How Can I Become a Registered Veterinary Technician? Schools, Cost, Salaries

Have you ever had a pet that was so sick that you believed you could administer some sort of emergency care before taking it to the vet? If you’ve ever felt moved to care for animals or pets, you should think about becoming a registered veterinary technician. Learn about the colleges, degrees, and exams required to become a veterinarian technician, as well as the several types of careers available to you as a certified veterinarian technician.

Registered Veterinary Technicians are animal medicine’s nurses. They, like the nurse, work under the supervision of a veterinarian and assist with a variety of animal care responsibilities such as assisting in diagnosis, taking patient records and case histories, collecting specimens, and so on.

This does not, however, make them any less valuable in their workplace. Indeed, they’re in high demand in private practice as well as new prospects in zoos, military, laboratories, and wildlife conservancies.

As a result, in this essay, we’ll explain what a veterinary technician is and what their employment entails. We’ll also demonstrate how they vary from veterinary assistants. After that, we’ll walk you through the steps of becoming a certified veterinary technician. Please stick with us.

Who is a Veterinary Technician?

Veterinary technicians are medical professionals who have completed the necessary training and education to work with animals. They examine animals at veterinary clinics and other work environments, collecting specimens, and performing a variety of other jobs that help the veterinarian. In addition, the veterinary technician provides support to licensed veterinarians. They don’t operate in a vacuum.

However, before they may even help the qualified veterinarian, they must first obtain their own license. As a result, a registered veterinarian is a state-certified animal healthcare practitioner who works for and under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian in clinical and laboratory duties.

What is the Veterinary Technician Job Description?

When we talk about veterinary technicians, one term comes up again and again. “Assist” is the term. In other words, while veterinary technicians care for animals in veterinary clinics and other settings, they are unable to diagnose, prescribe, or perform surgery on them. This is because their line of employment forbids them from doing so; otherwise, they’d be no different than licensed veterinarians.

In general, a veterinary technician gathers and records patient information, prepares animals for surgery, collects specimens, and helps with laboratory research. These are the primary responsibilities of a veterinarian. However, because to their speciality, they will undertake a variety of other duties not covered here.

But irrespective of specialization, the registered veterinary technician’s job description includes:

  • Watching animals for physical and behavioral changes and noting them down
  • Taking and developing x-rays
  • Recording patients case histories
  • Administering medications to the animals
  • Collecting laboratory samples and performing lab tests
  • Providing nursing care to animals

What is the Difference Between a Veterinary Technician Job and a Veterinary Assistant?

It’s very easy to mix up the terms veterinary technician and veterinary assistant. While they both aid the veterinarian, these two animal healthcare specialists differ in two ways. These are their educational prerequisites as well as their specialized job responsibilities.

There is another contrast between veterinary technicians and veterinary technologists before we get into how different these two professions are. Many individuals use these two terms interchangeably, which is understandable given that they almost execute the identical job functions. The most notable distinction is that veterinarian technologists receive a four-year baccalaureate education, whereas veterinarian technicians receive a two-year community college or college education.

Moving on, whereas a veterinarian technician or technologist requires at least a two-year degree from an AVMA-accredited program, a veterinarian assistant only requires a high school diploma, a certificate program, or a distance learning program.

In order to properly prepare for the job, the veterinarian assistant may receive on-the-job training from veterinarians or veterinary technicians. In addition, unlike a veterinarian technician or technologist, the veterinarian assistant does not need to be credentialed.

The veterinary technician now serves as the veterinarian’s nurse, while the veterinary assistant aids both the physician and the veterinary technician, as well as performing basic chores such as restraining and handling animals and feeding them, according to their job description.

Where Does a Veterinary Technician Work?

Naturally, the word veterinary conjures up images of an animal clinic. That’s where you’d take your ill pet, and that’s where you’d expect animal care providers to be. The veterinary technician does work at private clinics and animal hospitals, as you say.

However, the work of a registered veterinary technician is not limited to this setting. Laboratories, colleges and universities, and social advocacy organizations are all places where a registered veterinary technician can work.

So, imagine yourself as a bird free to perch on any tree in terms of work employment when you consider becoming a registered vet tech.

