Veterinary Technology - Detailed overview

Occupation Training Program: Veterinary Technology
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Main description


Veterinary technology programs teach people to work with animals and veterinary doctors. Students learn the structures and health needs of animals. They learn to care for patients and comfort their owners. They also learn to instruct owners about animal nutrition and health.

You can't pass a dog without stopping to pet him and say hello. You once turned your room into a hospital ward for injured birds, homeless and hungry cats, and a field mouse (that wasn't even sick!). You feel that communicating with animals is sometimes easier than communicating with humans. "Lassie," "Free Willy," and "Dr. Dolittle" are your favorite movies.

If these descriptions match you, and you want to study for a career where you can take care of animals, consider veterinary technology. Veterinary technicians and technologists work with animal patients under the supervision of veterinarians (animal doctors). They perform many of the same duties a nurse or medical assistant might do for physicians.

As a veterinary technician or technologist, you might do a blood test on a rabbit to see why she's not eating. Or you might prepare a dog for surgery to remove a cancerous growth. As you can probably imagine, this program of study involves learning about a wide variety of animals and their needs. You learn about things such as the anatomy and physiology of different animals. You also learn about the different diseases that affect small domestic animals and large farm animals.

Many veterinary technicians and technologists work in clinical settings such as veterinary hospitals and laboratories. But they can work in non-clinical settings as well. Examples include zoos, farms, race tracks, and even a pet grooming facility.

About 100 schools offer accredited veterinary technology programs in the U.S. A few of these schools offer distance education opportunities. You can earn either an associate degree or a bachelor's degree. An associate degree usually takes about two to three years of full-time study after high school. It prepares you to be a veterinary technician. A bachelor's degree typically takes four years and prepares you to be a veterinary technologist. (Technicians and technologists differ only in their level of training.)



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