How Vet Techs Can Become Clinical Supervisors

In today’s world, many families consider the provision of high quality veterinary care for their pets to be nearly as important as their own medical care. Due to this, modern veterinary clinics are highly advanced centers, making use of cutting edge technology and experienced veterinary professionals in order to provide the best possible care to America’s beloved companion animals.

Because of this focus on high quality veterinary care, most practices include a number of workers, including veterinarians, vet techs, veterinary aides and clerical and office staff. Larger veterinary practices may include dozens of workers or even more, especially in urban settings or in the livestock or production animal care sector. In this case, high quality supervision is necessary in order to ensure the efficient performance of all the duties of the veterinary practice.

vet tech trainingFor this reason, many clinics have a need for veterinary technicians who can act as managers for the clinic, freeing the veterinarians to continue to provide high quality care for their animal patients.

These vet techs serve a vital role in ensuring that the standards of practice remain high and that any issues are addressed before they can impact the quality of veterinary care or customer service.

The Duties of a Veterinary Clinic Supervisor

A clinic supervisor handles a wide variety of duties within the veterinary clinic. In many cases, these duties will involve supervising fellow veterinary professionals or ensuring that records and other documents are maintained in a safe and secure manner.

The common duties of a veterinary clinic supervisor include the following:

  • Handling the supervision of technicians and other medical staff, such as veterinary aides. This includes evaluating their performance on a regular basis.
  • Helping to develop new policies, communicating those policies to the staff, as well as monitoring and enforcing compliance with all policies and practices.
  • Scheduling staff hours for all workers to insure effective staffing levels. This includes ensuring that there is sufficient staff at all times to handle the practice’s personnel needs.
  • Assist in the training and mentoring of new and continuing staff. This includes setting up mentoring relationships between newly hired staff members and more experienced individuals. In addition, the clinical supervisor will help evaluate the progress of newly hired staff members.
  • In large practices, the clinical supervisor will work with other departments and supervisors to ensure that all veterinary care goals are met.
  • Ensure that the management and veterinarians are kept informed as to any issues that might influence their ability to provide high quality service to the animals under their care.
  • Oversee the cleaning and inventory duties for the department or practice. This includes ensuring that any state or local regulations regarding the storage and disposal of drugs or other equipment are fully complied with.
  • Carry out the duties of a veterinary technician when needed. This may include supervising other vet techs in a team setting.

In addition to these duties, a supervising vet tech must be professional in all of his or her dealings with fellow workers and the public alike. In many cases, the supervisor will represent the clinic to the public, and be required to work to resolve issues that might arise between the practice and its clients. This requires maintaining a calm and professional attitude, even in the face of distraught pet owners or other individuals.

The Qualifications of a Vet Tech Clinical Supervisor

Due to the important role a veterinary clinic supervisor plays, the vet tech must have a number of qualifications, including both academic and practical experience.

While the legal requirements to become a vet tech can vary from state to state, most clinical leadership positions will require the following qualifications.

Certification as a Veterinary Technician

Even in states where certification is not required to practice as a regular vet tech, most supervisory positions will require candidates to be certified as a vet tech, in order to ensure that they are highly qualified to carry out all of their professional responsibilities. Certification involves the following steps:

  • Attend a vet tech program that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Accreditation ensures that the program will be accepted by all state regulatory agencies and private employers.
  • Successfully pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). In most cases, this requires a passing score of at least 425. As a nationally recognized exam, the VTNE is required in all states that mandate that practicing vet techs be licensed or certified.
  • The vet tech must complete any other requirements to be certified in his or her state. In some cases, the state itself handles licensing, while other states allow a vet tech professional association to confer certification.

Certification demonstrates the mastery of those skills that will be required to carry out the duties of a clinical supervisor. Furthermore, certification also ensures that the vet tech will remain current with the state of veterinary medicine. Most potential employers will require any candidates to hold a certificate or license and be in good standing with their local veterinary technician’s association before considering them for a supervisory position.

Obtaining Experience as a Vet Tech Supervisor

In many cases, practices seeking to hire a veterinary technician as a supervisor will require a certain amount of experience. In most cases, they will also prefer to hire candidates who can demonstrate that they have had experience in providing leadership functions within the veterinary practice setting.

In order to comply with these requirements, vet techs should seek to work with their supervisors in their current job and obtain experience in all areas of the practice. This will include working to supervise clerical staff, veterinary aides and other vet techs. By carrying out and documenting these duties, the veterinary technician can demonstrate that he or she has the leadership skills and experience needed to become an effective vet tech supervisor.

In addition, as certified vet techs must complete a certain amount of continuing education (CE) units to remain in good standing, the vet tech should attempt to obtain CE units focusing on leadership and management skills within the veterinary practice. By being able to document his or her training in the field of management, the vet tech can improve the possibility of obtaining a supervisory position.

Becoming a supervising veterinary technician is an excellent path to a career with promising professional and salary options. In addition, vet tech supervisors are highly respected by their fellow professionals and the public they serve alike. For those wishing to play a central role in providing world-class veterinary care to the American public, becoming a vet tech supervisor is an ideal choice.