How to become a registered veterinary technician

To become a registered veterinary technician, you have to;

  • Have a High School Diploma or its Equivalent
  • Complete an Accredited Degree Program
  • Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
  • Go for State Credentialing
  • Renew State Credential and Advance in the Field

#1. Have a High School Diploma or its Equivalent

Completing high school, secondary school, or having a GED that can be used as a high school certificate is the initial step for practically any employment accessible in the United States and other nations across the world. Your high school education should provide you with a solid foundation in biology, physiology (if offered), and chemistry. It would be advantageous for you if you did hands-on lab work in high school and volunteered at animal clinics and other animal-care facilities.

#2. Complete an Accredited Degree Program

If you simply acquire a high school graduation, you’ll only be qualified to be a vet assistant, not the vet tech you want to be. To advance as a licensed veterinary technician, you must get a degree from one of the best veterinary technician colleges.

A two-year associate’s degree in veterinary technology or animal science is the minimum education requirement. But you can choose to get a bachelor’s instead, However, whether an associate’s or a bachelor’s, your vet tech program must have accreditation by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).  Check out registered veterinary technician schools you can attend to get a degree and start your career here.

#3. Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)

After earning your degree, you must pass the VTNE in order to practice as a certified veterinarian technician in the United States. The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and costs $320. The test will span three months and will assess you in nine academic areas, including:

  • Pharmacy & pharmacology;
  • Surgical nursing;
  • Dentistry;
  • Laboratory procedures;
  • Animal care and nursing;
  • Diagnostic imaging;
  •  Anesthesia;
  •  Emergency medicine; and
  •  Pain management.

#4. Go for State Credentialing

After passing the VTNE exam, the next step is to obtain a license to practice. Meanwhile, the procedures for obtaining state registration vary greatly depending on the state in which you intend to practice.

In general, you’ll need to send certified transcripts from a CVTEA-accredited program, present VTNE scores, and pay an application fee to obtain a state license to practice. Some states, such as Washington, will also require you to pass a licensure exam, while others will want you to produce proof of citizenship in the United States.

After obtaining your credentials, you can choose to become a registered veterinary technician (RVT), a certified veterinary technician (CVT), or a licensed veterinary technician (LVT) depending on your state. They’re all referring to the same thing.

#5. Renew State Credential and Advance in the Field

Obtaining your veterinary technician certification and putting it to use isn’t enough. The certificate is only good for a limited time. Continued education will be required to maintain your state license current. Qualified conferences, articles, presentations, online coursework, and other techniques can help you achieve this. The sorts of CE that have been approved differ by location.

Veterinary Technician Schools

The best veterinary technician schools are;

  • Purdue University
  • University of New Hampshire
  • SUNY College of Technology at Delhi
  • Johnson College Scranton, PA
  • Northwestern State University of Louisiana
  • Vermont Technical College
  • Ogeechee Technical College
  • Northeast Community College
  • SUNY College of Technology at Canton

Vet Tech Salary

Jobs as a veterinary technician are extremely lucrative. Vet techs can earn anything from $30,000 to $42,000 per year, depending on where they work.

Veterinary technologists and technicians earn an average of $34,420 per year, or $16.55 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is a reasonable wage for a veterinary technician who has completed a two-year associate’s degree and is qualified to work.

The BLS further categorizes veterinarian technologists’ salaries based on the industry in which they operate. This can help you determine where you want to work as a licensed veterinary technician.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top five industries (or work environments) that pay the most for registered veterinary technicians are:

  • Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation): $53,780
  • Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions: $46,100
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $44,460
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: $42,460
  • Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation): $42,370

You should also know that some states in the USA pay registered veterinary technicians more than other states. So, you could earn higher than the estimated salary average for vet techs in these five states:

  • Nevada: $46,370
  • Connecticut: $43,340
  • New York: $43,190
  • California: $41,920
  • Massachusetts: $40,990

Job Outlook of Registered Veterinary Technicians?

As a veterinary technician, you now have work stability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for vet techs in 2018 is 19%. The job is expected to grow at a much faster rate than the average job, as evidenced by the projection of an additional 21,100 jobs for registered veterinary technicians to supplement the 109,400 jobs held by vet techs in 2018.

Conclusion

Considering a career as a veterinary technician is a wonderful choice, especially if you enjoy working with animals. You’ll get off to a strong start in your career if you follow our professional advice.

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