As a veterinary technician, you have your choice of working in a variety of different settings. Here are some of the most common places vet techs work:
- Private veterinary clinics. This is the most common place for vet techs to work. Every vet needs the assistance of trained techs, so there is no shortage of positions available in these places.
- Emergency animal hospitals. These facilities require plenty of vet techs, though they often work irregular hours and see more extreme cases.
- Research labs. In labs where animals are used for research purposes, vet techs are needed to ensure that the animals are cared for properly and humanely.
- Animal shelters. Shelters see lots of animals coming and going, so techs need to be on hand to deal with a variety of medical issues.
- Zoos. Zoo jobs are competitive due to the small number of positions available. Techs in zoos help veterinarians with routine and emergency care for the animals housed there.
The working environment for vet techs can be physically and emotionally demanding. Whether you are lifting and restraining large dogs or dealing with aggressive pets that bite, you are exposed to some dangerous working conditions – it’s just part of the job. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that full-time veterinary technicians “experienced a work-related injury and illness rate that was much higher than the national average.” While working as a vet tech you’ll have to worry about working conditions that are quite different than your everyday desk job.
Be prepared for things like:
- Exposure to zoonotic diseases
- Exposure to feces, urine, and vomit
- Lifting and restraining large animals
- Biting and scratching from scared or aggressive patients
- Emotional distress (abuse cases, euthanasia, illness, owner distress)
This list is not meant to scare you away from a vet tech career – it is an honest depiction of things you WILL have to deal with as a technician.
Keep in mind that there are PLENTY of happy and rewarding sides of being a vet tech! It’s not all doom, gloom, and euthanasia…you just have to be prepared for the more difficult aspects of the job. If you don’t think you can handle these aspects, a vet tech career might not be right for you.