All too often, we hear of credentialed veterinary technicians getting into a rut or burning out. Unfortunately, some people
simply give up on the field out of boredom or lack of movement. The good news is, there are multiple ways to grow your career
as a technician. Consider these options:
1. Pursue a specialty.
There are 11 different veterinary technician specialties. They include:
> internal medicine (with subcategories of small animal, cardiology, neurology, large animal, and oncology)
> emergency and critical care
> clinical practice
> equine nursing
> and zoology.
Most of the specialties require the equivalent of working full time for three to five years, with 75 percent of your time
spent in the area. There are usually case reports, CE requirements, case logs, and skill lists to acquire. Lastly, you're
often required to take an examination after applying.
2. Become a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP).
You can pursue CVPP certification through the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. The requirements include
90 hours of continuing education related to pain, a skill list, two case reports, letters of reference, and photos of your
pain management-related equipment and medications. After this, you will complete an examination to gain certification.
3. Become a Canine Massage Therapist (CMT) or an Equine Sports Massage Therapist (ESMT).
These programs usually consist of continuing education courses, tests, and proof of hands-on experience either through video
tape, on-site classes, or wet labs. This can be a wonderful addition to any general practice, as massage can be beneficial
to many of our patients, even if just as a relaxation tool, and it can contribute to your practice's income.
4. Volunteer your services abroad.
There are many opportunities to volunteer abroad and help animals as a veterinary technician. This experience can be rewarding,
and you may even make some lifelong friends along the way. Some good places to check out include Vet Nurses in the Wild and
5. Become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM).
Many credentialed technicians find a niche in administrative positions, such as hospital management. The requirements include
three years in hospital management, 18 college credit hours related to management, 48 CE hours related to management, four
letters of recommendation, and a skill list with designated points achieved and signed by your employer. To complete certification,
you will also take an exam.
6. Pursue writing opportunities.
Many well-respected veterinary journals and magazines look for authors who are credentialed veterinary technicians. Some even
pay honoraria, which can be a nice bit of cash to earn on the side. There's also a market for credentialed technicians to
write textbooks for veterinary and veterinary technician students. Brainstorm ideas you feel well versed on.
7. Become a board member of your state technician association or NAVTA.
It can be rewarding to help your profession flourish as a board member on your state board. You can network as well as work
on projects to better your profession.
8. Pursue another area of practice.
For some technicians, their niche is general practice, and they couldn't imagine doing anything else. But if you feel burned
out, consider a change of direction—pharmaceutical sales or technical support for reference labs and food companies as well
as working at a teaching hospital, zoo, or specialty practice.