With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 30 percent increase in veterinary technologist and technicians jobs between 2012 and 2022, it is no surprise that it is a career field that prospective students are considering. Students in a vet tech degree program can learn a variety of skills that are important to the career field.
Some colleges offer opportunities for students to work with instructors who have been previously employed as vet techs or veterinarians. As part of a vet tech program curriculum, students may assist in surgical operations under the supervision of a veterinarian. The real-world experiences that students can learn as part of a vet tech degree program make go beyond the clinical skills, focusing on customer service and other soft skills that are important to the job.
Vet tech students learn about animal research, wildlife rescue and much more. Here are four things all vet techs should do while enrolled in college.
1. Gain relevant experience
With the hands-on approach that vet tech programs can offer, the experiences you have can be strong resume builders. In some vet tech degree programs, students complete internships or externships, often at clinics, rescue organizations or other animal care facilities. Some colleges also offer applied or service learning projects, aimed at applying the skills you have learned in the classroom in the local community.
It can be a good idea to go above and beyond what is expected as part of your program curriculum. Consider volunteering with a local animal rescue or other animal care organization. Volunteer work can be seen as strong experience on a resume.
2. Network, network, network
Chances are you are enrolled in a vet tech program because you want to become employed. As you have probably heard many times before, networking is an important part of finding and securing employment. While enrolled in a vet tech degree program, you increase the likelihood that you will meet people who have previously or who are currently working in the field.
Share your career goals with instructors, college staff, fellow students and the leaders you work with at internships, externships, volunteer opportunities, etc. You never know when someone you are connected with will consider recommending you for an open position.
3. Treat school like the “real deal”
While enrolled in a vet tech program, treat every day as though it is a day on the job. In most cases, a college has a vet tech area that features surgical suites, labs and classrooms dedicated to the program, making it easier to feel as though you are in a true clinic setting.
While interacting with instructors, fellow students or others at school, treat them as though you would pet owner or other clients you would interact with on the job. Practicing both clinical and communication skills will better equip you for an actual vet tech position.
4. Regularly meet with career services
The career services team members at a college are not only a great resource for assisting you in identify available vet tech positions, but they can also help you find internship or volunteer opportunities while in college. The career services team members at a college often meet with potential employers and have relationships with local recruiters.
The career services team can also help you with resume and cover letter creation, as well as interviewing skills. Some career services teams offer group workshops in addition to one on one meetings.
While every vet tech student’s college experience will vary, these four items can be included on any vet tech student’s to-do list!