Balancing Work and Study: Tips for Aspiring Vet Techs

OC Veterinary Assistant School - Veterinary Assistant Helping Veterinary Technician Examine Dogs Ear

Embarking on a career as a veterinary technician (vet tech) is a rewarding journey filled with opportunities to impact veterinary care positively. This path requires a delicate balance of rigorous coursework, hands-on clinical experience, and, often, part-time work. For aspiring vet techs, managing the demands of veterinary technology programs while maintaining personal well-being can be challenging. Here, we explore work and study tips to navigate the veterinary profession successfully, highlighting the importance of self-care, efficient time management, and seeking support.

Understanding the Role and Requirements

Vet techs are essential members of the veterinary team, working closely with veterinarians (DVM) to provide comprehensive animal care. The journey begins with a solid educational foundation, typically an associate degree accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), or the completion of an Alternate Route Program, covering various topics, including pharmacology, animal health, and healthcare, ensuring vet techs are well-prepared to assist veterinarians in a range of settings from veterinary practices to animal shelters.

Balancing work and study in such a demanding field requires understanding the long hours and commitment involved. Prospective vet techs should be prepared for intensive coursework and clinical experience, often necessitating part-time jobs or internships to gain hands-on experience.

Strategies for Balancing Work and Study

Time Management and Planning

Effective time management is crucial. Prioritize tasks and use planners or digital tools to keep track of assignments, work schedules, and study times. Allocating specific times for study and work can help ensure that both educational and professional responsibilities are met without sacrificing one for the other.

Seek Hands-On Experience Wisely

Hands-on experience is invaluable, offering insights into the daily workings of a veterinary practice and enhancing job satisfaction. Seek internships or part-time positions in environments that support learning and growth, such as animal shelters or veterinary practices known for mentoring aspiring vet techs. This practical experience is not only beneficial for building skills but also crucial for passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).

Embrace Self-Care and Well-Being

The intensity of vet tech programs and the emotional demands of veterinary care can lead to burnout. Prioritizing self-care is essential for maintaining mental health and well-being. Ensure enough sleep, engage in regular physical activity, and pursue hobbies outside of veterinary medicine. Establishing a healthy work-life balance is key to long-term success and job satisfaction in the veterinary field.

Utilize Resources and Support Systems

Take advantage of resources offered by educational institutions and the AVMA. Join study groups to prepare for challenging subjects like pharmacology and the VTNE. Social media and online forums can also be valuable resources, providing support and advice from peers and experienced veterinary professionals.

Networking within the veterinary community can open doors to mentorship opportunities and career advice. Participating in veterinary technology associations and attending conferences can also enhance professional development and provide insights into future career paths.

Consider Your Educational Path

While an associate degree or an Alternate Route Program is the standard for becoming a vet tech, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology can offer advanced opportunities, including roles in research, veterinary pharmaceutical sales, and hospital management. Investigating all educational options and considering long-term career goals is important for aspiring vet techs.

Stay Informed and Involved

Stay abreast of advancements in veterinary medicine and changes in accreditation or educational requirements by following reputable sources and organizations like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Being informed helps aspiring vet techs make educated decisions about their education and career paths.


Balancing the demands of vet tech school with work and personal life is challenging but achievable with the right strategies and support. By managing time effectively, prioritizing well-being, and seeking hands-on experience judiciously, aspiring vet techs can navigate their educational journey successfully. Remember, the goal is to become a competent, caring veterinary technician who is a valuable asset to any veterinary team, contributing to the health and well-being of animal patients.

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Veterinary Attendant Program

For those just beginning their future in veterinary medicine and have no, or little experience in a clinical setting.

Level 1 Veterinary Assistant

Intended for those who have either finished the Veterinary Attendant Program or have clinical experience.

Level 2 Veterinary Technician

Intended for advanced students who have completed the Level I Class requirements and can pass the Level II Assessment Exam.