The work of a veterinary technician can be extremely rewarding while also allowing you to do help those that you love, animals! However, anyone interested in beginning a career as a vet tech should be aware that the work can also be demanding both physically and emotionally as injured and sick animals are not always responsive to human interaction.
In fact, working on them can even sometimes put the doctors and technicians in a compromised position. Nonetheless if you can tolerate these day to day challenges then you’ll enjoy a long, stable and fulfilling career.
What are some of the risks as a veterinary technician?
The national average rate for injury is a bit higher for veterinary technicians than for comparable careers. This is due to the fact that vet techs are required to hold, life, and restrain injured animals. When animals feel vulnerable they tend to bite or scratch at others around them which puts those caring for the animals at risk. One of the most common responses that a vet tech provides when asked about the difficulties of the job tends to be that they are bitten and scratched by animals more times than they can remember.
Veterinary technicians are also subjected to various chemicals such as germicides and pesticides when animals need treatment. There are also infections, sicknesses like rabies, and fluids you may not want to necessarily be close to or in contact with. At times they must also handle equipment that may be sharp or awkward. There is also the fact that working with injured animals can be loud. The environment may be a bit overwhelming at first, but not difficult to handle. Yet with all of these risks, vet techs still seem to enjoy their job more often than not.
It may be tough at times for veterinary technicians to deal with traumatized animals. For they must at times be the one to enforce animal rights laws during abuse, and they are the ones who must euthanize an animal if it is hopelessly injured. Working for a humane society means that the public animals they are working with may have been homeless, aged, or unwanted. The difficulties can come from the human owners as well if they must be informed of the abuse or neglect they are subjecting the animal to. Their reactions may come in the form of verbal or physical hostility and need to be avoided or subdued.
Some veterinary technicians have regular work day hours arriving at 9am and leaving at 5pm while many others who may work in hospitals, research facilities and shelters may be required to work night shifts. Animals require constant care and some facilities will need a vet tech on staff 24 hours per day, which means the hours will be split up. Most veterinary technicians work full time and receive about 40 hours per week. There are many who work much more and sometimes log 70+ hours if needed.
When just starting out, vet tech salary levels tend to be a bit low. This can be difficult for many veterinary technician’s to live off of in the beginning stages of their career. This is why it is highly recommended that if you have the opportunity to start out by working in an internship position. Internships provide not only valuable experience to a beginning vet tech, but can also open the door to an immediate position and also allow you to demand a higher salary. Experience makes up a great degree of why some veterinary technicians make more than others.
Another risk which is hardly mentioned but should be noted is that many times you have to take the brunt of all of the stress the veterinarian is put under. So not only are you coping with your own day to day job duties and stressors, you must also take on whatever the vet decides to throw at you. Many veterinary technicians are surprised when the vet treats them poorly or swears at the them. Although this might not necessarily be within the rules of the hospital, it is likely to happen under certain circumstances. It is best to be aware of this difficulty related to becoming a veterinary technician, but you can help deal with the stress by reading our guide to 7 Veterinary Technician Stress Relievers.
Day to day is can be difficult working under the many stressors and job requirements a veterinary technician is subjected to. However, most vet techs find that not only does their salary increase over time, but also their love for the job and ability to tolerate any stressors thrown at them in life in general.