The Cure for the Credentialed Vet Tech Shortage at Your Practice

The average life of a credentialed veterinary technician in the field of veterinary medicine is 5 years. With a minimum of 2 years of education and achievement of a passing grade on the VTNE, it is safe to say that credentialed vet techs are committed to the profession. So, why do they leave? And more importantly what can you do to favor their longer lifespan in your practice?

 

The 2016 NAVTA Study  link

Let’s start with some statistics. A survey among 2790 veterinary technicians (the majority credentialed) revealed that technicians who permanently left vet med did so mostly because of insufficient pay (38%), lack of respect from the employer (20%) and burnout (14%)

 

The 2010 JAVMA Study  link

Are you aware that the typical veterinary practice grosses on average an extra $93,311 for each additional credentialed veterinary technician per doctor in the practice? In case you were wondering, adding an additional doctor to a practice generates on average $318,545 of additional gross revenue.

 

Interestingly, this report also found that the addition of non-credentialed vet techs did not significantly increase gross revenue. It was speculated that “employing technicians with greater skill sets would allow technicians to do work that might otherwise be performed by veterinarians…[so that] veterinarians can leverage their time within the practice, generating additional revenue.”

Your Vet Tech Job Description Blueprint

So, now you’ve got the motivation to hire additional vet techs and delegate, delegate, delegate! But how best can you delegate tasks to your credentialed vet techs? Guess what? There is a handy list to guide you!

 

Did you know that under vet supervision, in California your veterinary technicians can suture cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues? Or that in Wisconsin they can perform dental extractions?

 

Here is the list of specified duties that credentialed veterinary technicians and vet assistants can lawfully perform in each state:

 

https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/scope-vet-assistant-duties.aspx

 

This should serve as your job description blueprint for both your credentialed vet techs and vet assistants.   The more your vet assistants can do, the more your credentialed vet techs can do, and the more you as a veterinarian can do!

 

Quick Delegation Lesson

Speaking of delegating, for a portion of my ECC full-time career, I had a scribe helping with my charting. It makes perfect sense for doctors to perform doctor duties and everything else be put up for discussion and delegation! So get creative with how you get these things off your plate- seeing one or two extra patients in a day could make it worthwhile!

Putting it All Together

Ok, pause!   We’ve learned some lessons about improving practice efficiency, but what does this have to do with retaining credentialed vet techs? The whole reason you’re here reading this article, right?

 

Let’s walk down the path. Your credentialed vet techs are now performing higher level tasks that you previously performed as a veterinarian.  They gain increased job satisfaction and (hopefully!) feel their employer respects them by allowing them full use of their training. Incentives for CE or advanced certifications will further strengthen your team and improve job satisfaction.

 

And what about the 38% who leave due to insufficient pay? I’d bet you can do better than the average $93,311 gross revenue increase by fully utilizing your credentialed technicians!  Voilà! You have found the means to justify the pay increase you’ll need to help attract and retain your talented and loyal credentialed vet tech crew!