Becoming a Veterinary Technician

Becoming a Veterinary Technician is something I have wanted to do since I was about 12 years old. Now that I have finished school, I can proudly call myself a veterinary technician! Although I am not yet registered, there is still a lot of work that goes into the three years of school before you are eligible to write your licensing exam. I was fortunate enough to get accepted to St. Lawrence College for their Veterinary Technology program — a 3 year long program that includes 5 semesters of classes and 1 semester of placement.

I still remember my first day walking into class terrified as I did not know anyone else in the program or what to expect. My previous college education was in behavioural psychology. Little did I know that the program would make me fall more in love with veterinary medicine.

Before going to school, I had little experience with veterinary medicine other than bringing my dog to the veterinary office for his vaccines and annual exams. During most of my schooling, I worked part-time as a waitress so I felt a little out of place when I found out my classmates had experience working on their families’ farms or through other co-op placements. However, I was determined to finish this program and give it my best shot.

For those unfamiliar with the role of a veterinary technician, it is hard to imagine what is taught in school or how hard the program can be. It is far from cuddling kittens and puppies while studying. It involves long hours and a huge commitment — from the lengthy lecture hours and labs to the weekend animal care shifts. The long hours of study were physically and emotionally exhausting, but well worth it.

Through my schooling, I learned about anatomy and physiology, how to take X-rays and the theory associated with them, proper animal restraints, blood collection techniques and how to run bloodwork, surgical skills, and much more. Needless to say, I was pushed out of my comfort zone and learned new skills.

The summer before my final year of school, I was lucky enough to get a job at Kingston Veterinary Clinic, working at the front desk and as a kennel attendant. I have been able to use what I learned in school to communicate and educate our clients as well as work hands-on with their pets. It has been a great experience and has shown me all the amazing reasons that started me on this journey in the first place. From learning how to administer medications on mice and rats, to learning how to collect blood from cattle, I am thankful for everyone who has helped me achieve my goal.

If you know someone who wants to become a veterinary technician or you yourself are interested, I would highly recommend shadowing someone in the profession and making sure it is the right path for you.

Written by: Miranda Mathieson, RVT