View Full Version : Veterinary Technician

01-08-2004, 10:55 PM
A Veterinary Technician is a career I've wondered about. I looked into it, and there's really only one school in my area that offers a degree in that. It's also very expensive, especially for someone like me who barely makes over minimum wage lol.

I'm going to check the school out in a few weeks, but honestly, there's no way I can go unless I get some sort of loan or grant.

In the mean time, I'd like to learn more about it. I know some of you have worked as one or are currently working as one. Could you describe the job to me? Your duties? What training/schooling you had to go through? Job market/wages?

Thanks! :)

01-09-2004, 11:52 AM
Hi Amy. I have been doing this work since I was 18 (actually started as an assistant and then worked my way up). One thing I want to mention first is that unless you work as a specialized facility the pay is not great, IMHO. You really don't make that much money doing this work, so if you are looking for a higher paying job, maybe try to be a tech at an ER clinic, or one that specializes in exotics, or hoofstock, as these jobs commonly pay more. Also try to get a job that pays by the hour, and not a salary. The reason being is that you always work overtime, and if you have a salary you don't get paid for this, you only get your base wage, which sucks.

You have to be able to stand the site of blood, guts, broken bones, necropsies etc. You also have to be able to hold your breath for long periods of time, and I serious about this. Some of the animals you work with smell HORRIBLE, like death, especially when they have cancer inside and their insides turn to liquid, which then leaks out of the mouth (this is what happened to Morgan) and the smell is just like death, but worse. I once helped with a necropsy on a chinchilla and when we opened up the intestines the smell was very digusting as he was full of gas. You will want to vomit on more than one occasion. So if you DO NOT have a strong stomach DO NOT do this job.

You must put aside your personal feelings in certain circumstances, like when it comes to euthanasia. I have euthanised several animals, so if you do not feel comfortable ending the life of an animal, again don't do this job. There will be times when you have to kill an animal you feel should still be allowed to live.

I just got a job at the University of Oregon, as a Laboratory Animal Technician, and part of my job will be to euthanize several rabbits, mice and rats almost every day. Knowing I have these animals as my personal pets makes it even harder.

You have to stand for long periods of time so make sure you are in shape. You have to be able to lift, I would say, at least 100 pounds of animal. The job market is OK, but it's not the best.

As far as duties: Cleaning cages and bathing animals, suturing up animals, helping with necropsies, euthanasia, help drawing blood, help with surgeries, taking/exposing x rays (especially hard when your infared light goes out and you have to do it in complete darkness!), preparing blood samples/serum for certain tests, checking things under the microscope such as fecal tests to check for internal parasites, looking for external parasties such as mange, lice etc. Holding and restraning animals (Be prepared to be bit more than once!), watching animals as they wake up after surgery, dentals, doing laundry, running errands for the head vets.............the list goes on and on. You must also have a good vocabulary, so pay attention in school when they are teaching you certain prefixes and suffixes (sp?), oh and remember to learn how to spell, unlike me. :p You have to learn the names and generic names of TONS of medications and it gets very confusing, especially when so many new products are coming out and old ones are being discontinued.

I have been to school for two years, but I have not finished. I plan to go back, to Oregon State sometime in the next two years. School is usually 3-4 years.