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     I am currently a nursing student and I hope to one day specialize in holistic nursing. Even though I canít wait to become a nurse, I have also always been interested in becoming a vet tech. That is why I was thinking of going to vet tech school after I have been a nurse for a year or two. Of course I wouldnít be able to work as a tech full time, but I would love to put the tech skills to good use. In other words I would love to use a degree in veterinary technology to volunteer at feral cat clinics, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and Vets Without Borders in a clinical capacity. I am also very passionate about educating cat owners about their cats environmental needs, and I am aware that some techs that specialize in animal behavior are qualified to do behavior consults; I also believe that, in some instances, these techs are able to help teach behavior classes at the animal shelter.  
     Therefore I was wondering if you think these two jobs could co-exist with each other. I would love to be a RN during the day, and a RVT when I volunteer (or maybe get a part time job at a small animal clinic). It may be hard to juggle all of these responsibilities but I know that I can do it.
     I was also wondering if places like animal shelters would let a person that is not employed as a vet tech still volunteer as one. I am aware that I will need to gain experience in a veterinary clinic/ hospital, however I donít want to work as a full time tech for the rest of my life. So I was basically wondering if I would be able to volunteer as a vet tech even though I donít work as one full time. Thank you so much for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.

I don't see any reason why you can't do exactly what you laid out here. A degree in veterinary technology will certainly help with any position, including volunteering.

Being a vet tech at a shelter isn't going to get you into any position other than one that someone without a degree has, as I have tried it here. The vets in town take turns volunteering their services- so the best you can probably do is help the vet.

Many shelters do employ Vet Techs to run the place or to do euthanasia, but I'm pretty sure you don't want that job!

Getting a degree is one thing, and you are correct, you will need a lot of experience under your belt. Being a vet tech is much harder than being a nurse- at least physically. I am sure that nurses go through the same depressions and burn out that we do from losing our patients.

But we also get bit, scratched, attacked, knocked- down, exposed to radiation, and have a lot more wear and tear on our bodies due to the nature of restraining animals of every size.

Good luck in whatever you decide to pursue. You sound like a very caring individual and I am sure that both human and animal medicine will benefit from you being a part of them.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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