Introduction to a Certified Vet Tech Career
Vet technicians and technologists work in clinics and laboratory settings in order to help treat and diagnose a variety of health issues in animals. Tasks may include administering vaccines, taking blood and tissue samples, performing a variety of tests, and assisting veterinarians during surgical procedures. Becoming a vet tech may be achieved through a combination of both distance learning and on-site applications. The following table provides information for vet tech careers.
|Required Skills||Reading comprehension, active listening, speaking, critical-thinking, monitoring|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||19%|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$34,420 per year|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Becoming a Certified Vet Tech
In order to become a certified vet tech, you will need to gain experience in a vet clinic and either obtain an associate's or bachelor's degree from an accredited program. Aside from on-site experiences and exam requirements, gaining the necessary skills and education can be completed online. Once you have followed those steps, you may qualify to take the national examination and be able to practice with your state after passing.
Step 1. Meet Vet Tech Program Admission Requirements
Vet technician programs may require applicants to have supervised practical experience prior to acceptance. A way to achieve this could be to volunteer at a clinic or work as a veterinary assistant, which only requires a high school diploma. Some vet tech schools may require letters of recommendation, with one being from a veterinarian you have worked for. Lastly, you may be required for an on-site interview upon the application submission.
Step 2. Complete an Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology Program
You will need to obtain a 2-year associate's degree in an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program prior to working as a veterinary technician. Online programs are available that will allow you to complete your degree coursework through distance learning; however, there are some in-person clinical experiences required. Hands-on experiences are usually accomplished at a vet clinic near a student's residence. Aside from clinical experiences, online course topics may include clinical pathology, laboratory procedures, and pharmacology. If you are just wanting to be a vet technician, this will be the only schooling required.
Step 3. Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Veterinary Technology
If you want to advance from a vet technician to a vet technologist position, you will need to complete a bachelor's degree program. This advanced step requires an associate's degree from an accredited veterinary technology program prior to entry. This degree may also be completed online in as little as two years. Core topics may include animal science, animal reproduction, and radiology.
Step 4. Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
Upon completion of an associate's and/or bachelor's degree program, you will need to pass the VTNE, which is offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. When registering, you will choose an on-site testing center that works for you in order to take this computer-based exam. You will receive either a pass or fail grade, with minimum required scores varying from state to state. These scores will be submitted to your state board for review. While the exam must be taken on site, several organizations offer online study guides and practice tests to help you prepare.