Which Vet Assistant/Tech job would be better for vet school?

Nov 21, 2010
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Washington DC Metro Area
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Pre-Veterinary
Hi everyone! I'm completely new to everything Vet-related and (sadly) forum-related. Bear with me...

So, I recently decided I wanted to completely change up my career and become a Vet. AAH! I need advice...

Given that I have absolutely no Vet Experience, I was pretty lucky to have gotten offered two different Vet Assistant/Tech jobs. But now I'm torn about which one I should choose. Ultimately, which would look better when applying to vet school:

1) Working at an emergency small animal hospital.
Pros: Emergency medicine would give me a little bit more variety. The Animal Hospital is reputable in this area and they work with modern technology. They have established training and they encourage their assistants to get lots of hands-on experience with animals.

2) Working at a VCA small animal hospital (2 Vets staffed). Pros: I think I'd get more daily interaction with the vets (good for recommendation letters).

Any advice or personal experiences would be greatly appreciated...
 

twelvetigers

stabby cat
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Mar 12, 2008
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How about this: which area of vet med do you think you might be more interested in? Do you think you would like the fast-paced environment of an emergency clinic, with lots of blood and quick decisions, with the potential to make a BIG difference for the animal (saving lives)? Or would you want to develop close relationships with clients and their pets, doing everything from puppy vaccinations to euthanasias and dealing mostly with day-to-day animal care?

Now, I know you might not be sure yet since you're just getting started, but one might appeal to you more. Assuming these are both for the same sort of position (i.e. one isn't for a receptionist/tech mix or something odd like that) I would go for whichever sounds the coolest to you. Or, visit the clinics and see which one you think you would like best.

Congrats on the jobs, good luck deciding, and welcome to the forum. :)
 

Tco87

Illinois 2016
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Jan 19, 2010
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How about this: which area of vet med do you think you might be more interested in?
:thumbup: I agree with TT. Pick the job that will be more interesting/enjoyable to you.

Also, not all schools are the same, but generally it's in your benefit if you can say "I want to do X as a veterinarian" and you have a decent amount of experience in X. So if you think you want to be an emergency vet, go with the emergency position.

Good luck and congratulations!
 
OP
LoveMyHotDog
Nov 21, 2010
74
0
Washington DC Metro Area
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Thanks guys! I think I may go with the Emergency Animal Hospital since that area has always been of interest to me. I also can't make all of my decisions based around what I think the admissions counsels in these schools would prefer...
 

sumstorm

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Apr 5, 2008
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Another thought is to ask what you will be doing and how they will train you. If you don't have experience placing catheters and such, and their plan is 'you'll figure it out' you might want to think about whether that works for you. On the other hand, if they say 40% of your duties will be straight kennel cleaning that might also impact what you pursue.
 

VeganSoprano

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I think your instincts about the pros and cons of each are probably accurate.

Emergency offers a more varied caseload and may (depending on state regulations) offer more opportunities to build a good base of technical skills. However, you will probably have considerably less contact with the doctors. As a junior tech/assistant, you will probably be primarily assisting the senior techs. If you have the opportunity to advance to a more senior technical role (which will probably take a year or more, so patience is a virtue!), you will probably be working more directly with the doctors but you may still only spend a small part of your day working directly with them. In my position as an ER/ICU tech, I actually work quite independently. The doctor gives me a treatment sheet and I do what it says. I may only spend 10 minutes actually interacting with a given inpatient's doctor in the course of the day. I'll usually spend more time with the doctor(s) who are on emergency duty, but even there it's unlikely to be more than 2-3 hours over the course of a 10 hour shift. This means it is likely to take a long time to develop the kind of relationship that is most useful for getting LORs.

In general practice, you are more likely to spend 50% or more of your time working directly with the doctors. However, a lot of what you do will be routine appointments for annual exams and vaccines. On the other hand, you may get experience with things like routine dentistry that you wouldn't get in emergency practice. The doctors will probably get to know you better which will make it easier to get a good LOR, but the caseload is likely to be less varied and you may not have the opportunity to develop the same kind of skill base.

For the general practice position, definitely find out whether they provide boarding and how much you will be responsible for the care of non-medical boarders. If you are likely to routinely have responsibility for more than 2-3 healthy boarders, this means you will be spending a significant chunk of your work day on their care and would be a reason to consider the other position.

Either position is likely to require significant janitorial duty - time spent cleaning, stocking, and doing laundry. This just comes with the territory.
 

equitate

Oklahoma State C/O 2016!
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Feb 5, 2009
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I agree with the others who said to make sure you get a clear idea of the duties you would be performing at both clinics! Otherwise, you could really be disappointed - so best to know beforehand :) I'd also suggest you ask if you can do a working interview at both places to see which you like better and what seems like a good fit for you. Good luck!