Originally posted by colleen10
Where's VetTech when you need her?
Lets start with the basics -
Almost every state has a licensure program for veterinary technicians, although the names vary. CVT (Cetrified Veterinary Technician) and RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician) seem to be the most common. They are the veterinary equivalent to an ADN. In Texas, were developing a Veterinary LPN type of licensure as well.
I'm not 100% clear on the laws outside of Texas but I know the following is fact - no state REQUIRES techs be certified. For the most part, one gets certified mostly for the training and the marketability. The docs out there are finally getting used to having trained techs and thus, are allowing us to really spread our wings. Most of the new grad vets have worked with RVTs in vet school and are increasingly demanding them in their practices. At my practice, of 10 techs and 4 tech assistants, I'm the only one with any formal schooling.
That said, as Nurs2b just said, think long and hard about the career change. I've been doing this just shy of 10 years and make $12/hr is all and I'm working for a speciualty practice in a major metro area. Most techs at "day practices" (regular vets - think General Practitioner) don't make what I make.
Now, about your statement that you want to do this because you "love animals" - bad. Most I've known who said that was why they picked veterinary medicine didn't last long. We have to inflict a lot of pain on our pts, more than RNs IMHO. We also see a LOT of death.
You have to do it for the love of the patients, yes, but also for the love of the JOB. I don't want to spark the debate again but I am a nurse. I am a caregiver with a highly refined set of skills. One of the most important of which is the ability to separate myself from the case and "just do it".
In many ways, its a lot like working with children - they're scared, they're crying, they can't tell you what's hurting and they don't understand why you have to cause them pain to heal them.
Last thing, about working emergency. Techs generally don't start working emergency as their first job. Most ECs (Emergency Clinics) need you to be able to at minimum: be able to run a code (CPR, know your emergency drugs, etc), shoot rads, draw blood, place a cath (even on a shocky kitten), intubate and know your way around a lab, and properly restrain. Few EC's are willing to train, in my experience.
I'm not trying to talk you out of changing to veterinary medicine, just making sure you're going in with your eyes open.
Feel free to PM me and we can discuss this further if you like.
Incidentally, I'm with Nurs2B - I'm only changing because of the crappy salary. I'm within sight of a glass ceiling that will force me to stay where I am or sit in the management chair. I love my career and I'm not sure I'll enjoy human medicine as much as veterinary but, IMHO, nursing is nursing - doesn't matter what the species. Its time I actually made some money passing catheters, cleaning emesis, and all the other fun (and not so fun) tasks all nurses have to perform.
BTW, Colleen10, you nailed it - I'm an ADN student who has my RVT and have been at this for 10 years.