How to Become a Vet Tech – Career Requirements & Salary

What is a Veterinary Technician and What Do Vet Techs Do?

A veterinarian technician—a trained nurse for animals—carefully opens a sleeping dog ’ mho mouth. They reveal two rows of astute teeth and start taking x-ray to show weaknesses where the enamel has worn down over time. They document their observations from the diagnostic image and prepare the patient file. This particular veterinarian technician is a specialist ( a VTS ) and has been particularly trained in canine dentistry. They may assist the veterinarian if the patient needs a tooth extracted. When becoming a veterinary technician, a professional may find themselves enacting important roles like this in a clinic or animal hospital .
For animal-lovers seeking an accelerate degree program—one which is more low-cost and less time-consuming than attending veterinarian aesculapian school—becoming a veterinary technician ( vet technical school ) can be an excellent option .
According to the american Veterinary Medical Association ( AVMA ), vet techs play a crucial function in veterinarian settings by monitoring the health conditions of animal patients ; taking diagnostic images with sophisticated equipment ; providing veterinarians with surgical, dental, anesthetic, and other types of aid ; restraining animals during routine examinations ; processing lab samples ; liaising with pet-owners ; preparing vaccines and serums ; maintaining clinic inventory ; and ensuring the placid serve of the veterinary agency .
The professional commitment in this field is reflected in the Veterinary Technician ’ s Oath, which is quoted hera in full moon from the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America ( NAVTA ) :

“ I solemnly dedicate myself to aiding animals and company by providing excellent worry and services for animals, by alleviating animal suffer, and by promoting public health. I accept my obligations to practice my profession scrupulously and with sensitivity, adhering to the profession ’ s Code of Ethics, and furthering my cognition and competence through a commitment to lifelong memorize. ”

The surveil is a comprehensive examination guide on how to become a veterinary technician. Keep take to learn more about veterinary technicians working in the playing field, vet tech oscilloscope of exercise, details on how to become a veterinary technician specialist, and a breakdown of the licensure and documentation requirements to become a credentialed veterinary technician .

Interviews with the Experts: Three Prominent Vet Techs

“Be certain that you are taking ownership of your own nursing practice and do not be afraid to pursue what fulfills you the most.”

