Maybe you lost a beloved pet to an illness when you were a child. Or perhaps the thought of an animal in pain is too much for you to bear. While there are many reasons why you may be interested in enrolling in veterinary technician schools, are you truly ready for a career as a veterinary technician?
Unfortunately, you’ll need more than a passion for animals and a big heart to thrive in this field. Before you invest your time and money in veterinary schools, ask yourself these five questions to figure out if you’re really meant to be a veterinary technician.
1. Are you comfortable working with animals?
While this question may seem like something of a no-brainer, you need to think about the ways in which working with animals differs from simply playing with them. Playing fetch with a dog is easy. Figuring out which part of a cat’s body is in pain, however, or seeing how a dog is responding to anesthesia, is not as simple. As a veterinary technician, you’ll not only have to be compassionate, but be able to hone in on those little details.
Being a nurse or doctor is no walk in the park, but at least human patients can tell you how they’re doing. With animals, you won’t be so lucky. So before you enroll in a veterinary technician program, make sure you’re up for the challenges you’ll face.
2. What types of animals do you want to work with?
Just because you’re a veterinary technician doesn’t mean you’ll get to work with any animal. If you think this career is your chance to meet lions and tigers and bears, you’re entering the wrong line of work. While veterinary technicians can find work at zoos, they typically assist licensed veterinarians at animal hospitals and private clinics. In these settings, you’ll work with the usual household pets, including dogs and cats, as well as smaller animals, such as birds, mice and rats. It’s also not uncommon for them to treat farm animals, like cattle, pigs and sheep.
3. Do you work well with others?
If you’re a veterinary technician, you’ll be working under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. That means you’ll not only be taking orders, but working with others. Beyond doing what your supervisors tell you to do, you’ll be expected to work with owners who are seeking treatment for their pets. As you speak to these individuals, you’ll have to remain attentive and understanding, since some are likely to be distraught over the condition of their beloved pets.
4. Are you willing to learn new skills?
While you’ll receive the training you need for this profession in veterinary technician schools, fields like these are always changing thanks to new technologies and medical breakthroughs. As a result, anyone who expects to acquire all of the knowledge and skills they will require throughout life in one program may be in for a surprise. Instead, keep an open mind as you advance in your career, picking up new and exciting skills along the way.
5. What are your long-term career goals?
If you hope to one day become a licensed veterinarian, becoming a veterinary technician is not the best way to go about it. In order to become a veterinary technician, you’ll typically work your way through a two-year program. Veterinarians, on the other hand, spend around four years in a doctor of veterinary medicine program at a college of veterinary medicine. So if becoming a veterinarian is your main goal, you’re going to want to rethink your career path.
Can you think of any other questions prospective veterinary technicians should ask themselves? If you can, share them with us in the comment space below.
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