly; they’re brainy. They have a strong interest in science, are able to quickly learn medical terminology, and can be nimble with an array of client communication channels like apps, email, phones, text messaging, and social media. The chief responsibilities of veterinary client care representatives include:
- Ability to make pet owners feel welcome
- Demonstrate that the hospital is a compassionate, valuable, and safe source of veterinary care
- The ability to optimize the workflow of phone calls and patient visits through the practice
- Managing client and patient data
- A knack for resolving any client service issues
- Processing payment for veterinary services and products.
Veterinary Receptionist Advancement Opportunities
Experienced receptionists that are great at their jobs have lots of opportunities to advance their careers. Service training, management, and staff recruiting jobs are often filled with skilled individuals who were once veterinary receptionists.
Veterinary Technicians, Technologists, and Assistants
Veterinary doctors need medical support team members to help them treat and care for patients. We refer to these team members as technicians or assistants, but the correct terminology is a little more nuanced. Here’s a break down:
These are support team members holding a four-year degree from an accredited veterinary technology program. Though you do not have to be licensed as a veterinary technologist in the state of Connecticut, you must pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam in order to earn your degree.
These are support team members holding a two-year degree from an accredited veterinary technology program. Though you do not have to be licensed as a veterinary technologist in the state of Connecticut, you must pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam in order to earn your degree.
These team members do not hold a degree from a veterinary technology program. Veterinary assistants may be completely new to veterinary medicine, veterinary receptionists interested in expanding their skills and knowledge, or students of veterinary technology or veterinary medicine colleges.
As mentioned earlier, there are more veterinary technician and assistant jobs today than ever before. The increase in jobs has been driven by pet humanization trends and pet owners’ interest in keeping their pets healthy and living longer. There are also more advanced veterinary services available today and that advanced care requires more support team members.
“Employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow significantly in the next decade, faster than most other occupations. The best path to becoming a veterinary technician in Connecticut is to attend a school with a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities(CVTEA). To find a school with an accredited program, click here.” From veterinarian.edu.org
How Do I Become A Veterinary Technician?
Those interested in a career as a veterinary technician must graduate from an accredited veterinary technology program. If the individual would like to work as a veterinary technician in the state of Connecticut, one must also pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
Connecticut Veterinary Technical Schools
What Do Veterinary Technicians Do?
As a veterinary technician, under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, you may be asked to:
- Calculate drug doses
- Induce and monitor patients under anesthesia
- Prepare patients for surgery
- Assist in surgery
- Assist with dental cleanings
- Work in radiology
- Assist with rehabilitating post surgery patients
- Assist with laser therapy
- Care for hospitalized patients
- Administer injections and medications to pets
- Treat wounds
- Perform laboratory tests
- Assist with outpatient appointments
- Educate and interact with pet owners
- Advocate for patient health and safety at all times
- Assume a leadership role in the veterinary practice
A veterinary technician job can be physically demanding. It is not uncommon for technicians to sometimes work on the floor with large patients, have to crawl into cages to care for sick patients, have to carry patients that weigh 50 pounds or more, and bend over and hold uncomfortable positions while working with patients too big or too sick to move. Fur and pet hair on one’s uniform is commonplace, so those with allergies to pet dander should strongly consider another line of work.
Advancement Opportunities for Veterinary Technicians
Experienced technicians have been known to go onto leadership and training positions especially within large, corporately-owned veterinary chains. For those who enjoy people, the job can be especially satisfying. Technicians are frequently leveraged to help clients understand how to care for their pets, to understand how to cope with pets’ health issues, to give medications, and to ensure that a client’s experience at a veterinary hospital has been valuable and caring.
Veterinary technicians can earn recognition from academies approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) in areas like dentistry, anesthesia, surgery, and critical care. Technicians with specialty recognition are sought after, typically command the best salaries, and usually end up as leaders within their respective departments.
While certification programs exist for veterinary assistants, many come to the field with little to no experience in the business. Others come on board for the job as a precursor to becoming a licensed technician or a veterinarian.
The health care tasks veterinary assistants are asked to do vary widely from practice to practice, but the job can include the following responsibilities:
- Walking dogs
- Ensuring that hospitalized dogs and cats have clean bedding and access to clean water and food.
- The timely administration of medicines to hospitalized animals
- Keeping the hospital clean and free of infectious materials
A job as a veterinary assistant can be a great way to learn a lot about veterinary medicine. Most veterinary assistants have close, friendly, supportive working relationships with other veterinary professionals. Becoming a veterinary assistant is an excellent way to quickly learn about veterinary medicine and to get paid for it!
Veterinary Practice Management
The business of companion animal veterinary business is somewhat different from other businesses in that the owners of veterinary practices, the veterinarians, are often working 40 hours a week as doctors and sidelining their responsibility of practice management. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for veterinary practices to need managers that can improve the business’s workflow, organization, cost savings, human resources management, marketing and so forth.
While there are several veterinary management programs throughout the country that offer degrees in veterinary practice management, many managers have no formal management training or come from management backgrounds outside of veterinary medicine. Most often veterinary practice managers are recruited internally from the most experienced and talented members of the support team.
Veterinary practice management is highly regarded in the industry and veterinary manager have many outlets for education and training including the VHMA, AAHA, AVMA, and the FetchDVM360 and Uncharted Veterinary Conferences.