Veterinary Technology is a paraprofessional field that provides support services to the veterinary profession. Any activity involving animal care is a potential employment opportunity. Some of these opportunities include positions in private veterinary practices, government regulatory agencies and humane associations, or in the areas of zoo/wildlife management, biomedical research, and academics.
In the private practice area, Veterinary Technicians/Technologists assist in virtually all aspects of the handling and treatment of animals with responsibilities for administering medications and vaccinations; assisting in anesthesia and surgery; treating hospitalized patients; performing dentistry, radiology and laboratory procedures; and communicating patient care to clients. Veterinary Technicians/Technologists cannot diagnose, prescribe, perform surgery, or engage in any activity prohibited by a state's Veterinary Practice Act.
The first step to becoming a veterinary technician/technologist is to complete a degree program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). MSU's Veterinary Technology Program has been continuously accredited by the AVMA since 1977. Graduates can then apply for registration in the states where they wish to work. Each state has its own licensure requirements that may include the Veterinary Technology National Examination (VTNE), an interview, and/or a test developed by that state. The title granted to those who fulfill the requirements vary from state to state. These titles and the duties which they may perform are defined by the the state's Veterinary Practice Act. The generic term for someone who has passed the state's requirements to become a recognized veterinary technician/technologist is "credentialed". In general, a veterinary technician is a graduate of an associate degree program who is credentialed and a veterinary technologist is a graduate of a bachelor degree program who is credentialed. However, the definitions of these titles can vary from state to state.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011, the employment outlook for veterinary technicians/technologists is excellent, with employment for the field expected to grow much faster than the average through 2018. Employment of veterinary technicians and technologists is relatively stable during periods of economic recession. Layoffs are less likely to occur among veterinary technologists and technicians than in some other occupations because animals will continue to require medical care. Median annual wages of veterinary technologists and technicians were $28,900 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,580 and $34,960. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $19,770, and the top 10 percent earned more than $41,490. Veterinary technologists in research jobs may earn more than veterinary technicians in other types of jobs.