A veterinary nutrition technician is a veterinary health care provider of utmost importance in the field of veterinary medicine – in a nutshell, these vet techs, commonly known as VNTs, have received their certification in the field of animal nutrition provided by the AVNT (the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians) and they are specialists in their field. Veterinary nutrition technicians have a high level of skill, knowledge and expertise in the specialty of veterinary nutrition, and the primary certifying agency for veterinary technicians who want to pursue their certification in animal nutrition is NAVTA, or the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.
The job duties and responsibilities of a veterinary nutrition technician in the US are many: for instance, these professionals may perform body condition scoring, they may assess the overall nutritional needs of the animal depending on his age, breed and size, and he may also have to restrain the animal patient during the evaluation and check to see whether the animal suffers from any known food-related illnesses or allergies. In addition to this, it is also the duty of the veterinary nutrition technician to record and to monitor the vital signs of the patient, to take tissue or blood samples to be sent over to the laboratory for further testing, to administer fluids, update the medical file of the patient and so on and so forth.
Education Requirements For Becoming A Veterinary Nutrition Technician
The first step you need to take in order to become a veterinary nutrition technician is to firstly become a VT, and then to pursue a certification in the desired field (animal nutrition, in this case) provided by the AVNT. The most difficult part of the entire process is certainly getting your Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree from a veterinary technician training institution that is accredited by AVMA, or the American Veterinary Medical Association.
In addition to the classic training, you will also need to have at least 4,000 hours of practical training and experience in the field of animal nutrition, along with 40 hours of approved continuing education in a field that is directly related to animal nutrition. It is of utmost important for the candidate to complete these 40 hours within a maximum period of three years from the moment of the candidate’s application.
An internship or a residency training are also highly recommended, as it will help all the future veterinary nutrition technicians get a deeper insight into animal nutrition, as well as get all the necessary hands-on experience. Throughout the course of the training, all students will work under the close surveillance of a mentor who is a board certified veterinary nutritionist. Also, during the internship all students will have to prepare three case reports as prerequisites to taking the board examination.
The job outlook for veterinary nutrition technicians is on the rise, according to the BLS or the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and certification is of utmost importance for those who want to work in this field. A certified veterinary technician gets a higher level of skill and knowledge in the chosen area of expertise.
Every vet tech who wants to specialize in the field of animal nutrition must also provide thorough evidence of their skill and knowledge in this field: they must complete forms, provide two letters of recommendation from other veterinary medicine professionals that work in the field of animal nutrition, a case log, as well as no less than five detailed case studies. Only after meeting these requirements the applicant can move on to applying for the AVNT certification exam in order to become a VNT, or a veterinary nutrition technician. The AVNT exam is your last educational barrier, and after you cross it you will be able to legally work as a veterinary nutrition technician in the US.
As mentioned above, even after becoming certified as a VNT these professionals will still need to get more education in the area of veterinary nutrition through RACE, or the Registry of Approved Continuing Education, which offers in-depth training courses for all the different species of animals. During the training, you will learn the basics of nutritional management, how to prepare homemade meals, how to administer different medical and nutritional treatments according to each animal species, as well as how to specially formulate pet foods and supplements.