26 Oct Alternative Jobs for Vet Techs – Relief Work/Account Manager
An interview with Leslie Neidermyer, BS, LVT
Q: Where do you currently work as a credentialed Veterinary Technician? Job title/position?
I work full time as an account manager for Veterinary System Services. VSS is a relief company in Denver, Colorado. We hire CVT’s, DVM’s, assistants and CSR’s to help our 200+ veterinary facilities provide coverage for vacation time, maternity leave, and in the last 2 years, short staffing coverage.
This position requires me to handle the accounts of over 100 hospitals along the Front Range of Colorado, including general practices, emergency, and specialty facilities, as well as several shelters. Managing these accounts involves onboarding new practices with the company and communicating with practice managers and DVMs to make sure their shifts with our employees are running smoothly.
Q: How did you learn about this job opportunity?
I came into the role after finding out the previous account manager was looking to step down. At the time, I was working as a relief CVT for the company and was looking to take a step up in my career. I enjoyed working with our clients and thought that my experience in the field and the good relationship I had built with several hospitals would make me a good fit for the position.
Q: What makes your position unique or different from working in a typical clinic/hospital?
My position is extremely different as I no longer work in a hospital, I visit several hospitals a week to check in on how our services are going, but I do not work on the floor. My experience as a CVT allows me to make sure that our clients are practicing medicine to the highest of industry standards. Without this knowledge, I would not have the ability to assure our employees that the practices they are working in have the patient’s care as their main priority.
Q: Other than your C/L/RVT does your job require additional education/skills?
It does not require any additional education, but I hold a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science.
Q: What do you feel is the most rewarding part of your job? Are there any downsides?
I find my position with VSS to be rewarding as I can help hospitals and their staff get the extra help they need. In a time when the industry is severely understaffed, we are often the hero. So whether we provide a CVT, DVM, or CSR to help fill in, the extra hands are always appreciated.
I also love working with a company whose main focus is work-life balance. Our employees literally make their own schedules. So many CVTs have come to us burnt out and love their career again. With so many hospitals that use our service, this allows them to work in multiple areas of medicine, take shifts in hospitals they enjoy, and do not return to facilities that were not a good fit for them. The flexibility also allows them to take time off when they need to, whether it’s a few days, a long weekend, or a few weeks at a time. They can rest easy knowing that someone does not have to cover for them, and they don’t need to request time off.
The downside is that I don’t get to work on the floor or with animals or with other techs or doctors. However, not utilizing my technical skills and knowledge is something I really enjoyed about being a CVT. I also liked having the camaraderie with other veterinary staff; being able to laugh over thinking that turd in your pocket was a pill pocket or everyone chuckling at the angry cat is something that is no longer in my day.
Q: What advice would you give a new Vet Tech grad if they wanted to pursue the same career path?
My job is a bit of a niche, as VSS is one of the few relief companies in the country that operates the way we do. However, I would equate it to being a pharmaceutical representative for a food or drug company. Drug reps check on their hospitals regularly to see how things are going with the practice and talk about new products.
I have always found that having skills in more than one area to be helpful. For example, being a great tech is obviously extremely important but having good people skills is important too. If you’re the tech that everyone goes to for intubating cats (that is not me), but you’re also the tech that enjoys the difficult clients, that will give you a leg up. Any time you think of going into a management position, you have to make sure that you want to interact with people, even more than you already do.
I am also a big fan of education; there has not been a day that I regret getting my bachelor’s degree.