Where Opportunities Abound for Veterinary Technicians: An Interview with Catherine “Cat” Holly
At Today’s Veterinary Practice we believe that each veterinary team member plays a vital role in providing best medicine for the patients in his or her care. Veterinary technicians and assistants are incredibly important team members—often spending as much or more time with pet owners and patients than their veterinarian colleagues.
We are delighted to publish the following interview with Cat Holly, CVT, President of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Many thanks to NAVTA’s Communications Director, Sandy Sponaugle, for conducting this interview.
How did you first become involved with NAVTA?
I joined NAVTA several years ago, before my state had its own veterinary technician association. In 2009, I was elected as the recording secretary.
Are you also actively involved with your state technician association?
Yes! I nurtured the growth of the association, Rhode Island Veterinary Technician Association, since 2004, initially as treasurer and have served as president since 2006.
How has your career evolved as a result of these professional development opportunities?
My experiences with NAVTA have truly broadened my professional horizons: I’ve networked extensively throughout the veterinary profession, broadened my skills and knowledge base, and overcome my fear of public speaking!
Can you tell us about the Technician Specialties program and how it works?
The NAVTA Committee on Veterinary Technician Specialties (CVTS) was formed in 1994 and is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The CVTS provides guidelines to facilitate the formation of specialty organizations. These organizations or academies develop advanced pathways that a candidate must follow and complete in order to be awarded the designation of Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) in his or her specific discipline.
Do you have any advice for technician students that have recently graduated?
- Become or stay involved with NAVTA. As your professional trade association, we support every stage of your career.
- Use our online career site (navta.net/career/careers-center) to search for employment opportunities.
- Maintain membership in your state association and become involved—volunteer to serve on a committee or write for The NAVTA Journal (navta.net/navta-journal/overview), which allows you to make important contacts and gain influence in your field.
- Consider becoming a VTS in one of 11 specialties in order to increase your knowledge and pursue a career in your particular area of interest.
There is much discussion about the new NAVTA Veterinary Assistant Program. Can you tell us more?
Few people in and out of the veterinary field understand each member’s specific role on the veterinary health care team. Now that veterinary technicians must obtain credentials and become licensed, individuals that previously fell under the “technician” umbrella no longer had an official designation—hence the title Veterinary Assistant. The Approved Veterinary Assistant Program (navta.net/assistants/veterinary-assistants) is the perfect vehicle to define that role and educate our colleagues and the public about their contributions to the veterinary team. We had 125 members in the inaugural class of Approved Veterinary Assistants.
NAVTA hosts an annual conference for all members of the veterinary industry. Can you tell us about the plans for 2012?
NAVTA will host our third annual conference, focused on professional development and communication skills, in Washington, DC, from November 16–18, 2012 (navta.net/events/navta-annual-conference). The conference is packed with two days of empowering information; we urge everyone to attend.
My experience is most likely similar to others—while I was in technician school, I didn’t learn how to effectively communicate with clients, colleagues, and supervisors. These are essential skills for career advancement and satisfaction. This year’s conference provides the opportunity to advance attendees’ knowledge and confidence in communication, ultimately benefiting their professional development.
The mission of NAVTA is to represent and promote the profession of veterinary technology. NAVTA provides direction, education, support, and coordination for its members and works with other allied professional organizations for the competent care and humane treatment of animals.
Find out more about NAVTA by visiting NAVTA.net or by calling 888.996.2882.