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Career Profile: So you want to be a Vet Tech?

Photo+by+PetVets+Animal+Hospital+in+Oak+Park+Ill.
Photo by PetVets Animal Hospital in Oak Park Ill.

Photo by PetVets Animal Hospital in Oak Park Ill.

Photo by PetVets Animal Hospital in Oak Park Ill.

Brittany Rivera, Reporter

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Being a veterinary technician is for people who are caring, patient, loving, like working with animals and that don’t mind getting dirty. Being a veterinary technician means you must be available all the time and might work irregular hours because animal care should be provided around the clock. Being a veterinary technician includes having to restrain and handle animals during exams, doing blood tests and x-rays, monitoring animal’s vital signs during surgery, administer medications and providing information about animal care to owners. To be veterinary technician you need to complete a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree. The starting salary for a vet tech is $27,200 annually and Median salary is $30,320 annually. Veterinary Technicians are available in Animal hospitals like for example at Janda Veterinary Hospital on Cermak Rd in Cicero Il.

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Who can do this? Someone who loves working with animals and people, and doesn’t mind getting dirty.

What does it take? It takes a 2 year associates degree or a 4 year bachelor’s degree.

Where can you get it? 2 year community college

When can you do it? Right after 2 years of community college

Why should you do it? People who love animals should do it to simply take care of the animals, you can graduate and become a vet tech in as little as 2 years, and every day is different.

How much will you make? The starting salary for a vet tech is $27,200 annually

There aren’t colleges in the area that offer Veterinary Technician programs. Morton College offers a vet assistant program but does not offer a veterinary technician program.  The closest least expensive tuition is at Joliet Junior College. Since the veterinary tech program only requires 2 years Joliet Junior College tuition is just under 6,000.  Since the Veterinary Technician program is not offered at Morton College or a close by college, students can fill out paperwork to pay Morton College prices for the Vet Tech program at Joliet Junior College.  Paying Morton College prices to attend the Veterinary Technician program at Joliet Junior college would be the most economical way to go.

Q&A

Nicole Nudo is a Veterinary Technician at PetVets Animal Hospital in Oak Park Ill.

Can you tell me about your background and how you got into this field?

I have been interested in animals my whole life, specifically marine life as well as all things science related.  I grew up thinking I wanted to be a marine biologist.  It wasn’t until I was in high school when someone asked me “what does a marine biologist do?”….and I had no idea how to answer that.  I decided maybe something a little more defined, working with animals veterinary medicine seemed to appeal to me the most.

Why did you decide to become a Veterinary Technician?

I sort of “fell into” the position.  I started working at PetVets right out of high school working as a kennel attendant while I was in undergrad getting my bachelors in biology.  I had every intention of going on to Vet school, but it quickly became cost prohibitive for me to continue onto another 4 year degree.  I wanted to do more and be more in my role here at PetVets, I realized that I could still have an advanced degree and be a Veterinary Technician.  I always had a lot of respect for the “nurses” at PetVets.

What is the hardest part about your job?

One of the hardest parts is of course the sad times, when people have to say goodbye to their furry family member.  It is always sad to see when patients you knew as puppies or kittens becoming old and ill.  People treat their pets as if they are a member of the family and their sadness is so real and deep.

Was college easy for you?

College was pretty easy for me.  I love learning and really enjoyed the field I was studying, for both undergrad (biology) and my associates in Veterinary medicine.  Not all the subject matter was easy, but I found it easy to apply myself and learn because it was interesting.

What characteristics do you need to have to be a vet tech?

You need to be flexible, friendly, compassionate, hard-working, a team player and love working with animals AND people.

What other jobs can you do with the education you got to be a vet tech?

There are a variety of aspects of veterinary medicine.  Tech school teaches you all animals.  With our degree and technician license you can work in a variety of veterinary hospitals, large animal (cows, horses, pigs…etc), small animal (cats and dogs), exotics (birds, reptiles, pocket pets….etc.), a specialty clinic where they practice specific areas of veterinary medicine, rehabilitation therapy, there is also a calling for working in a laboratory setting with research animals, as well as zoos and aquariums.

Did you always know you wanted to be a vet tech?

I did not always know I wanted to be a vet tech, however the second I started working at PetVets I knew this was meant for me.  I love every aspect of my career, I get to play with puppies and kittens, make sick animals better, work with people that share in my passion and owners that treat their pets as family, do science-y things every day and LEARN.  I definitely learn something every day.

Are there many opportunities in your field? What should people do to get started?

Absolutely!  There are lots of opportunities in the veterinary field, it is growing for sure.  I feel there are so many different aspects to veterinary medicine, from working very directly with patients and clients to being in a laboratory or teaching setting, as well as working in a zoo or aquarium.  Even museums are looking for veterinary technicians.

To get started in the field I highly recommend volunteering at a shelter or with a rescue.  Exposure and experience is critical!  Most schools require hours working in a veterinary setting before applying.  This will also give you the experience to be sure that veterinary medicine is a good fit for you.  As with most colleges, getting good grades and being active with clubs and extracurricular activities in high school is also recommended.

 

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “Career Profile: So you want to be a Vet Tech?”

  1. Alexander Raldiris on May 7th, 2018 10:55 am

    This job seems really nice. But i wouldn’t enjoy working this field. Since you are a Vet Tech, you have to know about the medicine field and I’m into medicine and those studies. I like that you get with animals cause I’m a huge animal person. But I’m a dog person so working with others animals isn’t my thing. And when you have to put an animal down is the worst. I wouldn’t feel right putting someone else’s dog down. It’s just not me. It’s better for them to be happy not sad.

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Career Profile: So you want to be a Vet Tech?