Jack Stewart, RVT, is program director of Veterinary Technology at the Community College of Baltimore County. He writes here about the veterinary tech profession. What does your job entail? A veterinary technician has a number of duties assigned to them. The technician can be the first person the client sees in the exam room. They will ask questions pertaining to why the client's pet is being seen as well as documenting the vital signs of the patient. Providing this information to the veterinarian will allow them to spend better quality time with the client and their pet. The veterinary technician is capable of performing clinic laboratory work, radiography, ultrasound, nursing care to hospitalized patients, perform as OR techs and dental hygienists. Basically the veterinary technician can and will perform all of these on a daily basis. Along with their routine duties, veterinary technicians will supervise the clinic's veterinary assistants and non-medical staff. The veterinary technician has a vital role in the health care team. What kind of schooling or training did you go through? In order to perform the duties of the veterinary technician and assume the responsibility of patient care, I obtained my degree in Veterinary Technology from the Veterinary Technology program at CCBC. Having the degree allowed me to take the National Veterinary Technician Examination. When you pass the examination you become a registered Veterinary Technician and assume the duties as such as outlined by the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. I have been a registered veterinary technician for 26 years. Average Salary RVTs in Maryland usually have a salary range of between $28,000 to $32,000 per year. RVTs working in areas other than companion animal medicine can make more or have better benefits. What inspired you to this career?Having many pets of my own over the years, I became interested in seeing that their care was the best that could be provided. Realizing that the veterinarian has only so much time, I felt that the knowledge of a college trained technician would be instrumental in achieving that goal. As busy as the veterinarians are, they can only provide so much training to their staff. Being able to offer my expertise and knowledge at the time I was hired would enable the veterinarian to utilize this knowledge to their advantage without sacrificing time for training. What do you like best about your job? I like the ability to share my knowledge with the veterinarians, staff, and clients. It is important that a veterinary clinic function as a team with qualified staff. Many times because of the background knowledge I have, I have been able to react in a speedy manner without first being instructed by the veterinarian. In critical situations, this can save lives. What are the challenges? The biggest challenge is in advancing my skills and knowledge to keep up with the ever changing technology within the veterinary field. In order to provide the veterinarian with quality staff it is essential that, as a technician, I consistently upgrade my abilities to perform my duties the best I can. Being a credentialed veterinary technician has enabled me to advance my career and become the program director of the veterinary technology program at CCBC.
Courtesy of Jack Stewart
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