If you love animals and want to put your knowledge and compassion to work in a healing capacity, a career in veterinary medicine may be right for you. But if you feel that being a veterinarian is not in the cards, rest assured that there are many other career paths in pet care. Remember, a veterinarian needs a support staff to help as many animals as possible, so a career in the following fields, would still allow you to make a big difference.
Matt – Veterinary Technician
Veterinary technicians work alongside veterinarians to provide care to sick and injured animals. Put simply, a vet tech is the equivalent of a nurse in human medicine, so s/he plays an integral role in a veterinary practice.
Vet techs assist in collecting blood, tissue, urine, and stool samples for testing, and may help in the lab with performing tests and analyzing results. They also assist in taking x-rays and preparing animals for surgery, as well as administering medications. A veterinary technician may work directly with pet parents by giving them helpful tips and advice. And during a veterinary exam, a tech is there to help restrain the animal and to record important information.
Lauren – Veterinary Technician
If you’d like to pursue a career as a veterinary tech, it’s recommended that you receive an associate’s degree in veterinary technology. A program that’s approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association is strongly recommended. Once you’ve completed your associate’s degree, certification and licensure vary by state. The most well-known certification exam is the Veterinary Technician National Examination.
A veterinary assistant will primarily help in maintaining and cleaning equipment, as well as working directly with animals to ensure they’re provided the right nutrition, exercise, and grooming. These workers also assist in preparing the surgical area and ensure its properly hygiene. They may even help with restraining animals during an examination.
While a degree in animal science is helpful, it isn’t required to become a veterinary assistant. Though you can choose to go through certification as a vet tech would, this isn’t strictly necessary. Many individuals can enter the field with a high school diploma or GED.
Kennel workers care for pets that are housed in a kennel, within a veterinary facility. They ensure that animals are properly fed, have water, and are given the right medications. They also properly clean and sanitize the environment to ensure that patients are safe and that the area is hygienic and odor-free. Grooming and exercising the animals are also part of the daily tasks of a kennel worker.
To become a kennel worker, you should have experience working with and caring for animals. A high school diploma, communication skills, and the ability to stand for long periods of time and lift heavy objects are also required.
Anita – Groomer
Groomers clean, brush, and trim the fur and claws to maintain a pet’s appearance. They work with dogs and cats and must have attention to detail and be patient and compassionate, especially since pets can become stressed.
To become a groomer, you should have a high school diploma, though you can pursue an education from a pet grooming school and receive a certification to give yourself an advantage. The extra education will teach you safety procedures, how to assess the health of a pet, and how to give recommendations to owners.
Bekke – Reception
A veterinary practice can’t run without office staff. They greet clients, respond to emergencies, and handle issues that arise with owners. Receptionists need organizational skills to handle calls and clients while remaining calm. They need to schedule patients, answer questions, and take messages. Because they’re the first people clients deal with, they’re the “face” of the practice and play an integral role in customer satisfaction.
To become employed as part of the office staff at a veterinary facility, you should have experience in the field as well as a high school diploma, though may wish to pursue further education, which could give you the edge over other candidates.
Norm – Veterinary Administration
Administrators include accountants and managers. An office manager handles human resources and bookkeeping while ensuring everything runs smoothly. A practice manager will have all of those duties, as well as be responsible for marketing, ethics, and finances. A hospital administrator will work in larger practices and oversee veterinarians, as well as carry all the responsibilities of an office and practice manager.
A college education and experience are required. Though you may be hired with an associate’s degree to become an office manager, if you want to be a hospital administrator, you may even need a master’s degree.
Ashley – Veterinary Administration
Working in the world of veterinary medicine is exciting and dynamic, and there are many opportunities to make a difference. It takes a village of over thirty team members, including six veterinarians, to run a dynamic practice like Animal Clinic of Morris Plains (ACMP) Whatever your skill level and interests, there’s a place for you in the wonderful world of caring for animals.