Veterinary technicians are an important part of the veterinary service with the majority of them having a bachelor’s degree that is the minimum requirement for anybody aspiring to practice as a vet technician. While a bachelor’s degree is the main prerequisite for you to practice, it’s not the only option available to you. You can get more qualifications to enable you to ascend to positions of responsibility that obviously comes with more earnings.
What Does a Veterinary Technician Program Entail?
There are two degree programs you can take in veterinary technician schools; an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree. Here’s a breakdown on what each of these degree programs entail.
Associate’s Degree – This is by far the most common path taken by most veterinary technicians. It takes 16 to 24 months to complete the program. The main reason for the program’s popularity is because it takes less time to complete and can set you on the correct launch pad for a new career much faster. You can get your associate’s degree at a community college.
Bachelor’s Degree – Not so many technicians have a bachelor’s degree and due to its scarcity it becomes priceless once you’ve obtained it. When you have a bachelor’s degree, not only do you stand a chance to scale to higher heights when it comes to your career, but you will certainly earn more. However, it takes relatively longer to complete (4 years) which explains the reason behind the scarcity of this degree.
What Certification Do You Need?
Veterinary technician certification varies from one state to another. However, most states demand that candidates take a credentialing exam. The benchmark used to grade students in most states is the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). It’s imperative to point out that you can’t practice as a veterinarian technician unless you’re licensed or registered as per your state’s regulations.
The time set to complete the VTNE exam is 4 hours within which you’re expected to answer 200 multiple choice questions. The American Association of Veterinary States Board(AVVSB) is the sole body that prepares the exam. Students can take the exam at a specific time depending on the state on their location. The exam tests you on seven main areas of proficiency and education. These are:
- Dentistry procedures
- Animal nursing
- Surgical preparations
- Pharmacy and pharmacology
- Surgical preparation and assisting
Students can always buy practice exams on the AAVSB’s website. You should confer with your state’s board of health for precise requirements before sitting for the exam due the fact that certification and licensing regulations differ from one state to another.
Veterinary Technician Classes
All the classes in veterinary technician schools aim at conveying the knowledge that is necessary for you to practice from understanding animal behavior to conducting emergency procedures. Students who want to concentrate on specific areas of study might take a slight deviation from other programs. The general topics you will cover in a vet tech class include:
- Animal diseases
- Pharmaceutical training
- Vet pathology biochemistry
- Basic animal nursing care
- Vet physiology and anatomy
- Surgical nursing for animals
- Training on Anesthesia
As you press forward with your degree, you will be trained on lab and clinical training.
Is There Accreditation for Your Program?
The most recognized institution which offers accreditation in the veterinary circles is the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA). Their special committee sets the standards for veterinary technician schools accreditation. The same body is in charge of reviewing their curriculum.
Is there Any Importance in Attending an Accredited Vet Tech School?
There’s every reason to attend an accredited vet tech school as this gives you a better chance of getting federal financial aid. It also increases your chance of employment since your potential employers will know that you got your training from a recognized institution.
You’re also able to transfer accumulated credits to other programs recognized nationally when you attend an accredited veterinary school.
What are the Types of Technician School Accreditation?
While you can easily transfer the credits earned in nationally accredited programs, the scenario is different with colleges having a regional accreditation. However, credits earned from any of the six accredited agencies which are recognized by the Department of Education can be transferred to nationally accredited programs.
Can I take Vet Tech Online Programs?
There is no harm in enrolling for veterinary technician programs online. However, most of the students who take this route do so because they are not in a position to attend physical classes due to a number of reasons. You may consider going the online way if:
- Your work program leaves you with little time to attend classes
- You have small children or elderly parents under your care
- You’re located far off from the physical location of the vet tech school
The growth in the number of students opting to take their courses online has seen many veterinary technician schools offer a distance learning option. You can now complete your program without having to be physically present at the school. Unlike physical classes, online programs involve learning through videos that allow you to view the regular class as part of your education. Homework assistance is also part of most vet tech programs.
Conceivably, the greatest advantage of online vet tech programs is the autonomy to schedule a class to be in tandem with your personal schedule. In other words, these programs enable you choose the perfect time and the most conducive environment to conduct your studies.
Internships and Externships
Hands-on experience is very essential for veterinary technician students. Thus, before qualifying for accreditation, veterinary technician schools are required to offer a hands-on clinical experience to each and every student. This hands-on experience period is referred to as internship, practicum or externship. You should learn as much as you can during this period so as to reduce the amount of time you’ll spend learning on the job once you secure employment.
The quality of education is of extreme importance particularly when it’s in the field of medicine. Thus, the need to attend an accredited vet tech school cannot be overstated. Not only will you have a competitive edge over other job seekers but you increase your chances of getting higher earnings especially when you’re a bachelor’s degree holder. With this comprehensive guide on veterinary technician schools, your quest to start a new career will certainly start on a point of information.