Becoming an RVT: My Unique Journey

The path to becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) is an exciting and rewarding journey. This summer, I will be writing the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) so that I can become an official RVT here at Fairview Animal Hospital. In this blog, I would like to introduce myself as a new employee while explaining the steps I took, from university to where I am today.

Biology Degree to Veterinary Technology

I started my post-secondary education at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS. I began a biology degree, not knowing entirely what I wanted as a career. I only knew I wanted it to involve animals. During the summer following my third year at St. FX, I was hired to work in the biology department conducting research. I studied fish behaviour with respect to their reproductive cycles, and I got to spend a lot of my days in the animal care facility. I also started volunteering at the Antigonish SPCA. It was at the point that I realized I wanted to turn my love for animals into a career in veterinary medicine. After doing some research, I found a perfect fit – a veterinary technician.

I applied for the Veterinary Technology program at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus (Dal AC) in Truro and was accepted during the spring of the final year of my degree at St. FX. I spent one more summer researching the same species of fish and achieved co-authorship on an article published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. The fall of the same year, I began my two-year program at the Dal AC.

During the program, I learned so much in both classroom and hands-on environments. There is a veterinary clinic on-site where Veterinary Technology students assist in caring for animals at all stages of spay and neuter procedures. I spent a lot of time in the lab analyzing urine, fecal, and blood samples along with many cytology samples. I also gained experience with large animals by milking cows, performing blood draws and injections on animals such as sheep, cows, and horses. I learned first-hand how to restrain large animals, and much more. The support from instructors and classmates alike made the program even more enjoyable.

I am grateful that I studied biology prior to beginning the Veterinary Technology program. Although post-secondary education is not a prerequisite, I could apply the knowledge I obtained during my time at St. FX to areas such as microscope use, calculations, anatomy and physiology, and even how to efficiently study. With the knowledge gained from my first year in the program, I went on to fulfill my summer externship requirements in PEI at Kensington Veterinary Clinic. For one month, I shadowed Veterinary Technicians and Veterinary students at the Atlantic Veterinary College. I returned to the Dal AC to finish my second and final year and was thrilled to be hired at Fairview Animal Hospital to start this past April.

What the RVT Status Means to Me

Becoming an RVT means so much to me. It is very fulfilling to be able to make a positive impact on both the lives of animals and clients every day. I love that my career has such a strong purpose, and there is so much compassion that I can share with my patients. I encourage anyone with a love for animals, a sense of empathy for them, and an interest in the science of veterinary medicine to consider this career path for themselves.

If you are interested in working in the veterinary field and have any questions about the process, give us a call at 902-443-9385.

Written by: Ellen Doohan, RVT