Veterinary nurses and technicians in Canada and future registered veterinary technicians/technologists (RVT) can find employment in different areas, such as private practices, research laboratories, zoos, the government, meat and dairy industry and wildlife rehabilitation.
After getting employed, registered vet technicians work under veterinarian supervision and use their practical and theoretical skills to implement gold standard veterinary care in the everyday activities. These activities depending of field of employment include: processing and obtaining radiographs and ultrasound, administration of medications and providing treatment prescribed by a vet, anesthetic delivery, anesthetic monitoring, surgical preparation and assistance, practice administration, hospital management and client relations, emergency and first aid, exotic animal medicine, microbiology and immunology, public education, laboratory work etc.
The approximate number of veterinary technicians in Canada is 13.000. In 2016 the full-time average hourly wage for vet technicians in Canada was $25.65. The corresponding annual average wage is approximately $50.000.
Of course, the wage is highly dependent on location. According to the statistics, veterinary technicians working in the province of Alberta earn the highest hourly median – $21.50 and the lowest incomes are noted in Brunswick – $14.42 per hour. The best possible vet tech position can earn you up to $42 in Toronto, Ontario but that’s a rarity, as the average hourly median in the province is around $17.
The majority of RVTs in Canada work full-time. The estimated percentage is around 83% of the workers which is by 2% higher of the national average for all occupations in Canada. The National Household Survey conducted in 2011 stated that the 92% of all veterinary technicians in Canada are women while the national average of women working is 48%.
In general, the prospects of employment for vet techs in Canada are really good and many overseas professionals try out their luck there. There is a constant demand for new and good RVTs on the market of labor. The government is predicting even higher demand in future due to the ever modernizing medical technologies and techniques used.
According to the 2015 survey, the projected annual job openings for RVTs in Canada in various fields is around 5.700, and only 5.600 are able to be filled. Almost 85% of newly employed vet technicians in Canada find a position in scientific, technical and professional services, while the rest are involved in educational services.
Education and legislative
The profession In Canada is referred to as RVT – Registered Veterinary Technician/Technologist. Sometimes veterinary technicians in Canada are referred to as Animal Health Technicians. Whether the title technician or technologist will be used is dependent on the province of registration. Most of the provinces require for the individuals to have passed the VTNE (Veterinary Technicians National Examination) in order to get registered. Few provinces lacking formal legislation or by-laws for vet techs make it possible for vet techs without the credential RVT to perform the same tasks.
In order to get registered and become an RVT, each individual has to graduate from a vet tech program that is accredited by the OAVT (Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians) or by the CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medical Association). These programs include two or three years of college education. There are 19 higher education institutions in Canada that offer a program accredited by CVMA and 11 accredited by the OAVT.
The same thing goes for overseas technician qualifications. Most provinces and their veterinary medical boards, in that case, will require a positive score on the VTNE. Others will only recognize graduation qualification from AVMA/CVMA accredited programs.
Continuing education regarding vet tech specialties is possible and highly encouraged. The specialties are the same as the ones in the USA and you can read more about them in the article about Veterinary Technician Specialties.
The official representative organization for veterinary technicians in Canada is the RVTTC – The Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada. The organization is a non-profit type that works by uniting all regional and provincial vet tech associations.
The organization was initially formed back in 1989 under the name CAAHTT – Canadian Association of animal Technologists and Technicians. Like many other similar vet technicians organization, the primary goals were achieving fair promotion of the veterinary technician profession, making a solid foundation for national membership standards and maintaining them, and turning into the ultimate source for all national and international issues in the field.
For the 26 years of existence, the RVTTC has managed to unite 6 regional and provincial vet technician/technologists associations. Currently, the organization has more than 7.000 RVT members under its umbrella.
These associated provincial veterinary technician associations include:
- British Columbia Technologist Association (BCVTA)
- Alberta Veterinary Technologists Association (ABVTA)
- Saskatchewan Association of Veterinary Technologists (SAVT)
- Manitoba Veterinary Technologists Association (MVTA)
- Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT)
- Eastern Veterinary Technician Association (EVTA)
Registration to the Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada is included if you have a professional Registered Veterinary Technician/Technologist membership to any of the above-mentioned organizations.
The membership offers certain benefits for its members. First of all, every member can have a direct contact and voice to influence some important issues than strive towards the improvement of the veterinary technician profession in Canada. International veterinary associations, collaborations, and activities are also part of the package.
On the more personal side, the members may enjoy discount rates on many types of insurances such as life insurance, long-term disability insurance, dental care insurance, critical illness insurance as well as home insurance, flood insurance, auto insurance, and recreational vehicle insurance.
Getting a position as a veterinary technician in Canada won’t be a problem as long as you fulfill all the required legislation. There are a lot of good opened positions that pay well where you can pursue your dream career.