Spurred by a growing demand for veterinary technicians in such areas as public health and animal safety, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of job opportunities for these specialists is projected to skyrocket by 30 percent in coming years. Experts say higher-skilled technicians are already replacing assistants at private clinics, laboratories and animal hospitals throughout Los Angeles, where employment prospects are richly supplied.

(Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth White)

(Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth White)

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“In a large metropolitan area such as Los Angeles, a veterinary technician can secure a dynamic career in a wide array of veterinary practices, from general practice clinics, to high-tech specialties and holistic medicine,” said Elizabeth White, a professor and director of the veterinary technology program at Pierce College. “Veterinary technicians can also find rewarding work at an animal shelter, a zoo, sanctuary, research facility, or in sales.”

The veteran educator said her institution is preparing prospective registered veterinary technicians (RVT) for a worthwhile vocation in the field of veterinary medicine.

“Pierce College offers both lecture classes and hands-on laboratories to provide our students with the skills and knowledge they need to become a successful RVT,” White said. “We also have a 400-acre farm with a variety of livestock and horses to give our students a unique experience with animals.”

How has the field grown in recent years?

“Several large, multi-specialty, 24-hour emergency and critical care practices have opened in the L.A. area since 2010. These facilities have a high demand for skilled RVTs.”

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How will this marketplace change by 2022?

“Veterinary medicine will see an emphasis on preventative and palliative medicine, including hospice care.”

What defines an accomplished RVT?

“In addition to demonstrating academic vigor and discipline, an effective veterinary technician must be motivated by a love for animals and a desire to provide compassionate health care to them.”

What is your advice to aspiring RVTs?

“I encourage them to shadow a veterinary technician for a week and find out what it is really like to work in a veterinary practice, and take a general biology class with a lab to make sure they love the medicine as much as they love the animals.”

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Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.