All About The Emergency And Critical Care Veterinary Technicians Specialty

Have you been searching for a career that will match your love for animals and offer a comfortable salary as well? Do you want to complete your initial training and begin working within just a couple of short years? If so, why not consider a career as an emergency and critical care veterinary technician?

Career Outlook

With pet ownership on the rise, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field of emergency and critical care veterinary technicians will increase by as much as 36 percent until the year 2018. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be enough experts to fill these positions.

What this means for you is that there are plenty of fabulous job opportunities if you choose this specialization. Furthermore, if you choose this field, you can look forward to excellent pay, job security and self-fulfillment that you may not find anywhere else. Read on, to learn more about this exciting field.

Average Salary

If you choose to work as an emergency and critical care veterinary technician, you can expect an average salary around $36,000 per year, which is slightly higher than the average salary of traditional vet techs. Nevertheless, your salary can also vary depending on various factors such as location, experience and employer.

In fact, the range of salaries for professionals working in this specialty is about $20,500 to $44,030 per year. If you choose a career in this field, it is advantageous for you if you become a member of the Veterinary Emergency Critical Care Society as doing so can significantly increase your employment possibilities.

In addition to earning a comfortable salary, when you choose to work within this specialty, you can expect a variety of great benefits. Many employers offer such perks as medical and dental insurance, paid vacations, sick pay, uniform allowances, and excellent retirement plans.

Common Responsibilities

Emergency and critical care veterinary technicians must be able to work well under extreme pressure. They must also be able to remain calm during emergency situations. As a technician in this specialty, you will encounter such emergencies as pets that have been hit by cars, injured in fights, poisoned or burned in fires. While your responsibilities will vary, some tasks you will need to perform are listed below.

  • Taking X-Rays
  • Taking and Recording Vital Signs
  • Cleaning and Bandaging Wounds
  • Administering IV Fluids and Injections
  • Applying Casts
  • Sterilizing Surgical Equipment
  • Prepping for and Assisting with Surgery
  • Drawing Blood
  • Maintaining Case Files
  • Comforting Pet Owners

It is essential to note that emergency care facilities are typically open 24 hours. As such, you may need to work at all hours of the day and night including weekends and holidays. Additionally, since some injuries can be quite extensive, you must have a strong stomach to work in this specialty.

Educational Requirements

For you to become an emergency and critical care veterinary technician, you must first complete an approved vet tech program, pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam and obtain licensing in the state where you wish to work. You will then need to obtain employment as a vet tech and complete the following requirements.

  • At Least 5,760 Hours of Working Experience in an Emergency Facility
  • At Least 25 Hours of Specialty Training in Emergency and Critical Care
  • Proof of 50 or More Cases Completed in the Specialty Field
  • Two Letters of Recommendation from Emergency and Critical Care Veterinarians
  • Completion of Your State’s Specialty Exam

The Specialty Exam

Your specialty exam is administered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America and consists of several multiple choice questions. Depending on your testing location, it may also include computer simulations, oral questions, audio aids and visual aids.

The goal of this exam is to assure that you have a full understanding of emergency and critical care procedures and techniques. While the content of your test may vary depending on your testing location, some of the common topics you may encounter during your exam are as follows.

  • Emergency Equipment
  • Assessing Emergency Conditions
  • Emergency Treatment Options
  • Emergency Complications
  • Stabilization Methods
  • Anesthesia Administration
  • Treating Wounds and Applying Dressings

When you choose to work as an emergency and critical care veterinary technician, you will be taking part in an essential role in saving the lives of pets.

Not only will this make a positive impact on the lives of pet owners, but it will leave you feeling satisfied as well. Furthermore, this is a growing field that shows much promise for the future.

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