Kenichiro Yagi, NAVTA “ Vet Tech of the Year ”
Three outstanding veteran technical school and educators graciously agreed to an exclusive interview, sharing why they became veterinary technicians or technologists, their greatest professional challenges, and their advice for those seeking to join this high-growth, impactful career .
Kenichiro Yagi
Kenichiro Yagi, NAVTA “Vet Tech of the Year” Mr. Yagi is a multi-talented vet technical school specialist who serves as the Program Director for the RECOVER CPR Initiative and the model lab director of the Tetlow and Roy Park Innovation Laboratory at Cornell University. Up until 2018, Mr. Yagi served as the blood depository financial institution coach and ICU supervisor at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos, CA. He holds VTS certifications in emergency and critical care and small animal medicine. He has provided over 700 lectures and workshops, imparting his cognition to others in his sphere .
Mr. Yagi has lectured internationally and holds big leadership positions in NAVTA, the Veterinary Emergency Critical Care Society, and the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians. He finished his dominate ’ s degree in biomedical sciences, veterinarian music, and operating room from the University of Missouri .
What made you decide to become a vet tech?
I actually had not in the first place planned on becoming a veterinary technician, but it was once I started to work with our patients that I realized how much of a remainder I can make on a one-on-one basis for each of the animals in our concern. now I enjoy helping create the best environment and providing the tools for others to serve in this function by being an active lecturer and writer .
What are some of the greatest challenges in your profession?
One of the greatest challenges in the profession lies in the fact that we can not save all of our patients. There are respective factors that come into playing period that lead to an consequence for a patient. We can do our best to prepare ourselves in the ability, cognition, training, teamwork, and application to give the patients their best probability and choice of animation potential given any position .
Do you have any advice for aspiring vet techs?
Be certain that you are taking ownership of your own breastfeed practice and do not be afraid to pursue what fulfills you the most. Whether that means you put yourself in a rehearse that will utilize you to the fullest or aiming to become a veterinary technician specialist, do what you love to do, and you ’ ll have a successful career .
Nancy Sheffield
Nancy Sheffield, Veterinary Technology Professor and Colorado “Vet Tech of the Year”
Ms. Sheffield received her bachelor ’ s degree in animal science with a specialization in dairy science from the University of Maryland and her master ’ second of education from the University of Illinois. She ’ south been a professor at Colorado Mountain College since 2002 and is an avid hiker, cyclist, and bird-watching enthusiast. notably, she was the recipient of the Colorado “ Vet Tech of the Year ” award in 2013 .
What made you decide to become a vet tech?
From a young age, I knew I wanted to work with animals, but at that time, it seemed becoming a veterinarian was the only feasible choice for a career involving animals. One year after graduating from high school and wholly by gamble, I discovered that my local community college, Blue Ridge Community College, had a well-established program in veterinary engineering. Being an animal “ harbor ” was precisely what I wanted to do .
What are some of the greatest challenges in your profession? And how do overcome them?
I think one of the greatest challenges in this profession is educating the public about everything veterinary technicians do to improve the health and lives of animals. Most people have no estimate about the level of education and the width of cognition, skills, and abilities veterinarian technicians contribute to the caution and wellbeing of our patients .
Do you have any advice for aspiring vet techs?
From the moment you decide on this profession, get every bit of experience you can, however you can. Volunteer if you have to. Everything you see, touch, hear, and smell will contribute to your cognition establish. And remember that veterinary medicine requires a commitment to lifelong learn. The best veterinarians and veterinary technicians I know are promptly to say that they learn something modern every single day .
Kenichiro Yagi
Sandra Bertholf, Licensed Veterinary Technologist, Instructor, and Assistant Professor Ms. Bertholf received her knight bachelor ’ south of skill in veterinary technology with semen laude honors, and her maestro ’ randomness in organizational leadership from Mercy College, where she now serves as an teacher and assistant professor. She teaches courses including the introduction to veterinarian science, surgical breastfeed and radiography, and humble animal disease treatment. She ’ south presently in commit at Animal Medical of New City, where she ’ randomness served as an LVT for more than 20 years .
What made you decide to become a vet tech?
I decided to become a veterinarian engineer because I always had a love for animals and I in truth enjoy working with my hands, problem-solving, and being separate of a team. Ironically enough, I was enrolled and scheduled to go to college for sound recording mastermind when I realized my rage was truly for animals. At the prison term, I didn ’ metric ton know there was such a matter as becoming a license vet technical school. In 1994, I couldn ’ thymine do a Google search, as it wasn ’ t the senesce of information .
My mother was a breastfeed and I always admired how she dedicated her life to caring for people. once I found out there was such a thing in the veterinarian field, I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted a career where I could make a difference, not just a job. It was so exciting to know that I would be able to affect the lives of each animal I worked with .
What are some of the greatest challenges in your profession? And how do overcome them?
There are many challenges in this field, but I think some of the greatest ones are preventing compassion fatigue and advancing within the field. I think both of these factors [ shorten the distinctive workspan ] of many technicians in clinical practice, which is generally five to ten years—a startling statistic. To prevent compassion fatigue, I think it ’ south crucial to recognize that many of our patients have short lifespans, specially when we compare them to our homo counterparts in the human checkup profession .
Our patients don ’ thyroxine populate as long, so we are going to be exposed to more death on a daily footing. I have been able to focus on how I have been able to be a separate of improving the lives of my patients. even during euthanasia, I am grateful that I am able to be a depart of the process, ensuring they are treated with love and esteem, making it peaceful, love and pain-free .
If I can aid in that action, even at the end of their liveliness, I see that as a success, preferably than a failure. I see it as a endow of peace and I have been able to develop a goodly position about it, focusing on what I can give in each situation, what I can learn, and how that will help my future patients. I strive to look ahead, preferably than dwell on the past and what I couldn ’ metric ton change, and I besides celebrate the ways I was able to comfort that animal and the owner of that pet, flush in the worst of times .
I know finding opportunities for advancement within the field is cited by many as an exit for veterinarian technical school. I have been able to overcome this by always thinking about what other responsibilities I can take on, what extra skills—technical, administrative, and leadership-oriented—I can obtain to be more valuable .
Do you have any advice for aspiring vet techs?
My advice for aspiring veterinary technicians would be to focus on mathematics and science in the years leading astir to college, as it is a boastfully separate of what we do every day in exercise. [ These skills ] will help them be successful in a vet technical school course of study. many students cringe at the thought of mathematics, but I encourage my students to recognize what a bad contribution mathematics will play in helping animals, such as alleviating pain, calculating anesthetic dosages, and giving life-saving medicine .
To me, it ’ s all about mentality. Once it ’ second something that is important to you, it changes your view about it. I wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate precisely passionate about mathematics in high school, but once I realized how authoritative it was in relation to my ability to help an animal in motivation, it changed everything. critical think and problem-solving are a big part of our speculate, and being able to develop these skills will allow you to provide better concern for your patients and make you a more valuable team penis, allowing you to do fantastic things for these animals who are relying on you for help .

