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Honoring Veterinary Technicians: History of the Profession

Honoring Veterinary Technicians: History of the Profession

During National Veterinary Technician Week, we honor all the selfless veterinary technicians and assistants who are often the lifeblood of a clinic as they provide care, make sure things run efficiently, and are key to helping veterinarians improve the quality of life of patients. 

Today, the fastest-growing profession in veterinary medicine is veterinary technician. It's come a long way since its start in 1908, and boy, are we grateful for them. 


Veterinary technicians wear so many hats and pay close attention to almost every aspect of a clinic to make sure nothing (and no one) falls through the cracks. This is true here at Viticus Group (two of our stellar technicians are pictured above), and the veterinarians we work with light up when they talk about how much they value their veterinary technicians. 


In honor of National Veterinary Technician Week, here's a brief history of the profession.

History of the Veterinary Technician Profession

  • In 1908, the first organized effort to train veterinary assistants came from the Canine Nurses Institute in England.
  • Fifty-two years later, the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) instituted certification for three different levels of animal technicians working at research institutions.
  • In the 1960s, the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the US Army, Ralston Purina, and the State University of New York (SUNY) established training programs for animal technicians.
  • In 1967, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) began the process of establishing criteria for acceptable animal technician training programs.
  • In 1972, the first accreditation procedures for animal technician programs were instituted under a standing committee of the American Veterinary Medical Association. However, it wasn't until 1989 that the AVMA officially adopted the term "veterinary technician."
  • In 1973, Michigan State University and Nebraska Technical colleges were the first animal technician educational programs to receive accreditation by the AVMA. There are now 172 accredited veterinary technician education programs, with 21 offering four-year degrees and nine offering distance-learning options. 
  • In 1981, the North American Veterinary Technician Association was formed to represent all veterinary technicians. The name has since changed to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), an organization that works closely with AVMA to protect, support, and promote the profession of veterinary technology. It's also responsible for the development and accreditation of veterinary technician specialties.

Technicians today advance their careers by getting involved in regional and national organized medicine, specializing in areas they're passionate about, and supporting each other through mental health concerns like compassion fatigue and burnout


With the support of the veterinary community, veterinary technicians are constantly gaining new heights and reaching their potential as caregivers, team members, and valued professionals. 

Thank you, vet techs!


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