How Long Does it Take to Become a Vet Tech?

How long does it take to become a veterinary technician? The answer may surprise you. Get the scoop on education requirements, job outlook and more.

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The Veterinary Technician Profession

The Veterinary Technician profession is a popular one that helps many people. The average person in this profession has a two-year degree, but some may have a four-year degree as well. The job outlook for this profession is good, and the average salary is around $33,000 per year.

What Does a Vet Tech Do?

The duties of a veterinary technician are both diverse and important. Techs often serve as the veterinarian’s right-hand person during animal surgeries and examinations. Many times, it is the vet tech who assists in restraining an animal while the veterinarian performs a procedure. Vet techs also perform diagnostic tests, take x-rays, administer vaccinations and provide other types of routine patient care.

In addition to working alongside veterinarians, vet techs also work closely with veterinary assistants and office staff. Techs may be responsible for training new employees, ordering supplies and handling appointment scheduling. Strong leadership skills are often necessary in this role. Some vet techs even choose to specialize in a particular area of veterinary medicine, such as dentistry or anesthesia.

What is the Work Environment Like for Vet Techs?

The work environment for veterinary technicians varies depending on the size and type of practice. Small animal practices, which are the most common, usually have an office area for administrative functions and a treatment area. The treatment area is typically divided into two areas: a surgical suite where operative procedures are performed and a larger area used for examination and diagnostic procedures, X-rays, dental prophylaxis, and other treatments. In 2017, about 65 percent of veterinary technicians worked in small animal hospitals.

Larger animal practices may be found on farms or ranches, or they may be in clinics that treat only large animals. Large animal clinics typically have surgical and treatment areas similar to those in small animal practices, but they also may have pens or stalls for housing the animals. Some veterinary technicians work exclusively with large animals. In 2017, about 5 percent of veterinary technicians worked in livestock farms or ranches and 7 percent in large animal hospitals or clinics.

What are the Physical Demands of Being a Vet Tech?

The job of a veterinary technician is both physically and emotionally demanding. Many times, veterinarians and vet techs must lift, hold, or restrain animals that are larger than they are. This can put stress on your back and legs. In addition, some animals may be sick, injured, or in pain, and they may behave aggressively.

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How to Become a Veterinary Technician

Becoming a veterinary technician generally requires completing a two-year Associate’s degree from an accredited community college or technical school. Some programs may offer a four-year Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology, but this is not currently required by most states. You will also need to complete a state-approved veterinary technician program and pass a credentialing exam. Once you have completed all of these steps, you will be able to work as a veterinary technician.

The Education Path to Becoming a Vet Tech

It typically takes between two and four years to become a veterinary technician, depending on the path you take. The majority of vet techs have an associate’s degree from a community college or technical school, but a growing number are opting for a bachelor’s degree, which can lead to increased job opportunities and higher earnings.

Those interested in becoming a vet tech can enroll in an accredited veterinary technology program offered at community colleges, technical schools, and some four-year colleges. These programs typically take two to four years to complete and include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. Coursework typically includes topics such as animal anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and pharmacology, as well as laboratory procedures and office skills. Students also receive practical experience through internships or externships at veterinary clinics or hospitals.

After completing a veterinary technology program, graduates must then pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) to become certified and licensed in most states. Some states may have additional requirements for licensure. Once licensed, vet techs can find employment in private veterinary practices, animal shelters, zoos, research laboratories, state or federal agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and more.

Certification and Licensing for Vet Techs

In order to become a licensed veterinary technician, you must graduate from an accredited veterinary technology program and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Depending on the state, you may also need to pass a state-specific exam. Once you have passed the VTNE, you will be able to apply for licensure in your state.

The process of becoming a certified veterinary technician generally takes 2-4 years. After completing a 2-year associate’s degree in veterinary technology, you will need to pass the VTNE in order to becomelicensed. You can then begin working as a veterinary technician while you complete the final two years of your education by taking online courses or through a distance learning program.

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The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE)

The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) is a credentialing exam used to determine whether or not an individual has the knowledge necessary to become a licensed veterinary technician. The VTNE is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

To be eligible to take the VTNE, candidates must have graduated from an accredited veterinary technology program. Candidates must also have met all other requirements set forth by the AAVSB, which include passing a criminal background check and a jurisprudence exam.

The VTNE is comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions that cover nine content areas: medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, animal nursing, pain management, pharmacology, surgery, diagnostic imaging, laboratory procedures and dentistry. Candidates are given four hours to complete the exam.

A score of 450 or higher is required to pass the VTNE. The passing score for each content area is also released after each administration of the exam. Scores are reported on a scale of 200-800, with 700 being the passing score for each content area.

The Future of Veterinary Technician Profession

A Veterinary Technician is a medically trained professional who works alongside veterinarians in animal hospitals, clinics, and shelters. They are responsible for animal nursing care, lab work, and often times act as the veterinarian’s right-hand person. The demand for veterinary technicians is expected to grow by 19% in the next ten years. ( Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018) This growth is largely due to the increasing popularity of pet ownership and advances in veterinary medicine.

The Job Market for Vet Techs

The job market for veterinary technicians is expected to grow by 19% from 2016-2026, much faster than the national average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This boom in job growth is largely due to the growing popularity of pet ownership and the expanding field of veterinary medicine.

In addition to traditional settings such as private veterinary practices, there are an increasing number of opportunities for vet techs in other settings such as animal shelters, zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and research laboratories.

The demand for qualified vet techs is also expected to rise in response to a growing emphasis on preventive care and the need for more trained professionals to assist veterinarians in providing quality care. The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) pass rate has been increasing steadily over the past few years, indicative of the growing number of qualified applicants entering the profession.

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The Salary of Vet Techs

The average salary for a veterinary technician in the United States is $33,280 per year, or $16.02 per hour. The top 10 percent of veterinary technicians earn more than $46,620 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earn less than $24,550 per year.

What Does the Future Hold for Vet Techs?

There is no doubt that the veterinary technician profession has grown immensely in popularity in recent years. With the rise of pet ownership and the awareness of the importance of animal care, Vet Techs have become an integral part of the animal health care team. But what does the future hold for this growing profession?

There are a number of factors that suggest that the demand for Vet Techs will continue to grow in the coming years. The first is the continued growth of the pet ownership rate. According to the American Pet Products Association, 68% of households in the United States own a pet, which is up from 56% just over two decades ago. This trend is expected to continue as more and more people see pets as members of their family.

Another factor that is expected to drive demand for Vet Techs is the aging population of baby boomers. As this large generation reaches retirement age, they are increasingly turning to pets for companionship. This trend is especially evident in the growth of dog ownership among seniors. According to APPA, 35% of households headed by someone over 65 years old own a dog, which is up from 25% in 1988.

The third factor that is projected to impact Vet Tech demand is the increasing emphasis on preventive care. As people become more aware of the importance of preventive care for their own health, they are increasingly seeking out preventive care for their pets as well. This trend is reflected in APPA’s statistic that 47% of dog owners and 38% of cat owners took their pet to a veterinarian for preventive care in 2017, up from 29% and 24%, respectively, just 10 years earlier.

All of these trends point to continued strong demand for Vet Techs in the coming years. If you are considering a career in veterinary technology, now is a great time to enter this growing field!

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