Scope of Practice for Vet Techs

When thinking about how to become a vet technical school, it ’ second significant to illuminate the world that NAVTA distinguishes between veterinarian technicians and vet technologists. veterinary technicians typically have a biennial associate degree, while technologists have a four-year knight bachelor ’ s degree and may take on greater responsibilities in a clinic.

In both fields, the scope of practice and laws governing professional credentialing vary wide by state. several states, for example, allow non-veterinarians to perform equine dentistry. These include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Texas, to name a few. early states do not allow vet technical school to fulfill this function .
additionally, a majority of states require their veterinarian technical school to secure state licensure, certification, or registration, while others do not regulate professional credentialing. oscilloscope of commit for each state can be found at Veterinary State Board Websites .
Schools By State

How to Become A Veterinary Technician

As mentioned above, the requirements to become a vet technical school change by submit and specialization. There are different regional laws that define the setting of rehearse in this field. For example, states such as New Jersey do not require their vet technical school to be professionally credentialed. other states such as Tennessee or Indiana require that these animal healthcare workers be licensed and registered, respectively .
For areas requiring professional documentation, adjustment, or licensure, the requirements typically involve completing two to four years of postsecondary education at an approve institution, in addition to paying an application fee and maintaining the certificate through the completion of continuing education ( CE ) hours .
hera ’ s a detail bit-by-bit steer for how to become a vet technical school :
STEP 1: Graduate from high school or get a diploma-equivalent like a GED. In summation to a love of animals and empathy, vet technical school typically have hard backgrounds in skill with senior high school marks in classes such as biota, physiology ( if offered ), and chemistry. Due to the hands-on lab work involved in many vet technical school positions, students must be comfortable handling sensitive scientific instruments, conducting tests, and interpreting results. Some people at this stage may find it useful to volunteer in animal clinics, shelters, or other facilities handling furred, feathered, or scaly-skinned patients .
STEP 2: Complete an accredited degree program in veterinary technology or animal science (two to four years). Regardless of one ’ mho country of residence, it ’ s advisable to seek out consort or bachelor ’ s degree programs accredited by the Committee on Veterinary technician Education and Activities ( CVTEA ), a outgrowth of the American Veterinary Medical Association ( AVMA ). The CVTEA evaluates factors such as a broadcast ’ s comprehensiveness of course of study, scholar outcomes, quality of facilities, finances, and admissions processes .
Admissions committees at CVTEA-accredited programs generally call for official high school transcripts ( with coursework specified above ) ; official test scores ( SAT or ACT, and TOEFL for non-native speakers of English ) ; undergoing a setting check ; providing proof of immunizations and health policy ; and paying an application tip .
Some of the more competitive programs may call for veterinary have, letters of recommendation, or candidate interviews ampere well. typical courses in these veterinary technology programs include mammalian anatomy & physiology ; veterinary medical calculations ; pathology ; parasitology ; veterinary clinic management ; inquiry methods ; animal nursing ; anatomy & physiology ; microbiology ; pharmacology ; diagnostic imagination ; animal dentistry ; clinical toxicology ; anesthesia ; and veterinary medical ethics .
There are both on-campus and on-line veteran technical school schools available. It ’ randomness all-important to note that some express credentialing entities may waive the education prerequisite if a vet technical school has several years of know. Please verify regional requirements with local boards, a tilt of which is provided by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards ( AAVB ), or reference the “ Vet Tech Licensing & Renewal By State ” chart under .
STEP 3: Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (timeline and state requirements vary). This test—commonly referred to as the VTNE—is offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards ( AAVSB ). The VTNE is a distinctive requirement for licensure, certification, or registration as a vet technical school in most U.S. states. As a proxy for broadcast quality, national police mandates that schools must disclose their three-year, VTNE first-time pass rate among program graduates .
prospective students are encouraged to check out their program ’ s pass rate on this significant examination to verify that by students have met national standards. This $ 320 examination is offered during three monthlong periods annually and tests candidates ’ cognition in nine clear-cut domains : pharmacy & pharmacology ; surgical breastfeed ; dentistry ; lab procedures ; animal care and nurse ; diagnostic imagination ; anesthesia ; hand brake music ; and pain management .
STEP 4: Apply for state credentialing (timeline and state requirements vary). As mentioned above, vet technical school credentialing standards change by state but typically involve sending official transcripts from a CVTEA-accredited program ; submitting VTNE scores ; and paying an application tip. Some states such as Washington besides require a express examen as depart of their credentialing process, and others ask for official proof of american citizenship, pass photos, or a background determine .
States besides vary by the terminology of their credentialing in the profession, whether it be registered veterinarian technician ( RVT ), certified veterinary technician ( CVT ), or licensed veterinary technician ( LVT ). For more information on the master credentialing action, please reference the section below or individual department of state program pages .
STEP 5: Renew credential and complete continuing education (CE) requirements (timeline and state requirements vary). Vet technical school must maintain their professional licensure, registration, or authentication through the completion of CE hours. These can be fulfilled through certified conferences, publications, presentations, on-line coursework, and other methods. The types of approve CE change by region. A list of every state ’ s credentialing requirements, agencies, and CE information is in the vet technical school licensing chart below .

