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Become A Certified Veterinary Technician

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Working As A Certified Veterinary Technician

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Deal with People

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $32,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Certified Veterinary Technician Do

Veterinary technologists and technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing the injuries and illnesses of animals.

Duties

Veterinary technologists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Observe the behavior and condition of animals
  • Provide nursing care or emergency first aid to recovering or injured animals
  • Bathe animals, clip nails or claws, and brush or cut animals’ hair
  • Restrain animals during exams or procedures
  • Administer anesthesia to animals, and monitor their responses
  • Collect laboratory samples, such as blood, urine, or tissue, for testing
  • Perform laboratory tests, such as urinalyses and blood counts
  • Take and develop x rays
  • Prepare animals and instruments for surgery
  • Administer medications, vaccines, and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Collect and record patients’ case histories

Veterinarians rely on technologists and technicians to conduct a variety of clinical and laboratory procedures, including postoperative care, dental care, and specialized nursing care.

Veterinary technologists and technicians who work in research-related jobs do similar work. For example, they are responsible for making sure that animals are handled carefully and treated humanely. They also help veterinarians or scientists on research projects in areas such as biomedical research, disaster preparedness, and food safety.

Veterinary technologists and technicians most often work with small-animal practitioners who care for cats and dogs, but they may also perform a variety of tasks involving mice, rats, sheep, pigs, cattle, birds, or other animals.

Veterinary technologists and technicians can specialize in a particular discipline. Specialties include dentistry, anesthesia, emergency and critical care, and zoological medicine.

Veterinary technologists usually have a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Although some technologists work in private clinical practices, many work in more advanced research-related jobs, usually under the guidance of a scientist or veterinarian. Working primarily in a laboratory setting, they may administer medications; prepare tissue samples for examination; or record information on an animal’s genealogy, weight, diet, and signs of pain.

Veterinary technicians usually have a 2-year associate’s degree in a veterinary technology program. They generally work in private clinical practices under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Technicians may perform laboratory tests, such as a urinalysis, and help veterinarians conduct a variety of other diagnostic tests. Although some of their work is done in a laboratory setting, many technicians also talk with animal owners. For example, they explain a pet’s condition or how to administer medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

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How To Become A Certified Veterinary Technician

There are primarily two levels of education for entry into this occupation: a 4-year program for veterinary technologists and a 2-year program for veterinary technicians. Typically, both technologists and technicians must pass a credentialing exam and must become registered, licensed, or certified, depending on the state in which they work.

Education

Veterinary technologists and technicians must complete a postsecondary program in veterinary technology. In 2015, there were 231 veterinary technology programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Most of these programs offer a 2-year associate’s degree for veterinary technicians. Twenty-three colleges offer a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. Nine schools offer coursework through distance learning. 

People interested in becoming a veterinary technologist or technician should take high school classes in biology and other sciences, as well as math.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although each state regulates veterinary technologists and technicians differently, most candidates must pass a credentialing exam. Most states require technologists and technicians to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

For technologists seeking work in a research facility, the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) offers the following certifications for technicians and technologists: Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT) and Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG).

Although certification is not mandatory, workers at each level can show competency in animal husbandry, health and welfare, and facility administration and management to prospective employers. To become certified, candidates must have work experience in a laboratory animal facility and pass the AALAS examination.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Veterinary technologists and technicians spend a substantial amount of their time communicating with supervisors, animal owners, and other staff. In addition, a growing number of technicians counsel pet owners on animal behavior and nutrition.

Compassion. Veterinary technologists and technicians must treat animals with kindness and must be sensitive when dealing with the owners of sick pets.

Detail oriented. Veterinary technologists and technicians must pay attention to detail. They must be precise when recording information, performing diagnostic tests, and administering medication.

Manual dexterity. Veterinary technologists and technicians must handle animals, medical instruments, and laboratory equipment with care. They do intricate tasks, such as dental work, giving anesthesia, and taking x rays, which require a steady hand.

Problem-solving skills. Veterinary technologists and technicians need strong problem-solving skills in order to identify injuries and illnesses and offer the appropriate treatment.

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Certified Veterinary Technician Career Paths

Certified Veterinary Technician
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Surgical Technician Technician Consultant
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Surgical Technician Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Surgical Technician Licensed Practical Nurse Clinical Coordinator
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Veterinary Technician Technician Administrator
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Veterinary Technician Technician Group Leader
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Registered Veterinary Technician Technical Instructor Project Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Team Leader Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Team Leader Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Team Leader Office Manager
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Animal Technician Scientist Principal Investigator
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Veterinarian Technician Manager Case Manager
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Veterinarian Technician Manager Assistant Director
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Veterinarian Technician Office Manager Practice Manager
Hospitality Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Emergency Veterinary Technician Licensed Practical Nurse Utilization Review Nurse
Medical Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Clinical Coordinator Practice Administrator
Medical Practice Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Surgery Technician 3.3 years
Veterinary Nurse 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Certified Veterinary Technician
Internship 7.4%
Cashier 5.2%
Volunteer 5.2%
Technician 2.4%
Assistant 2.0%
Waitress 1.5%
Server 1.4%
Top Careers After Certified Veterinary Technician
Internship 4.6%
Owner 3.9%
Cashier 3.9%
Technician 3.8%
Volunteer 3.6%

Do you work as a Certified Veterinary Technician?

Certified Veterinary Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

84.8%

Male

7.8%

Unknown

7.3%
Ethnicity

White

73.3%

Hispanic or Latino

11.4%

Black or African American

7.9%

Asian

4.3%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

83.3%

French

16.7%

Certified Veterinary Technician Education

Schools

Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology

20.5%

Globe University

12.1%

Argosy University-Twin Cities

8.4%

Minnesota School of Business

8.2%

Saint Petersburg College

7.1%

Vet Tech Institute

5.2%

Madison Area Technical College

5.0%

Ridgewater College

4.3%

Joliet Junior College

3.7%

University of Phoenix

3.0%

Mount Ida College

2.8%

Wilson College

2.6%

Colorado State University

2.6%

Rockford Career College

2.6%

Harcum College

2.4%

Parkland College

2.4%

Becker College

2.2%

Johnson College

1.9%

Manor College

1.7%

Cox College

1.5%
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Majors

Medical Assisting Services

58.7%

Veterinary Science

6.5%

Business

5.3%

Nursing

4.5%

Animal Science

4.3%

Biology

3.9%

Veterinary Medicine

3.1%

Military Applied Sciences

2.2%

Medical Technician

2.1%

Health Care Administration

2.0%

Management

1.4%

Psychology

0.9%

Accounting

0.9%

Education

0.8%

General Studies

0.6%

Liberal Arts

0.6%

Public Health

0.5%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

0.5%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

0.5%

Zoology

0.5%
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Degrees

Associate

59.6%

Bachelors

19.7%

Other

12.4%

Masters

3.0%

Certificate

2.8%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Top Skills for A Certified Veterinary Technician

  1. Patient Care
  2. Laboratory Tests
  3. Anesthesia
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Established strong client relationships and delivered instruction and education regarding patient care as created by the veterinarian.
  • Perform laboratory tests on blood, urine, or feces to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of animal health problems.
  • Administered anesthetics before surgery, monitored anesthesia while patient was under anesthesia, and monitored effects prior to surgery.
  • Performed post-operative care following advanced surgical procedures
  • Define techniques and coach owners how to modify aggressive behavior, inappropriate urination and separation anxiety.

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