We hear from people all the time who are interested in veterinary medicine as a career. We think that's awesome and are always happy to answer questions from people interested in our jobs.
There are several jobs available in veterinary medicine. This is a list of the roles we have here at Kalamazoo Animal Hospital. It's by no means a comprehensive list of everything available in the field, but we wanted to write about what we know best (plus, hopefully it will give you a little insight into what each team member does here!).
Veterinarian: Of course, everyone knows this one! These are the doctors of the animal world. They are responsible for everything a human doctor does for people... diagnosing, prescribing medications, performing surgery, and so much more. In the U.S., veterinarians must complete 2-4 years of undergraduate studies before applying to veterinary school. Veterinary school take 4 years to complete. Upon graduation, some veterinarians go on to internships or residencies while some go right into practice. Almost all veterinarians that graduate in the U.S. hold the degree of DVM - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (a few hold the degree of VMD - Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris, depending on the school they attended). In Michigan, veterinarians are required to attend continuing education and training throughout their careers to maintain their licenses.
Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT): These staff members are often called the nurses of the veterinary world. In other states, they may be called Certified Veterinary Technicians (CVT) or Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVT), but in all cases, they fulfill a similar role in veterinary medicine. At Kalamazoo Animal Hospital, our LVTs assist with patient care, draw blood, place catheters, give fluids, perform labwork, use the microscope to analyze samples, act as anesthetists for pets undergoing anesthesia, take x-rays, and more. To become an LVT in Michigan, you must be a graduate of a 2-4 year AVMA accredited college program, then pass a national board exam. Just like veterinarians, LVTs are required to participate in continuing education throughout their careers.
Veterinary Assistant: Like LVTs, veterinary assistants fulfill many roles. Some assistants learn on the job while others go to school to become Accredited Veterinary Assistants (AVA). AVAs have graduated from a 1-2 year program that fulfills the requirements set forth by the North American Veterinary Technician Association (NAVTA) and passed a national exam upon graduation. Here, our entry-level veterinary assistants primarily assist with patient care. As they are here longer, they begin to learn almost all the same tasks as an LVT, aside from anesthesia responsibilities and a few other skills.
Receptionist: Our receptionists are the first and last people you'll usually talk to during a visit to Kalamazoo Animal Hospital. They keep everything flowing smoothly throughout the day. Receptionists may double as veterinary assistants or they may be dedicated solely to client care.