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Become A Registered Veterinary Technician

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Working As A Registered 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

  • $33,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Registered 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 Registered 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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Average Length of Employment
Surgery Technician 3.3 years
Veterinary Nurse 3.0 years
Technician 2.7 years
Top Careers Before Registered Veterinary Technician
Internship 6.7%
Volunteer 4.5%
Cashier 3.3%
Server 1.8%
Top Careers After Registered Veterinary Technician
Cashier 4.3%
Volunteer 4.1%
Internship 3.2%
Technician 3.2%
Owner 2.4%

Do you work as a Registered Veterinary Technician?

Registered Veterinary Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

83.6%

Male

9.7%

Unknown

6.7%
Ethnicity

White

64.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.7%

Black or African American

9.6%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.9%

French

9.5%

German

9.5%

Cherokee

4.8%

Japanese

4.8%

Polish

4.8%

Thai

4.8%
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Registered Veterinary Technician Education

Schools

Stautzenberger College

12.3%

Columbus State Community College

11.7%

Purdue University

8.4%

Bradford School

7.5%

Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology

5.7%

Vet Tech Institute

5.4%

Jefferson College

4.8%

International Business College - Indianapolis

4.5%

Cedar Valley College

4.2%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

3.6%

Cuyahoga Community College

3.6%

University of Cincinnati

3.6%

Mt San Antonio College

3.6%

Hickey College

3.6%

Carrington College California - Sacramento

3.3%

Saint Petersburg College

3.0%

International Business College - Fort Wayne

3.0%

Cosumnes River College

2.7%

Pierce College at Puyallup

2.7%

Los Angeles Pierce College

2.7%
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Majors

Medical Assisting Services

64.5%

Animal Science

7.5%

Veterinary Science

4.7%

Nursing

4.0%

Veterinary Medicine

4.0%

Business

3.7%

Biology

2.2%

Medical Technician

1.7%

General Studies

0.8%

Psychology

0.8%

Military Applied Sciences

0.7%

Education

0.7%

Communication

0.7%

Accounting

0.7%

Agriculture

0.6%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

0.6%

Criminal Justice

0.6%

Health Sciences And Services

0.5%

Management

0.5%

Environmental Science

0.5%
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Degrees

Associate

63.8%

Bachelors

17.7%

Other

10.9%

Masters

3.0%

Certificate

2.7%

Doctorate

0.9%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Registered Veterinary Technician

  1. Patient Care
  2. Lab Equipment
  3. Anesthesia
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided patient care to hospitalized patients while maintaining surgical facilities and records as well as provided client education.
  • Perform preventive maintenance on emergency equipment and lab equipment.
  • Assisted doctors in all surgeries by preparing animals to include administering anesthesia and antibiotics.
  • Practiced sterile technique throughout all types of surgical procedures and packed surgical instruments for autoclave sterilization.
  • Perform advanced patient monitoring and treatment for critically ill patients and minor invasive treatments with minimal supervision.

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