Every year since 1993, National Veterinary Technician Week recognizes and celebrates the contributions of veterinary technicians. Vet techs bring their dedication, compassion, and expertise to animals in need and are vital to every veterinary medical team, serving as primary advocates for pets and working closely with owners.
Our BluePearl hospitals wouldn’t be the same without veterinary technicians, and we recognize the massive difference they make in the lives of pets, patients, their fellow teammates, and the veterinary field as a whole.
To celebrate Vet Tech Week, we are highlighting three veterinary technicians who are working towards or have already tested for their VTS (veterinary technician specialist) certification, giving you a snapshot of their roles within their respective specialties at BluePearl.
What is a VTS?
In the world of veterinary medicine, a VTS is a veterinary technician specialist – a credentialed veterinary technician who has satisfied the requirements of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) to obtain a “higher level of recognition for advanced knowledge and skills in specific disciplines.”
In other words, just as veterinarians can specialize in one area, so can veterinary technicians.
VTS certification is based on a specialty, such as emergency and critical care, internal medicine, or zoological medicine. NAVTA recognizes 16 different specialty academies for veterinary technicians, which offer courses and programs for credentialed veterinary technicians to earn a VTS certification.
The Path to a VTS
The first step in becoming a veterinary technician specialist is becoming a credentialed vet tech and gaining experience. Each specialty academy has its own set of requirements to earn a VTS certification, but in general, you can expect to need:
- Case logs and reports
- A certain number of hours of on-the-job experience
- Specialty CE credits
- Passing the qualifying exam
You can learn more about an academy’s specific eligibility requirements using NAVTA’s list of approved academies.
Elaine Myers, CVT – Maitland, FL
Hi, my name is Elaine Myers. I’m a certified vet technician in the surgery department.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, living on a big farm, a lot of animals are just open, free and I always helped my dad take care of it and I don’t know, it just kind of grew. It was a passion, I think.
I was missing something, being at a regular practice. Regular practice is more like a routine and the same thing over and over. Being like a little hyper as a person and wanting challenges, I felt like I was missing that and by coming to a specialty clinic, I was able to do a little bit of everything.
Cases that are not your routine type of surgery are the ones that I kind of love the most. You know, the ones that I know that we are doing our best. Those are the ones that kind of like, fill my heart.
Danielle Thomas, CVT, LVT – Maitland, FL
My name is Danielle Thomas. I am an emergency and critical care technician. When I grew up, I was always bringing home stray animals and so, like I’ve always had a love for animals.
I started out in the vet med my first year of tech school. I became an assistant for an emergency practice, and I fell in love with emergency medicine and I haven’t left since. And that was 13 years ago.
Emergency medicine is so unpredictable. It’s so chaotic, and you’re seeing pets at their absolute worst, being able to bring them in when they’re really, really sick. And then they spend days in the hospital and then, you know, at the end you’re pulling all the stops out because they’re eating and they’re doing great, and then walking them back out and seeing the joy in people’s faces to know that their family member is coming home.
It’s not just a bond with our patients, it’s a bond with the owners. It’s so rewarding to see the look on their faces when they get their pets back and they’re doing great.
Ryanne Heiny, CVT, VTS (SAIM) – Portland, OR
Hi, my name is Ryanne Heiny. I’m a veterinary technician specialist in small animal internal medicine.
I’ve decided to pursue my VTS actually way back before I was even a certified vet tech. When I was going to school to be certified, I had learned about the VTS program and I was like, ‘oh, that’s what I want to be when I grow up.’
I think it is a really good way to show that you’re at the top of your field because it’s not something that everybody pursues. I love the technical aspect of things, and getting to use those skills is not something that doctors tend to get to do. I love coming in to help people with venipuncture, placing central lines, placing catheters of basically any degree. Those are things that I love to do, and I knew that was something that I wouldn’t get to do [as a doctor]. But also, as a VTS, I get to teach other people how to do them, and watching baby techs grow up is really fun and very fulfilling.
How BluePearl Supports Technicians for Career Growth and Fulfillment
At BluePearl, we value our technicians every day, but set aside Vet Tech Week for truly honoring their dedication to providing compassionate, high-quality care. From hero, to caregiver, healer, and multitasker, we’re happy to celebrate our technicians by sharing not only what makes them exceptional, but also their unwavering commitment to pet care that unites us all.
Now that we’ve introduced you to Elaine Myers, CVT, Danielle Thomas, CVT, LVT, and Ryanne Heiny, CVT, VTS (SAIM), learn more about the resources and tools they and many others have used to accelerate their career as vet techs and explore the career path journey of Laura Champagne, CVT, a Surgery & Anesthesia Veterinary Technician at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Waltham, Massachusetts.