14 Pros and Cons of Being a Veterinary Assistant

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Love working with animals?

Want to help with their care?

You could be a veterinary assistant!

Every veterinarian needs a dedicated assistant to keep his or her office running smoothly.

Vet techs help with pet exams, taking vital signs, drawing blood, updating medical records, assisting with treatments, and more.

You’ll work with a licensed veterinarian in preserving, restoring, or improving your animal patients’ health.

Learning the pros and cons of this career choice will help you determine if it’s the right one for you.

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Pros of Being a Veterinary Assistant

Pros of Being a Veterinary Assistant
As the right-hand men or women to full-fledged veterinarians, vet techs play a key role in the veterinary field.

Here are some of the advantages of pursuing this career:

1. You Get to Work with Animals!

Whether you work in an animal clinic, shelter, or zoo, you’ll be with animals the whole day through.

For an animal lover, that’s a dream come true!

You may work with a licensed vet or a veterinary team to meet your animal patients’ healthcare needs.

Your days will be varied, and your time well spent as you share special moments with your furry friends.

As a vet tech, you can improve an animal’s quality of life and brighten your own with the love you get in return.

2. Jobs are In High Demand

Veterinary assistant jobs are in high demand with great expectations for the future.

BLS predicts that vet tech jobs will increase by 14% through the year 2030, adding an extra 15,000+ openings in this field.

As a vet tech, you’ll have varied employment opportunities.

Veterinary assistants are needed in animal clinics, animal shelters, wildlife refuges, zoos, research labs, and more.

You can explore different avenues to see where your skills can be put to best use.

3. Training Can be Achieved Quickly

You don’t need four years of college for a vet tech career.

A two-year accredited training program from a community college or tech school will suffice to kick-start your career.

Afterward, you can enter an externship program to get hands-on experience for your profession.

Although certification isn’t required, it’s a plus in your favor when it comes to establishing your career.

You’ll also need to pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) to become licensed in your field.

4. Varied Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a vet tech are many and varied, making each day unique.

On a typical day, you may receive, examine, test, and help treat domestic or non-domestic creatures.

You may work with traditional or exotic pets, zoo animals, livestock, or other farm critters.

As different animals have different healthcare needs, you’ll have a chance to hone new veterinary skills and grow in your profession.

Your varied experiences will enable you to become proficient in your field.

5. Rewarding Career

As a veterinary assistant, you’ll help improve the quality of life of animal patients in your care.

Knowing you’re helping animals in need can be very rewarding.

Your services are essential to helping veterinarians identify and treat animal illnesses and injuries.

Your skills and conscientious care can help restore the health of animals in your care, so they can live long, productive lives.

By helping to save pet lives, you brighten the lives of pet owners in your local community.

6. Varying Work Environments

Veterinary assistants work in all kinds of animal care facilities and environments.

Those who work in private animal clinics spend a great deal of time indoors looking after domestic pets.

If you work with a livestock vet, you may spend most of your time visiting farms to treat animals there.

Some vet techs travel to remote areas such as wildlife preserves to help with animal care.

By making yourself available to opportunities that come your way, you can have amazing experiences in this field.

7. Learn People Skills

As a vet tech, you’ll work with people as well as animals in your care.

This gives you a chance to develop people skills that can make you better at your job.

Your work may put you in touch with animal owners, volunteers from animal shelters, veterinarians, and other techs.

You may work as part of a team to care for pets, farm animals, or zoo animals in your community.

Working with others requires teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and other essential skills.

Learning to interact with people in a positive, productive manner can help advance your career.

Cons of Being a Veterinary Assistant

Cons of Being a Veterinary Assistant
Working as a vet tech can be challenging.

Knowing the difficulties you may face can help you decide if it’s the right field for you.

Here are a few cons of pursuing this career:

1. Additional Expense of Continued Education

Depending on your job, you may need additional training from time to time to stay current in your field.

Some jobs require completion of professional development courses to maintain certification.

