Small Animal Practice Veterinary Technicians

Are you looking for a career that is in high demand and will allow you to work with household pets? Do you want to begin your career in a few short years?

If so, why not train for a career as a small animal practice veterinary technician? There is a great need for these trained professionals, and in most cases, you can complete your training in just two years.

Career Outlook

According to statistics provided by the Humane Society of the United States, there are about 165 million dogs and cats in American homes today. Add to that the number of rodents, birds and rabbits that pet owners may have, and anyone can see that this can be a lucrative career for people who love animals.

The need for veterinary technicians specializing in small animal practices grows significantly each year, and the U.S. Labor Statistics Bureau expects the field to continue to grow at a rate of about 36 percent until 2020. This rate is much faster than the national average for all occupations.

Average Salary

The salaries for small animal practice vet techs are determined by such factors as location, employer, qualifications and experience. However, as a veterinary technician specializing in small animals, you can expect a salary range of about $20,500 to as much as $44,030 per year.

Additionally, as of 2012, the average salary for these professionals was about $31,030 per year. Many technicians also enjoy various perks including medical insurance, dental insurance, retirement packages, paid vacations, uniform allowances and employee discounts. Common places of employment are animal clinics, animal hospitals, shelters and humane societies.

Common Responsibilities

The tasks you will be responsible for as a vet tech working in a small animal practice may vary depending on your qualifications, experience and employer. However, there are some veterinary technician responsibilities that are common to many facilities, and they are listed here.

  • Taking and Recording Vital Signs
  • Administering Vaccinations and Other Injections
  • Administering Oral Medications
  • Drawing Blood
  • Taking Fecal Samples
  • Assisting During Examinations, Treatments and Surgery
  • Maintaining Medical Equipment
  • Clipping Nails and Grooming Animals
  • Prepping Animals for Surgery
  • Answering Phones and Making Appointments
  • Filing Paperwork and Handling Payments

Educational Requirements

The first step to becoming a small animal practice vet tech is attending an approved veterinary technician program and earning either an associate or bachelor degree in veterinary technology. After earning your degree, you must sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam and receive a passing score.

This test is comprised of two parts: a multiple choice section and a practical skills evaluation. If you pass the VTNE, you will be eligible for licensing in your state.

According to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, you must work as a vet tech for at least five years before you can earn a small animal practice specialty credential.

Credential Requirements

The Academy for Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practices oversees the requirements and credentialing of vet techs who wish to specialize in small animal practices. You must fulfill the following requirements as set by the AVTCP before you can earn your small animal practice credential.

  • Current Employment as a Vet Tech in Good Standing
  • Completion of at Least Five Years and 10,000 Hours of Work as a Vet Tech
  • Completion of at Least 50 Case Logs
  • Four Detailed Case Reports
  • Completion of at Least 40 Hours of Specialty Training in Advanced Small Animal Care
  • Passing Score on the Specialty Exam
  • Two Letters of Recommendation from Licensed Veterinarians

End Your Search!

End your search, and begin a career in small animal veterinary technology today! Choosing to work in this exciting career is not only extremely rewarding, but you will enjoy job stability and a comfortable salary as well. With pet ownership on the rise every year, there will be a vast array of employment opportunities for trained vet techs for many years to come.