How to Get a Vet Tech License

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Veterinary Technicians provid much needed assistance to veterinarians in animal hospitals, pet care clinics, and medical research facilities. Trained more extensively than a veterinary assistant, a veterinary technician handles a number of responsibilities that deal with the direct care of animals.Becoming a veterinary technician is generally a two or four-year process, involving classroom and clinical study. Once the course of study is complete, the national licensing exam must be passed. Becoming a licensed veterinary technician requires a commitment to the coursework, persistence, and time.

Things You'll Need

  • Veterinary technician program
  • Passing score on exam administered by State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

Completing a Veterinary Technician Program

  • Choose a training program. These programs are either two-year courses, which will lead to Associates degree, or four-year course, which will result in a Bachelor of Science degree. A Veterinary Technician who holds a four-year degree will generally earn a higher salary and more than often have more responsibility on the job. Whether you take a two or four-year course will depend on the time you have to commit to training, what earning level you wish to attain, and the availability of programs in your area. In addition to on-campus programs, many school also offer distance programs whereby a student completes classroom coursework through online courses and clinical work through a veterinary located in the student's home area.To find the Veterinary Technician program that is right for you, it is a great idea to consult the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website listing of accredited programs. An accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association will assure that a graduate can sit for the state licensing exam.

  • Determine that you have meet the prequisites to apply for the the program of you choice. For example: High school graduation or equivalent (a high school transcript is required); Minimum high school or college subject matter prerequisites:Biology - 2 semesters, Chemistry - 2 semesters, Academic Math - 4 semesters, English - 8 semesters; Submission of the SAT-I or the ACT. Be sure to check the requirements of your chosen school and consider applying to more than one program. Fill out all application materials thoroughly.

  • Complete both classroom courses and clinical work. The classroom courses will cover a wide area of subject area involving animals and their care. You will need to committ ample time to each course to earn the minimum grades required by your program. The Veterinary Technician curriculum is likely to be comprised of large and small animal anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, nursing, pathology and additional topics. Most programs require completion of a set number of credits and courses that are moved into the clinical portion of the curriculum.

  • Begin a clinical practicum, working in a veterinary office or lab on the campus of your program. If you are in a distance program, you will work with your faculty advisers and a local veterinary office to fulfill the requirements. Once this practicum is complete to the requirements of your program, and you have completed all course work, you have met the critieria for the Veterinary Technician degree! Congratulations!

The Veterinary Technician State Exam

  • Research exam requirements. Once you are a graduate of an accredited Veterinary Technician program, you are eligible to take the credentialing or licensing exam required by your state. This exam is the final step toward becoming a licensed Vet Tech. The first place to check for information on your state's exam requirements is with your adviser or counselor at your college or university. Each state regulates their Veterinary Technicians differently, calling them "registered" (RVT), "licensed" (LVT), and some calling Vet Techs who have passed the required exams "certified" (CVT). Most states use the Veterinary Technician National Exam. You can find out what your state requires at the American Association of Veterinary State Boards web site.

  • Schedule the test and prepare. There are many study aids, such as workbooks and flash cards, available for sale through various online retailers. Your fellow program graduates may organize study groups and your program may offer practice tests.

  • Take the exam. Passing scores vary from state to state. Once you have passed the exam, you are a Licensed, Certified, or Registered Veterinary Technician. Congratulations!

Tips & Warnings

  • Beware of correspondence courses offered through television and internet ads. Most correspondence courses, as apposed to accredited distance programs, do not meet AVMA standards for accreditation. Graduates of correspondence courses are not allowed to stand for credentialing exams in the majority of the states.

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