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Veterinary Technician National Exam Information and Tips

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a veterinary technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

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After completing an accredited associate's degree program, a veterinary technician must pass a national qualifying exam in order to practice. This test covers various aspects of animal healthcare to determine a candidate's knowledge. Practice tests and numerous books can help prepare them for the official examination.

Essential Information

Veterinary technicians work with animals in a medical setting, assisting veterinarians with diagnostic tests, providing general care for animals and interacting with pets' owners. The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is required for individuals pursuing a career as a licensed veterinary technician. In order to qualify to take the VTNE, students must complete an accredited associate's degree program in veterinary technology.

Required Education Associate's degree in veterinary technology
Licensing Required; technicians must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% for veterinary technologists and technicians
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $31,800 for veterinary technologists and technicians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Veterinary Technician National Exam Information

The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), which is a non-profit organization consisting of 57 veterinary licensing boards. The exam evaluates candidates to determine if they're qualified to practice and obtain licensure as entry-level technicians. The VTNE is taken at Prometric testing sites that are located throughout the United States.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the exam, a candidate must have completed a veterinary technology program that is accredited by the American or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). On-the-job training may be sufficient for eligibility in some states. Before they can take the test, candidates must apply and pay any fees associated with the exam. They must also provide a government-issued form of identification.

The exam is offered in March, July and October and is constantly reviewed and updated to ensure it's current. Candidates are allowed to attempt the exam five times. If a candidate wishes to try the VTNE more than that, he or she must make a special request to the AAVSB.

Exam Questions

The 4-hour exam is made up of 200 multiple-choice operational questions and 25 pilot questions, although the tester's scores are only based on the 200 operational questions. A few of the seven most important areas of animal healthcare include radiography, ultrasound, anesthesia and surgical preparation. The exam also covers 23 task areas and 47 knowledge areas.

Study Tips

Before taking the test, candidates may wish to review topics studied in their veterinary technician lab classes. The Association of Veterinary Technician Educators Inc. (AVTE) recommends a variety of books that can help you prepare for the exam.

Practice Test Opportunities

A practice test is offered by the AAVSB and can be taken online. The practice test is 75 questions and must be completed in 90 minutes to simulate the actual exam period. This simulation helps candidates become better acquainted with both the exam structure and types of questions asked.

Veterinarian Technician Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that veterinarian technology jobs were expected to grow 19% from 2014-2024, which was much faster than the national average. Part of this huge growth was an increased pet population. Veterinarian technicians and technologists earned an annual median wage of $31,800 in May 2015.

To summarize, the VTNE can only be taken upon graduation from an accredited veterinary technician program. This 4-hour exam has nearly 225 questions in specified areas and is offered three times a year. To better prepare a potential veterinarian for the exam, practice tests and books are available.

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