National Veterinary Technician Week

Vet Techs - The Hardworking Heroes of Veterinary Life

Vet Techs At Work
Vet Techs At Work. Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM

National Veterinary Technician Week History

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) declared the third week of October to be National Veterinary Technician Week in 1993.

Each year a corporate sponsor assists NAVTA in getting the message out via veterinary and social media channels, working at the local, state, and national levels. 

What is NAVTA?

NAVTA is a professional organization for members of the veterinary technician profession.

 Here is a brief history of the organization, from the NAVTA Vet Tech Week 2014 press release:

NAVTA is a nonprofit organization that represents and promotes the veterinary technician profession. NAVTA provides direction, education, support and coordination for its members. Incorporated in 1981, NAVTA is the national organization devoted exclusively to developing and enhancing the profession of veterinary technology.

Related: NAVTA History 1980 - current

Purpose of Vet Tech Week

The purpose of national Vet Tech Week is to raise awareness of the vet tech profession. This is accomplished by the following means:

  • Educate the public on the important work that veterinary technicians do.
  • Promote the work and value of veterinary technicians to veterinarians, other veterinary professionals, and the public.
  • Recognize veterinary techs who are team members at their workplace and in their profession.

Typical Day For A Vet Tech

A typical day is that there is no "typical day" for veterinary technicians.

Duties vary depending on the day, the type of veterinary practice, and the skill level and job experience of each tech.

Here are some of the common duties performed by veterinary technicians in private practice. 

  • Greet clients and pets for an appointment or for drop off for surgery, other procedure, or boarding.
  • Weigh each pet, take a history, body temperature, and other vital signs for the veterinarian.
  • Assist the veterinarian in the exam room, treatment area, and surgery.
  • Assist the front desk staff with pet records, doctor's requests and instructions for clients.
  • Draw blood, do in-house lab tests, read microscope slides, perform fecal tests, prepare blood work and tissue samples to send to outside laboratories.
  • Educate clients about the procedures, medications, diets recommended by the veterinarian.
  • Administer and monitor sedation and anesthesia. (Only under direct supervision of veterinarian) for patients.
  • Take dental radiographs (x-rays) and perform dental cleanings on pets. (Only under direct supervision of veterinarian)
  • Take other radiographs - limbs, abdomen, spine, bladder, intestinal tract, whole body - as ordered by the veterinarian.
  • Count out pills and prepare all other medications - ointments, ear and eye cleansers, deworming powders, etc. - as directed.
  • Clean kennels, cages, and treatment areas of the daily blood, urine, saliva, fecal matter, anal sac secretion, pus, vomit and other messes that are part of everyday veterinary life.

Vet Tech Careers

Some veterinary technicians receive-on-the job training, some go to school to earn a degree in veterinary technology.

Applicants can then take certification tests to become licensed in this field.

From the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association):

In general, veterinary technicians obtain 2-4 years of post-high school education and have an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in veterinary technology.

They must pass a credentialing examination and keep up-to-date with continuing education to be considered licensed/registered/certified (the term used varies by state) veterinary technicians.

All veterinary technicians work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. While a veterinary technician can assist in performing a wide variety of tasks, they cannot diagnose, prescribe, perform surgery, or engage in any activity prohibited by a state's veterinary practice act.

Read more from the AVMA: Veterinary Technicians and Veterinary Assistants

Recognizing Vet Techs

How do you recognize and celebrate the vet tech(s) in your life?

Here are some ideas, for Vet Tech Week and all year:

  • A handwritten or photo card
  • Gift cards - coffee, lunch, pet supplies, books
  • Shareable treats for the clinic break room
  • Sponsorship for professional dues or to attend a veterinary conference

Learn more about veterinary technology as a career:

 Veterinary Careers - Vet Tech