How to Become a Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS)

In accession to location and years of feel, obtaining a specialize certification is one way to increase earning electric potential in this field. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America ( NAVTA ) provides 12 specialties that can further enhance a candidate ’ second gain and career promotion likely. Vet technical school specialists ( VTS ) own a deeper aesculapian understand of a particular species or field of care. In some cases, an area of specialization may lead to a higher-paying position. Please note that to be credentialed by NAVTA forte academies, candidates must typically submit the follow :

  • An application (including a resume and a processing fee)
  • Copy of official licensure, registration, or certification as a vet tech in their state
  • Proof of 1,000-10,000 hours of experience in the specialty area
  • Verifiable hours of continuing education (CE)
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • A skills assessment (typically signed by a supervising vet)
  • A portfolio of case logs and detailed case studies
  • Pass an exam

here are the pathways to become respective types of veterinary technician specialists ( VTS ) :

Become a Veterinary Anesthesia & Analgesia Technician

veterinary anesthesia technical school assistant provide pain management during animal surgical procedures. These specialists are credentialed by the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Anesthesia and Analgesia (AVTAA) after accumulating 4,500 hours in administering anesthesia ; completing at least 50 case logs ; writing four in-depth reports ; submitting 40 hours of continuing department of education ( CE ) ; and passing an examination .

Become a Veterinary Behavior Technician

Animal behavior technicians perform research and help animals in overcoming common behavioral ( and psychological ) issues. After accumulating 4,000 hours of verified experience in this plain, they may be eligible for recognition by the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians (ABVT) .
Included as region of the application march, aspiring veterinarian behavior technical school must besides send their CV ; proof of membership in the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America ( NAVTA ) and the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians ( SVBT ) ; two letters of recommendation ; a skills judgment form ; proof of 40 hours of CE ; a case log with 50 patients ; and five in-depth encase reports. besides, they must publish a peer-reviewed article .
For more information about this field, please visit the pursue pages : veterinary psychologists and animal behavior programs, how to become an animal psychologist, and top 15 animal behavior professors .

Become a Veterinary Clinical Pathology Technician

These specialists have targeted train in the solicitation and analysis of biological samples such as bodily fluids to diagnose health conditions. They may be credentialed by the Academy of Veterinary Clinical Pathology Technicians (AVCPT) after completing 4,000 hours and 3 years of relevant feel ; 40 hours of CE ; a skills appraisal ; a casing log ; and three detail case reports. additionally, applicants must submit two letters of recommendation and guide a comprehensive examination to become members .

Become a Veterinary Clinical Practice Technician

Veterinary clinical exercise technicians have targeted skills working in an animal healthcare clinical setting, typically with a specific species. The Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice (AVTCP) offers three specialized VTS credentials in this area : canine/feline, alien companion animal, or production music .
To qualify, candidates must provide proof of express vet technical school credentialing ; have 10,000 hours of experience ( with 75 percentage in chosen peculiarity ) ; accomplished 40 hours of CE ; submit a skills assessment & cognition list ; provide five completed examination questions ; send a case log with at least 50 cases & four case reports ; get one letter of recommendation ; and pay an application fee. The annual examination gauges candidates ’ cognition in areas such as anesthesia & analgesia, behavior, general medicine, imaging, and surgical nursing .

