The school, certification and licensing of a vet tech are incredibly important. This career has many responsibilities that must be performed correctly.
A vet tech is a critical part of the veterinary practice. A formal education is necessary to understand and provide the care needed by sick and injured animals.
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The proper certification is required to ensure the necessary skills have been learned. The career brings a lot of satisfaction. And provides an important service.
The Available Degrees for Vet Tech Certification
Although a formal degree is required, the candidate has several different choices. Most vet techs choose an Associate’s degree to enter the field of veterinary medicine.
An Associate’s degree will provide the education necessary to have a successful career. The schooling required is also less than to earn a Bachelor’s degree. There are benefits to both degrees.
The Associate’s Degree
The Associate’s degree is the most common to begin the certification for a vet tech. This is mainly due to the fact it involves less time in school. It is critical the school has been accredited.
The average time required to earn an Associate’s degree is between 16 and 24 months. There are online schools offering accelerated programs that will reduce the time necessary to earn a degree.
This enables the student to begin their career much sooner than with a Bachelor’s degree. This degree is usually offered at most universities and colleges.
The Bachelor’s Degree
A Bachelor’s degree is much less common for the vet tech certification process. This is both an asset and a hindrance.
A vet tech earning a Bachelor’s degree during the certification process will be eligible for a higher rate of pay. This is because of the extra training and knowledge received in school.
The average length of time required to earn a Bachelor’s degree is four years. This will delay beginning a career, which is why most students do not choose this path.
The choice between a career with the ability to make a larger salary and finishing school faster must be considered carefully.
The Testing and Certification Required for a Vet Tech
The regulations for vet tech certification has variations according to the state. Most states require the candidate to pass a credentialing examination.
The test used in most states is the VTNE, or the Veterinary Technician National Exam. The student must pass this examination to become licensed, certified, or registered to practice.
The terminology also varies by the state, but the test must be passed. There are 200 questions on the VTNE.
The questions are multiple choice, and the lest lasts for four hours. The AAVSB, or the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, is responsible for the preparation of the test.
The certification exam for a vet tech can be taken at a specific time of this year. These times are decided by the state.
The certification examination covers seven major areas. These areas are critical to entry level candidates wanting to practice as a vet tech. The students must be proficient in the following categories:
- Surgical preparation and assisting
- Pharmacy and pharmacology
- Laboratory procedures
- Dentistry procedures
- Radiography, ultrasound, etc.
- Animal nursing
The AAVSB has a website from which vet tech students can purchase copies of the certification practice examination.
All students should contact the board of health within their state because the rules for certification and licensing as a vet tech do vary.
The Basic Courses
The courses taught are designed to provide all the knowledge required by a vet tech, and to assist with the certification process. This includes everything from emergency procedures to animal behavior.
For any potential vet tech who chooses an area of specialization within the field, the courses will change a little. The certification will remain the same. The general courses include:
- Anesthesia training
- Basic animal nursing care
- Animal diseases
- Vet anatomy
- Vet physiology
- Vet pathology
- Surgical nursing for animals
- Pharmaceutical training
- Clinical training
- Lab training
The certification process for a vet tech includes hands-on experience. All accredited schools must include clinical hands-on experience for their students.
This period is referred to as an externship, an internship, a practicum or a preceptorship. This part of the certification process is critical for a vet tech because it reduces the time on the job spent learning.
The accrediting organization with the most influence in the veterinary field is the AVMA, or the American Veterinary Medicine Association. The Veterinary Technician Education and Activities committee of the AVMA is responsible for the standards required for accreditation.
The certification for the vet tech school’s accreditation is critical. This is what enables students to receive federal financial aid.
Many employers insist not only on the standard certification but want a vet tech who attended an accredited school. Most employers believe the students gain a better education through an accredited school.