Do you want my opinion? Well, clearly yes because you’ve read this far. My answer is no. Read on for my reasoning.
I will try to keep this short since I’m sure I could write a book on why I don’t think non-licensed “vet techs” should not be referred to as veterinary technicians in the practice. What this all comes down to is trying to find the best way to differentiate roles in the practice based on training, education, and credentials. A hot topic in veterinary medicine today is changing the title “veterinary technician” to “veterinary nurse.” As you can imagine there is much debate over this change. What I am in favor of is choosing neither technician nor nurse, but rather agreeing to a single, uniformed credential for licensed technicians across the country, be that nurse, technician, etc. Frankly, I think it’s silly to have several different credentials for the same training depending on which state in which you practice (i.e. licensed vs registered vs certified veterinary technician).
Now back to the original question. Individuals that spent the time, energy and money to gain advanced training in veterinary technology should be rewarded by being differentiated from practice staff that does not have that same training. In many practices, a licensed technician who has graduated from a vet tech program is held in similar regard to a staff member who has not completed a vet tech program but performs similar duties. It’s become increasingly common for practices to hire unlicensed staff, train them in a technician role, and refer to them as a technician. Imagine how formerly trained technicians feel about that! From a veterinarian point-of-view, imagine a technician who has worked decades in the industry being referred to as a veterinarian because they know just enough to perform common duties of a veterinarian. They have more experience in our industry than a new graduate veterinarian, after all. This would never happen! We need to give those individuals who have achieved degrees in veterinary technology the respect they deserve.
Some say titles in the workplace don’t matter. I say they sure do, or else no one would use titles. That doesn’t mean that veterinarians are better than technicians or kennel staff or vice versa. Titles are simply an effective way to differentiate roles in the workplace. We should value and take advantage of the training individuals receive in our profession. Is there a place in the practice for non-licensed assistants? Absolutely, yes! There’s a place for everyone! But responsibilities based on training and professional licensing should always be respected, too.
My two cents. What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree? Comment below!