What It takes to Become a Veterinary Nurse and What You Can Expect from the Career Path
When people think of the nursing profession, they automatically conjure up the image of a fast-paced, demanding emergency room setting where nurses are scrambling to provide care for dozens of patients at a time. While working with people in this type f setting is a common scenario for a nurse, people don’t often consider the other types of nurses you can find in the general nursing profession. Did you realize that there is an abundance of opportunities emerging in the veterinary nursing profession as well? Nurses are not just limited to attending to the needs of humans; they are also an integral part of the medical care provided for animals. If you are interested in learning about what it takes to become a successful veterinary nurse, take a look at the answers below to some of the most frequently asked about the veterinary nursing profession.
What does a veterinary nurse do?
If you are drawn to the idea of helping sick animals back to health, the veterinary nursing profession is a good match for you. Veterinary nurses provide medical care for sick animals in veterinary offices, clinics, or emergency animal hospitals. In addition to caring for sick animals, veterinary nurses are largely responsible for communicating with the owners of sick animals about health issues, preventative care, and other medical issues pertaining to the animal in question. This frequent interaction with humans means that a veterinary nurse not only has to be good with animals, but must also possess excellent people skills.
Veterinary nurses have a lot of responsibilities and perform a wide range of duties in a veterinarian’s office, including the administration of diagnostic tests, medical treatments, and even assisting with minor surgical procedures. As you can see, a career in veterinary nursing offers many opportunities for a demanding, yet rewarding career.
What qualifications are required to become a veterinary nurse?
Generally speaking, there are two primary educational paths you can take in order to become a veterinary nurse. You can either take the route of vocational training and earn a diploma from an approved school or you can enter a four year degree program for veterinary nursing. While both paths will open you up to a world of job opportunities available in the veterinary nursing profession, a four year degree is much more desirable and will immediately place you on a higher pay scale right out of college. Regardless of which educational path you choose, everyone who wants to be a veterinary nurse must pass a certification test to earn an official license to practice veterinary nursing. Passing this test will obviously determine whether or not you can pursue a career in veterinary nursing, but in order to pass, you must set yourself up with the best possible veterinary nursing education.
Depending on the type of veterinary setting you want to work in, the educational requirements may vary. Before committing to a four year degree program, it is a good idea to narrow down your options so you know exactly how to best prepare yourself for a career in the veterinary nursing profession. If the path you are interested in does not require a four year degree, then you might be better off receiving the technical training through a 2-year certification program. The vocational program is also a great option if you don’t have the means to afford a traditional four year education.
What can you expect to earn as a veterinary nurse?
Like many other professions within the medical field, the average salary of a veterinary nurse will depend heavily on the regional location and type of office setting you select. Because there are so many determining factors that decide how much a veterinary nurse will earn, the average salary range in the United States is quite broad. A veterinary nurse working in the United States can expect to earn a yearly salary between $22,820 and $33,454, or $10.63 to $15.35 an hour. Your annual salary as a veterinary nurse will increase the longer you remain in the profession. In this specialized field, veterinary nurses who have many years of actual work experience are far more valuable than someone just entering the profession. Since the job requirements of a veterinary nurse can often involve high stress situations that require you to think on your feet, employers look for veterinary nurses who have had many experiences in the trenches, so to speak.
How positive is the job growth outlook for a veterinary nurse?
Despite an economy that continues to be sluggish, the outlook for veterinary nurses is very positive. Employment of veterinary nurses is expected to grow by 38% between now and 2018. Whereas a lot of industries have temporary put a hold on new hires, the veterinary nursing industry continues to thrive. This is because more and more people are becoming pet owners and require the services of a veterinarian. As the amount of money spent by consumers in the entire pet industry continues to grow exponentially, veterinary nurses will continue to enjoy a high degree of job security.
This stability and growth makes the veterinary nursing profession very attractive for anyone who is searching for a rewarding career with long-term potential. What the veterinary nursing profession lacks in salary amount, it definitely makes up for in job stability and opportunities for advancement.
Veterinary nurses are an invaluable part of any veterinary office. You can be certain that a career in veterinary nursing will afford you an exciting career with new experiences and challenges every single day. In order to get the most out of a career in veterinary nursing, you must possess a thirst for knowledge and information. The more you know about your job and the demands of the veterinary nursing position, the more attractive you will be to employers seeking seasoned veterinary nurses. If you remain in the profession long enough, you will most likely find yourself in a leadership role within the veterinary nursing profession, which will give you the opportunity to teach incoming veterinary nurses all about the profession.
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