Become a Veterinary Dental Technician

veterinarian dental technical school help oneself veterinarians in animal dental hygiene and surgical procedures. The Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians (AVDT) provides a credentialing process in this field .
To qualify, candidates must have 6,000 hours ( i, three years ) of experience as a veterinarian technical school ( including 1,000 hours in dental serve ) ; establish a VTS ( Dentistry ) mentor who can sign off on completed requirements ; complete peculiarity train ( 25 hours in a besotted lab, 15 hours in advance dental procedures ) ; submit two case logs ; complete two intra-oral radiological scans ( one cad, one cat-o’-nine-tails ) ; meet equipment and learn list requirements ; and pass a three-part examination. For information on some of the most talented direction in this field, please visit the vet dental professors page .

Become a Dermatology Veterinary Technician

These animal peel specialists comprise one of the newest specialties for veterinarian technical school. The Academy of Dermatology Veterinary Technicians (ADVT) offered its first VTS ( Dermatology ) credentialing examination in 2017. To qualify, applicants must submit proof of relevant education and work know, arsenic well as achieve a excrete score on an examination. The authentication is valid for three years .

Become a Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Technician

Veterinary emergency & critical care ( ECC ) technicians are trained to assist veterinarians with acute, critical care, and hand brake situations with animals. The Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians (AVECCT) credentials these specialists .
To qualify, aspiring VTS ( ECC ) must have NAVTA membership ; submit a replicate of current vet technical school license, registration, or certification in their state of practice ; provide proof of having worked a minimum 5,760 hours in ECC ; complete 25 hours of relevant CE ; send 50 encase logs & four event reports ; get two letters of recommendation ; complete a skills checklist ; and pass an examination .

Become an Equine Veterinary Technician

Equine veteran technical school provide surgical aid, tooth floating, vaccinations, and obstetrics to horses. The Academy of Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians (AEVNT) requires prospective members to submit a letter of purpose ; a resume ; proof of state vet technical school certificate ; at least 50 case logs ; five detailed subject reports ; two letters of recommendation ; a skills checklist ; a CE shape ; and an application fee. additionally, applicants must pass a comprehensive examination .

Become an Internal Medicine Veterinary Technician

These specialists are experts in non-surgical diseases and conditions in animals. The Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT) credentials applicants following the submission of a department of state veteran technical school license, documentation, or registration ; a CV ; proof of qualifying CE ; a skills shape ; a cognition checklist ; a case log shape ; four detailed case reports ; two letters of recommendation ; three electronically completed potential examination questions ; and an application tip. Applicants must besides pass an examination with five major domains : oncology, small animal medicine, big animal medicate, neurology, and cardiology .

Become a Veterinary Nutrition Technician

veterinary nutrition techs are experts in animal nutriment and train others on feed and practice routines. There are some schools with excellent veterinarian nutrition programs .
The main credentialing entity in this sphere is the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Techs, which requires candidates to show proof of state vet technical school credentialing ; have at least 4,000 hours of relevant experience ; complete 40 hours of qualifying CE ; and provide evidence of advance competence through case logs, in-depth case reports, and letters of recommendation. This VTS forte can be completed in either clinical or research areas .

Become a Veterinary Surgical Technician

veterinarian surgical technicians—the group requiring the most rigorous training—must have 10,000 hours ( i.e., five years ) of experience as a vet technical school prior to seeking credentialing through the Academy of Veterinary Surgical Technicians (AVST). At least 6,000 of these hours must have been in a surgical environment with 4,500 give entirely to performing surgical duties.

extra application requirements include 40 hours of CE ; a skills phase ; a case log of at least 50 cases ; four detail case reports ; two letters of recommendation ; and passing an examination .

Become a Veterinary Zoological Medicine Technician

veterinarian zoological medicine technicians provide healthcare services ( for example, venesection, pharmacology, emergency care, diagnostic image, etc. ) for alien animals. There are many hands-on alien animal vet technical school programs across the US that may qualify candidates to work in menagerie, animal sanctuaries, ballpark services, research centers, and wildlife refuges .
The Academy of Veterinary Zoological Medical Technicians (AVZMT) —the independent credentialing arrangement in this subfield—requires candidates to have at least 10,000 hours working in zoological medicine. additionally, applicants must submit a CV ; proof of 40 hours of CE ; 13 advanced skills checklists ; 40 casing logs ; and five detail case reports. finally, they must pass an examination which is offered annually .

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