Veterinary Technicians: A Misunderstood Role


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NAVC advocacy campaign seeks to inform pet owners of the critical role veterinary technicians play in the clinic.

According to a North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) survey of U.S. pet owners, nearly half (47%) did not know that the role of the credentialed veterinary nurse/technician includes performing medical tasks and procedures. The overwhelming majority, 73%, had the misunderstanding that their role was cleaning cages, removing animal waste, feeding or grooming pets – tasks generally performed by less experienced and non-credentialed staff. Sixty-three percent of pet owners do not know that credentialed veterinary nurses/technicians are the animal healthcare equivalent of registered nurses.

In October, the NAVC, with support from VCA Animal Hospitals (VCA), announced the launch of an international marketing campaign to raise awareness of and support for the critical, life-saving role veterinary nurses and technicians play in veterinary practices and in the overall healthcare of animals. This first-of-its-kind campaign delivered educational and engaging materials to veterinary practices worldwide reaching thousands of pet owners with the goal of changing perceptions of veterinary nurses and technicians and fully utilizing their skills and education. “Trust Your Vet Tech” kicked off the week of October 16 in support of National Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week and builds on the NAVC’s Veterinary Nurse/Technician Empowerment Campaign launched in 2021 to elevate and advance the role of veterinary nurses and technicians across the veterinary profession.

Leveraging VCA Animal Hospitals national network of more than 1,000 veterinary hospitals and the NAVC’s global network of 600,000 veterinary professionals, the “Trust Your Veterinary Technician” marketing campaign focused on providing facts about the role and education of veterinary nurses and technicians including “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Veterinary Technician:”

  • Veterinary nurses/technicians have an essential role in delivering care to pets, from assisting in surgeries to performing advanced procedures. They conduct medical tests, take tissue and blood samples, administer anesthesia, assist with surgeries and post-surgical monitoring, pain management, long-term chronic illness treatments, provide intensive care nursing and monitoring, and work with pet owners among other duties.
  • Showing compassion isn’t the only thing veterinary technicians are good at – they are credentialed and formally trained to provide expert care for pets.
  • Credentialed veterinary nurses/technicians are highly educated; they must have advanced training and complete a national exam to become certified.
  • Credentialed veterinary nurses/technicians must pass rigorous exams such as the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). They often graduate from an AVMA-accredited AS or BS program. Once credentialed, veterinary nurses/technicians also complete ongoing continuing education requirements (CE).
  • To obtain the Veterinary Technician Specialist designation (VTS), applicants must devote a minimum of three years to one of 16 clinical areas of intense focus (emergency and critical care, anesthesia and analgesia, rehabilitation, dentistry, nutrition, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology, among others) before becoming a candidate. This process also involves case logging, skills verification and a rigorous exam. The VTS must undergo board recertification every five years.


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