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5 Non-Traditional Roles for Veterinary Technicians

3 min read
FYI: This article is part of the veterinary culture manifesto — a set of guiding principles to create better culture in vet med.
Read & sign the veterinary culture manifesto here.
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“Veterinary medicine is in a point of crisis.” We hear this everywhere. 

Staff is burnt out, suffering from compassion fatigue, and leaving the industry. Veterinary professionals are leaving an industry they love and worked so hard to be a part of. 

Does it have to be this way?

No one joins vet med lightly. Whether you knew from childhood that you wanted to work with animals or found that love later in life (me!), we spend years learning, both in education and ‘on the job,’ to be the best we can be. 

It feels like a huge shame that the industry is losing such a massive amount of talented people due to changeable issues.

So, what do you do if you love Vet Med but realize that clinical practice isn’t for you? 

Many vet students are educated in the various options available out of the clinic. However, for my vet tech friends, do you know what options are available to you?

Many of you may be surprised to hear that there is a huge world of options for Licensed Veterinary Technicians to make a difference without staying in a clinic setting. 

You spent all that time educating yourself to provide the best care for animals, and I’m sure many of you still love that part of your career. But did you know there are other ways you can still do that?

5 non-traditional roles for vet techs to consider:

1. Teaching

Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge with others? 

Is one of your favorite parts of your job teaching the new assistants and “baby techs” how things work at your clinic? 

Are you the hospital's go-to person for training questions?

Then a career in teaching the future of our industry may be for you!

Many vet schools and technician programs utilize licensed techs in their teaching programs. And many of those schools have Animal Science educational tracks in their high school and college options. Using people who know the industry first hand reaps so many benefits for their students.

Since 2020, many of these positions have become virtual, work from home, or allow part-time hours, so your schedule can be fairly flexible.

Not sure where to start looking for a career in teaching? 

Do a quick google search of your local vet schools, tech schools, and career colleges' career pages.

2. In Industry

Is there a particular aspect of your day-to-day work that you tend to gravitate towards?

Love talking to clients about how their medications work? Nutrition? 

Love reviewing radiology reports or lab work? 

All the companies that provide your hospital with your food, equipment, drugs, etc., often have many positions available for techs. 

“But aren't they always in Sales?” Actually, no! Companies will generally hire trained salespeople for those roles. 

The use of vet techs in these companies can vary in many ways. From a career coordinating events and conferences, educating teams on their products, and even researching and developing products and services that will change pets’ lives.

Not sure where to start looking for a career in the industry? 

Career pages for these companies are an excellent way to start; however, if you don’t see anything specific in your area, reach out to your hospital's rep for that product.

3. Animal Control

Want to continue working with animals and also help your local community? 

Animal Control officers (ACOs) are a vital part of community support, and they do a lot more than picking up stray animals. ACOs often work alongside city shelters and leaders to help provide education and support to their community regarding domestic pets and community wildlife. 

Vet techs can provide an additional breadth of knowledge to this role, along with vital medical understanding when dealing with animals in distress. This is a role where you can often get a taste of the role before you start looking, as many Animal Control teams can offer the option to ride along with them for a few hours, to see how they work.

Not sure where to start looking for a career in Animal Control? 

In most cases, ACOs are hired as city workers, so check out the career pages of your local civic center or local municipal shelter.

4. Writing

Love writing procedures and protocols for your clinic? Are you reading this blog post and thinking, “I could do that!”

With the boom in pet ownership and people wanting to educate themselves more on how to best look after their pets, there are so many reputable blogs, services, and magazines looking for content from vet professionals. (Hello, The Dig!)

Employers are looking for content, from basic animal care to specialist subjects. And, having a vet professional voice behind them can add a huge level of authenticity.

Not sure where to start looking for a career in writing?

Reach out to those blogs or services and introduce yourself! If you have some work put together already, share some samples.

5. At-Home Services (or Relief Work)

Maybe you're not quite ready to leave clinical practice altogether.

Have you considered the life of a relief tech or even setting up your own business providing at-home services for pet owners?

In many states, the legality in the vet tech license allows vet techs to provide basic care at home for owners, including things like administering medications (and teaching owners how to do this), nutritional consultations, sample collection, grooming services, etc. 

There are also a growing number of relief services hiring vet techs to help provide additional coverage for clinics in need. You get control over your schedule for both of these options and get to interact with new clinics and pet owners in a new way.

(Teaching At-Home Dental Care)

Not sure where to start looking for a career in relief or at-home services? 

Firstly, for at-home service, check if this is covered in your state's license for RVTs (or CVT/LVTs), and then some work will need to go into setting up a business license, etc. Many excellent services can help you set this up. For relief work, check out services like Relief Rover or Roo.

You have options!

Clinical practice isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean that you have to leave an industry you love. ❤

These are just some of the many options available for technicians; follow along with me on my Instagram (@lucylupoprvt), as I share many more options available, and talk with technicians in those roles about how their day to day looks and how they go into those roles. 

Still want at least a part-time role in clinical practice? Sign up for hound and let employers apply to *you*