These courses will need to be incorporated into your budget and busy work schedule.

By taking these courses online, you can save time and money in meeting these educational requirements.

Continued education can help you stay on the cutting edge of your profession, so you can advance in your field.

2. Stress

Workplace stress is very common in the veterinary field and vet techs experience their fair share on the job.

Working with suffering animals and their frantic owners can cause stress over time.

Assisting with animal testing and complex pet surgeries can be stressful, especially if the outcome doesn’t meet your expectations.

Then there’s the stress of informing pet owners that their pet needs to be put down as nothing more can be done.

Learning to cope with difficult or heart-breaking situations is part of the job.

3. Health Risks

One of the tasks of a vet tech is taking blood, urine, or fecal samples of animal patients.

These tests can expose you to bacterial infections or other contagious diseases.

Animals that are wounded, sick, or in pain can be unpredictable, putting you at risk of injury or harm.

New animal patients may feel threatened and lash out with their teeth or claws.

In time, you’ll learn how to handle animals safely and discern when you’re in danger, so you can prevent an attack before it happens.

4. Long Hours

Depending on your job, you may need to work long hours assisting the veterinarian on call.

Some animal clinics are open 24/7 for emergency care, requiring that vet techs take a shift at night.

After a lengthy surgery, you may be asked to monitor your animal patient after normal work hours.

If your animal clinic is open on weekends or holidays, your job may cut into these times as well.

An overloaded work schedule can lead to burnout.

Establishing a healthy work-life balance is key to staying happy and motivated on the job.

5. Strenuous

The job of a veterinary assistant is physically demanding.

It requires prolonged standing for lengthy surgeries and carrying heavy animals to and from treatment tables.

You may need to transport supplies or heavy equipment to different areas of the hospital or clinic.

If you work in a zoo or animal sanctuary, you may need to walk long distances to reach your patients.

Sometimes large animals need to be restrained, which requires physical force and exertion.

If you’re out of shape, getting back in shape is a requisite for the job.

6. Emotionally Challenging

As a vet tech, you may find your work emotionally challenging as oftentimes you’re dealing with sick or injured animals.

Some of these animals may be suffering from chronic conditions that cause constant pain.

You may also have to handle anxious pet owners who are distressed over their pet’s condition.

Learning how to manage difficult situations can help you cope with the emotional aspects of the job.

Daily exercise, journaling, meditation, and yoga are helpful strategies for managing workplace stress.

If you tend to get emotional easily, a vet tech job may not be the best for you.

7. Exposure to Death

As a veterinary assistant, you may find euthanasia a necessary yet painful aspect of the job.

When sick or injured animals can’t be saved, euthanasia offers a compassionate way out.

Even so, euthanasia can be a heart-wrenching experience, leaving you feeling emotionally drained.

Constant exposure to euthanasia and animal suffering can wear you down.

Add to that the burden of consoling pet owners who are devastated over their loss.

These aspects of the job are important to consider before choosing this career path.

Should You Become a Veterinary Assistant?

Should You Become a Veterinary Assistant
If your vision is to work with animals and help with their care, a vet tech job could be right for you.

Animal lovers will find a vet tech position interesting, rewarding, and satisfying.

Yes, the physical and emotional demands are great, but these can be countered with a healthy lifestyle and a good work-life balance.

Working in a field you love can also counter the negative aspects of the job to bring you joy and fulfillment.

Knowing what you’re getting into will help you prepare to face the challenges of this noble profession, so you can excel in your field.

Pros and Cons of Being a Veterinary Assistant Summary Table

Pros of Being a Veterinary AssistantCons of Being a Veterinary Assistant
You Get to Work with Animals!Additional Expense of Continued Education
Jobs are In High DemandStress
Training Can be Achieved QuicklyHealth Risks
Varied ResponsibilitiesLong Hours
Rewarding CareerStrenuous
Varying Work EnvironmentsEmotionally Challenging
Learn People SkillsExposure to Death

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