I'll start with a little story to tie it together for you. About 10 years ago, I was working in a parts factory, hating it more by the day. One day, I sat down at my table to eat lunch, and IN MY SPOT at the table was a classified ad. There, right in the middle, was an ad for a veterinary technician near my house. I (being very into signs at that time) took it as a sign that it was there in MY spot at the table, and called that evening when I got home. I went down there for an interview and they hired me on the spot, with no experience, aside from a few months as a kennel girl in high school.
I have been a tech ever since. The first year, I was trained by a wonderfully efficient and educated tech, and was taught how to do everything the right and most efficient way possible. I had no formal training or schooling, just what I was taught, although she did give me tests which helped me learn. I got really good at my job, but after a while, things went sour at that place, and it led me to start looking elsewhere. I applied around for a while, and interviewed at one place, and was again hired on the spot. (It turns out the vet that hired me was a big time rival of the one I worked for and he hired me for more money and more perks, just to tick him off..hehe, lucky me!) Anyway, after all my great training, I soon saw a lot of flaws in certain procedures at the new clinic. Techs were there, mainly to hold animals, do reception, and do bloodwork, little else. I had SKILLS from the other place, and I felt that I couldn't utilize them here. Instead of quitting, I started suggesting doing things different ways.
I taught the techs there how to draw blood, give injections, give anesthetics, and just DO things that they weren't being used to do before. It freed up a lot of the doctor's time, therefore we were able to see more patients and earn more money, and it all spiraled upwards from there. I made head technician after working there a year and I've been there 9 years now. I am the supervisor there. I teach techs how to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
Now, after that story....I have never gone on to become certified, and I don't really have the desire to. As much as I enjoy my job, I also own a pet sitting business that I hope will take off, and what I really want out of life is a family anyway, not a career. I love my job but I don't have the WANT for it, if that makes sense. I just do it to pay the bills, and I'm lucky enough that I'm good at it and I enjoy it. That being said, you don't really have to go to school to be a vet tech, but some places will not consider you a TECH if you don't. They'll more likely call you an assistant. Ours calls us techs. But that's up to you, depending how far you want to go. You need a certain amount of hours worked to take the certification test, so you'll have to work a while before you can take it.
As for experiences, I wrote in Cats S.O.S. (Woes of technician life) about one incident....there are MANY, SOOO many others just like this. I went into this job thinking it was all puppies and kittens, and you learn really fast that this is not the case. I have seen HORRIFFIC things done to animals. I don't think anyone wants me to post these things, so I can PM you if you'd like to hear them. It takes courage, a stable stomach and you have to put your feelings aside to deal with some of the things. You get dirty, hairy, stinky and HURT.
I'm not trying to sway your decision at all. There's a shortage of really good techs, at least there is here. We get so many young people coming in thinking they're going to play with animals all day and once they realize how much more there is to it, they quickly change career choices. I have seen a select few who come in with no experience, and this job is just FOR them. It does happen, so if you really think you have what it takes, go for it. Maybe you could just shadow them or do part time at first, or even start out doing kennel work in the beginning, to get a feel for it. We've had lots of kennel people convert to tech and they work out fine.
Good luck with whatever you decide. I hope my story was sort of along the lines of what you're looking for. I didn't mean to make myself sound like Superwoman either, I just know the false expectations people have when starting out in this field and want to tell you the truth of what you're facing.
Good luck, and keep us posted on what you're thinking, also PM me if you have any other questions, I'll be happy to help you any way I can!