In the human healthcare industry, telehealth services and telemedicine have skyrocketed in popularity. The convenience of receiving care from the comfort of your home is extremely appealing, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a veterinary professional, you may be considering exploring a career in telemedicine. Here’s what you need to know before diving into veterinary telehealth.
What do veterinary careers in telehealth entail? In many cases, it’s very similar to those of traditional telehealth services. While every practice operates differently and is subject to varying state and local laws, the premise of telehealth is the same.
Vet services such as consultations can easily be done through telemedicine. In some cases, prescriptions or refills can be issued via telemedicine as well. However, anything that requires a hands-on exam or is a life-threatening emergency to the animal is not practicable for telemedicine.
As previously mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven utilization in telehealth services, and the veterinary industry is no exception. Given the convenience of receiving care for a pet without leaving one’s home, it’s likely that the demand for such services will continue well into the future.
However, because some vet services require an in-person visit, it may not be practical to switch to a career or business model (if you’re a practice owner) that solely offers telehealth services. Rather, a hybrid model where your office sees patients in-person and provides a telemedicine option when it makes sense to do so is likely the trend moving forward.
Moreover, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that “a [veterinarian-client-patient relationship] cannot be established solely through telemedicine,” which reiterates the need for a hybrid office and online care model.
Veterinary jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are projected to grow 16% through 2029, which means a career path in the field is a promising one. If you are interested in becoming a vet, you’ll need to go through extensive schooling, which often involves obtaining an undergraduate pre-vet degree, then a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Finally, you’ll need to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) in order to become a certified vet.
After you’ve received your schooling and accreditations, and satisfied any state-specific requirements, you can go out and find a veterinary career.
Get started on iHireVeterinary to quickly find openings near you. And, be sure to mention in your cover letter and during your interview that you’re interested in providing telehealth services. This may help you land a role, as prospective employers may be looking for individuals who are comfortable providing telemedicine. While a career in solely veterinary telehealth is not currently feasible, demonstrating interest in such a role will help you appeal to prospective candidates as you look for a job in veterinary services.