Vet techs have the opportunity to seen as saviors; professionals who helped Snuffles get better when she was sick, or who saved Spot after he got into the Christmas candy. The world of veterinary medicine is increasingly important as more people adopt pets. Here’s what you need to do to become a vet tech.
To become a successful veterinary technician, you will need to learn to work in a stressful environment while keeping a cool head. Vet techs must be detail-oriented and compassionate to balance the requirements of this job. Additionally, building your communication skills is an important prerequisite to becoming a vet tech, since you will be communicating constantly with animal owners and also other office staff.
Training & Education
In addition to building the right skill set, you also need to gain the necessary knowledge and education. Most states require licensure or registration to be a vet tech, although some do not. However, it is best to become a qualified vet tech to improve your odds of being hired. The Veterinary Technician National Examination is comprised of 200 questions that test your rudimentary understanding of vet tech knowledge. Passing this test will certify you as a vet tech. You do not have to have any training or specific schooling to take the Vet Tech National Examination, but having a vet tech degree will help you thoroughly understand the topics on the test.
A two-year degree in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology will really help you along your path. There are more than 200 vet tech programs offered in the United States, including eight distance-learning programs that you can participate in without having to be on campus. Just be sure that whichever program you choose is certified by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Programs that aren’t AVMA approved won’t carry much weight in the industry.
Earning an associate’s degree trains a prospective vet tech in pharmacology, animal anatomy and physiology, anesthesia, and nursing for both small and large animals. You may also be able to specialize in such fields as
- equine treatment
- exotic animal medicine
- internal medicine
- dental treatment
- behavior modification
Obtaining a two-year degree will help you make contacts and build a network in the veterinary world, as well as sets you up for acceptance into a bachelor’s program for veterinary studies if you’d like to progress further in your career. Doing well in school will help you achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech.
What to Do
After graduating with your two-year degree, you can begin reaching out to veterinary practices who are hiring for a vet tech. With your educational training, you will stand out from applicants who do not have experience in the vet world. Hopefully, you’ve used your time wisely in school and volunteered or interned at a vet practice; maybe they are interested in hiring you as a full-time vet tech now that you’ve finished school.
You could also talk to classmates or professors from your program and ask for referrals to practices who need a vet tech. There is an increasing need for vet techs all across the United States, but particularly in the west where farming and herding is more prevalent.
Your Future as a Vet Tech
Some vet techs want to continue their studies and advance in their career to become veterinarians or even board-certified vets. Others choose to remain in the technician role; assisting doctors. Purchasing a veterinarian practice can often cost more than $1 million. It can make sense to stay in a tech role if you enjoy working with animals but don’t want to deal with the administrative and managerial duties of owning your own practice (and paying for medical school). The best thing you can do once you’ve landed a job as a vet tech is to gain as much hands-on experience as possible. It’s one thing to have the degree or the certification, but quite another to actually know what to do with the animal in front of you.
Being a vet tech is a rewarding career that allows you to work with a variety of animals. You get to really make a difference, for both your animal patients and their loving owners. A pet can be an irreplaceable part of a family’s life and caring for that pet earns you a place in their owners’ hearts as well. Additionally, your services are extremely important to ranchers, farmers and others whose livelihood rests on the health and well-being of their animals. If you want to become a vet tech, the industry needs you!