Veterinary Technician Specialties: Do You Have What It Takes?
Veterinary medicine is a science-based field, and that means that every day there is more research being done and new findings happening that change the face of what we do. It has gotten to the point that no one person can be an expert in everything related to veterinary medicine.
In recent decades, veterinarians have trended towards specialization, with board-certified specialists focusing on surgery, oncology, internal medicine, critical care, and other areas of veterinary medicine. The veterinary technician field has followed suit, with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) founding a Committee on Veterinary Technician Specialties in 1994.
An expanding range of veterinary technician specialties are now recognized by NAVTA, allowing deserving candidates to earn their Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) designation in their area of specialized interest. It isn’t a quick or easy task to achieve a specialty though. Do you have what it takes to earn your VTS?
What Veterinary Technical Specialties Exist?
There are currently several veterinary technical specialties recognized by NAVTA. These include:
- Internal medicine
- Emergency and critical care
- Zoological medicine
- Equine nursing
- Clinical practice (canine/feline, exotics, production medicine)
- Clinical pathology
It is highly likely that additional veterinary technician specialties will emerge in the coming years as veterinary specialty medicine continues to expand.
What Does it Take to Earn a VTS?
Veterinary technicians enter the field because they are compassionate, hard-working, dedicated individuals. Earning a certification is no easy task, and adding a Veterinary Technical Specialty to your name takes this commitment one step further.
Each specialty area carries its own set of standards and requirements that must be met in order to earn the specialty title. Basic requirements of each veterinary technical specialty include:
- Graduation from an accredited technician program (some specialties require a four year degree)
- A veterinary technician license
- On-the-job experience (usually at least three to five years)
- Some type of case log that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise in the field
- Passing a certification exam
- Continuing education in your chosen field
Earning a veterinary technician specialty requires plenty of extra time and effort, but it can be worth the effort for those who want to focus on a particular area of medicine, or who want to take their career to the next level.
Veterinary technicians with specialty certifications typically command a higher salary and better job security than those without a specialty. They are also usually more in demand in the workforce as respected experts in their field.
At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we have several Veterinary Technician Specialists (VTS) on staff with disciplines including Anesthesia, Internal Medicine and Emergency and Critical Care. We look forward to more disciplines joining the list of specialties. In fact, our Licensed Veterinary Technicians are actively involved as founding committee members for both the Surgery and Blood Banking specialties. Not only are our technicians VTS credentialed but they are also contributing to the growth of veterinary technician specialties.
While it certainly takes more effort to earn a technical specialty, VTS at OVRS assure us that it can be a very rewarding journey. Many say they experience a greater sense of fulfillment when able to concentrate on a specific field that interests them. Specialization may not be for everyone, but it is definitely an attractive option for technicians looking to grow and develop their careers. As specialty hospitals and practices like OVRS continue to increase, there will be plenty of opportunities for well-trained Veterinary Technician Specialists.