“Why Should I Hire a CVT?”
This question is heard far too often from veterinary owners and practice managers throughout Illinois, and around the United States. I’ll bet that you’ve heard some of these phrases: “I’d have to pay a tech more that an unlicensed assistant”; “(S)he won’t know how to do things my way—I’d have to retrain, anyway”; “My regular staff won’t take to a licensed tech”. On the surface, these may seem to be legitimate concerns. But, let’s think these statements through a little more.
Yes, a certified veterinary technician will expect (and should receive) a higher wage than an unlicensed staff member with comparable experience. That CVT spent a considerable amount of time, effort, and money to obtain at least an associate’s degree as a health professional. They already have a scientific knowledge base, and have been trained in skills that you would have to take time and staff to teach to an employee without that background. You are also obtaining an employee who has already demonstrated a commitment to the veterinary profession. So, there is less likelihood of employee turnover with the hiring of a licensed technician.
Yes, it is very possible that your new technician may use different techniques or have different approaches to clinical situations. But does that have to be a negative? Fresh ideas can help invigorate a practice; additionally, a different approach to a problem or situation may save the practice time or money, or improve client satisfaction. And if you truly want to keep things the same, a trained technician should adapt more quickly than someone with less medical knowledge and skills.
And yes, the current staff members may be defensive and intimidated by the new employee (especially if they haven’t worked with a licensed technician previously). But, this can be the case with any new hire entering an established practice. Staff reactions often mirror those of management, so if you are upbeat and supportive of the new technician, your staff is more likely to follow suit. Eventually, that CVT could be a great resource for training additional staff, as well.
I’m not trying to minimize the skills and accomplishments of unlicensed veterinary staff, or the ability of managers to identify and train staff appropriately. In my 33 years of involvement with the veterinary profession, I have had the honor to work alongside many very talented lay staff. My point is simply not to write off the benefits that can be gained by hiring a CVT by using questionable excuses.
There is always risk involved with adding a new staff member—regardless of education or experience, there is always the chance that your new hire just won’t be a good fit. But adding a certified veterinary technician to your staff can be of great benefit to you, your staff, and your clients—give it a try!