A qualitative study based on one-on-one interviews was conducted to better understand the role of the academic veterinary technician (AVT) and identify the motivations and challenges that AVTs face during their academic careers.
34 AVTs from 12 accredited US colleges of veterinary medicine.
Virtual, semi-structured interviews were conducted between July and December 2020. Transcripts were analyzed using discourse analysis within the context of social identity theory.
Five themes and seven accompanying sub-themes emerged: one title but many roles and responsibilities (professional/work; other obligations); workplace culture (belonging/inclusivity, administrative/policies); unique challenges of being in the ivory tower (impostor syndrome, educator role, technical skills for academia); entry into the profession and career progression; and motivation.
AVTs have great passion for and dedication to their profession. Overwhelmingly, they want their voices to be heard and their skillsets to be both utilized and respected. Recognition of and consideration for the themes uncovered in this study may help to better support and retain technicians in their academic career paths.