PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital employs predictably more credentialed veterinary technicians than any other business in eastern Washington but acknowledges the techs are among the toughest employees to hire.
Currently, there is a strong demand for graduates from accredited veterinary technology programs. The most recent survey done by the American Veterinary Medical Association showed there are approximately eight job openings for every one graduate from a veterinary technician program. The trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
“High quality certified veterinary technicians are tough to find,” said Harmon Rogers, director of the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. “The reasons for this include an abundance of job offers, retention incentives, and the fact that the job attracts very bright people many of whom move on to even more responsible jobs or professions because of their character. We remain in almost a constant recruitment cycle for good technicians.”
In the last four years, the WSU veterinary hospital has lost at least two of its certified technicians when they applied to veterinary college and were accepted. The college employs 23 certified veterinary technicians in the teaching hospital alone.
Veterinary technicians work closely with veterinarians and other members of the veterinary team to care for animals by serving in a nursing role; administering medications, assisting in surgery, taking radiographs, inducing and monitoring anesthesia, managing animal hospitals, and performing crucial laboratory duties. Veterinary technicians are also employed in biomedical research, military service, sales, industry, and education.
Many veterinary technicians at WSU are vital to the instructional role of veterinary college’s 103-year history of training veterinarians. “Our veterinary technicians are a key part of our success in teaching the next generation of veterinarians, service to the animal owning public; and research into diseases and injuries that afflict both animals and humans,” said Rick DeBowes, chair of the WSU Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. “Without the dedicated core of veterinary technicians we have working alongside our faculty, staff and students, we’d be a wheel out of balance and far less effective at delivering quality care as well as a world class education.”
There are two veterinary technician training programs offered in Washington leading to certification. One is based at Pierce College in Puyallup [ www.pierce.ctc.edu/proftech/other/veterinary.htm] while the other is based in Yakima Valley Community College in Yakima [www.yvcc.cc.wa.us/programsofstudy/pace/veterinary.html].