In a nutshell, a veterinary behavior technician or a VBT is a professional who trains animals and who closely studies their behavior – this field has grown very rapidly over the past few years, and it combines elements of behavior analysis and behavior modifications. It is the duty of the veterinary behavior technician to evaluate and to determine whether there are any signs of mental, physical or behavioral issues that the veterinarian might address. The veterinary behavior technician works with all sorts of animals, ranging from small and domestic animals to large or exotic ones, and they can get a job in zoological care, animal therapy, support dog work, animal research, pet training units, private practices and such.
It is also the duty of the VBT to discuss with the owner of the pet and to thoroughly explain him everything he needs to know about the behavior of animals – in some cases, the veterinary behavior technician may also provide pet counseling services and teach clients how to apply certain behavior modification techniques on their pets in order to strengthen the bond between humans and animals. On the other hand, it often happens that trained and skilled VBTs also work closely with other qualified trainers and they address a variety of different behavioral concerns.
What Training Does One Need In Order To Become A Veterinary behavior Technician?
Just like any other career in the field of veterinary medicine, becoming a veterinary behavior training requires some degree of formal education: all veterinary behavior technicians that live and work in the USA nowadays start off as veterinary technicians, and after they have received their high school diploma and their Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Medicine offered by an institution accredited by AVMA or the American Veterinary Medical Association, they can move on and specialize in the desired field. The training period can last anywhere between two and four years, depending on whether the student pursues an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree, and whether he attends full-time or part-time classes. At the time being, there are hundreds of AVMA-accredited veterinary training programs in the United States of America.
It is important for VBTs to pass the NVT-administered national licensing exam in order to get their certification within their state of employment, as this significantly increases the chances of the VBT getting a job and pursuing a blossoming career in veterinary medicine. Nonetheless, even after receiving all the diplomas and the certification, the veterinary behavior technician will still have to continue his education in the long run by opting for classes that keep him up to date with the progress in veterinary medicine. Such classes are offered by numerous institutions across the United States of America, one of the most known is the AVBT or the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians.
Pursuing Your Certification As A Veterinary Behavior Technician
It is important for all professionals who plan to work as veterinary behavior technicians in veterinary medicine to pursue their certification that is provided by NAVTA, a specialized organization that has been offering VBT certifications ever since this veterinary medicine specialty was recognized, back in 2008. The certification will not only help you get a salary raise, but it will also give you a lot more credibility in front of an employer, thus increasing your chances of getting a job.
Those who want to become certified must meet several requirements: having said that, it is important for every VBT to show proof of graduation from an AVMA-accredited institution, as well as at least 3 years of practical experience in the field of VBT or 4,000 hours of clinical training.
A letter of recommendation from a veterinary technician with some experience in behavioral training is also recommended, and so are 40 hours of continuing education in VBT. It is also recommended to be a member in good standing of both the SVBT and the NAVTA: the certification itself is relatively simple and straightforward, but you must thoroughly prepare for it, and after you have managed to become a certified veterinary behavioral technician you will see a wide array of job opportunities and possibilities to advance in your career, as well as better salary options.