What Degree Do You Need to Be a Vet Tech?

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What Degree Do You Need to Be a Vet Tech?

If you enjoy working with animals, you might want to try to become a veterinary technician, or “vet tech.” Veterinary technicians are vital to the care of animals in general. Veterinary technicians attend accredited colleges and then work in an animal hospital, veterinary clinic, or other service to provide medical care for animals under the supervision of licensed veterinarians. The differences between a veterinary technician and a veterinarian are discussed in this article, as well as how to become a veterinary technician. A veterinary technician is a trained professional who works under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to provide a variety of medical services to all types of animals in order to improve their health and well-being. A veterinary technician is a trained professional that works under the supervision of a certified veterinarian to provide a variety of medical services to all types of animals in order to improve their health and well-being. In order to fulfill their work obligations, a veterinary technician must be able to give both emergency and routine medical care to animals. They must also have clinical skills and knowledge. Except for prescribing medication, making medical diagnoses, and performing surgery, this professional can accomplish any work assigned by a veterinarian.

Responsibilities of a Veterinary Technician

A veterinary technician’s typical responsibilities include the following:

  • Set up surgical instruments in preparation for surgery.
  • Animals must be prepared for surgery and other medical procedures.
  • X-rays and other diagnostic tests should be performed.
  • Vaccinations and drugs should be administered.
  • Assist with surgery and other medical treatments on animals.
  • Animals require routine or emergency medical attention.
  • Anesthesia is given to the animals.
  • Observe and evaluate animal behavior and circumstances.
  • Assist with animal-related medical studies.

While knowledge of general medical skills linked to animal care is required for a career as a veterinarian technician, many people opt to specialize in a specific area of study as a vet tech. According to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, there are several areas of expertise that a vet tech might pursue.

What Exactly Is a Veterinary Technician?

Veterinary technologists and veterinary technicians are similar in that they both operate under the supervision of a qualified veterinarian and perform a variety of tasks in a medical setting. Veterinary technologists, on the other hand, must have a four-year bachelor’s degree, making them more educated than other vet techs. While vet techs and veterinary technologists both work at animal hospitals and other medical facilities, veterinary technologists are more likely to be hired for higher-paying positions or managerial positions.

What Are the Steps to Become a Veterinary Technician?

When pursuing a profession as a veterinary technician, the majority of people undergo the following steps:

  • Earn a Two-Year Associate’s Degree

As previously stated, aspiring veterinary technicians must hold a two-year associate’s degree in veterinary technology. You can find out which programs are accredited in your region by contacting your state’s veterinarian state board. The best method to ensure that the degree you pursue is valid for a career as a vet tech is to complete a school that is accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. Most certified veterinary technology programs include at least 60 credit hours and 240 hours of on-site practicum.

  • Obtain Certification

Most states require veterinary technicians to take a credentialing exam to become qualified. The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), given by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, is the most commonly used exam. This test is usually administered on a computer and lasts three hours, with 170 multiple-choice questions. Anesthesia, dentistry, surgical nursing, pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, and emergency medicine are among the topics included on the Veterinary Technician National Exam.

  • Join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)

While membership in NAVTA is not essential to practice as a vet tech, it can provide personal and professional growth and possibilities in the veterinary field.

  • Submit a Job Application

You can apply for a position as a veterinary technician after completing a two-year degree and becoming certified. The majority of vet techs begin their careers in a clinical setting at an animal hospital or a private veterinary clinic. If you choose to specialize in a specific area of veterinary medicine, you could work in a zoo or a laboratory.

  • Keep Your Certification Current

Most states require you to complete continuing education credits to keep your certification as a veterinary technician current. Because each state’s veterinary board has different requirements, make sure to check with your state’s veterinary board to find out what you need to do to keep or renew your certification.

How to Become a Veterinary Technician: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • STEP 1: Complete high school or obtain a diploma-equivalent, such as a GED

In addition to a passion for animals and empathy, vet techs often have strong science backgrounds, with high grades in biology, physiology (if available), and chemistry. Many Vet Tech employment opportunities require students to be comfortable handling delicate scientific instruments, conducting tests, and interpreting data due to the hands-on lab work required. Volunteering in animal hospitals, shelters, or other facilities that deal with furry, feathered, or scaly-skinned patients may be beneficial to certain people during this period.

  • STEP 2: Complete an authorized veterinary technology or animal science degree program (two to four years)

It’s a good idea to look for associate or bachelor’s degree programmes certified by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a part of the American Veterinary Medical Association, regardless of where you live (AVMA). The CVTEA assesses a program’s comprehensiveness of courses, student results, facility quality, finances, and admissions processes, among other things. Mammalian anatomy and physiology, veterinary medical calculations, pathology, parasitology, veterinary clinic management, research methods, animal nursing, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, animal dentistry, clinical toxicology, anesthesia, and veterinary medical ethics are all common courses in these veterinary technology programs.

  • STEP 3: Pass the National Veterinary Technician Examination (timeline and state requirements vary)

The American Association of Veterinary State Boards offers this test, which is also known as the VTNE (AAVSB). In most states in the United States, the VTNE is a standard requirement for license, certification, or registration as a veterinary technician. National legislation requires schools to declare their three-year VTNE first-time passing rate among program graduates as a proxy for programme quality.

  • STEP 4: Submit an application for state certification (timeline and state requirements vary)

As previously stated, state-specific requirements vary, but often include sending official transcripts from a CVTEA-accredited institution, submitting VTNE scores, and paying an application fee. Some states demand a state examination as part of the credentialing process, while others require formal proof of citizenship, passport images, or a background check.

  • STEP 5: Renew your credential and fulfill the criteria for continuing education (CE) (timeline and state requirements vary).

Veterinary technicians must complete CE hours to maintain their professional licensure, registration, or certification. Qualified conferences, articles, presentations, online coursework, and other techniques can be used to meet these criteria. The sorts of CE that have been approved differ by location.

Salary and Job Growth

Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15% increase in new job opportunities for veterinary technicians and technologists, which is faster than the national average. Candidates who are willing to work in rural locations with tiny or large animals may have more job prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median annual income for veterinary technicians was $36, 260 in May 2020. Those in the top 10% made at least $52,410, while those in the bottom 10% made $25,520 or less.

What Are the Requirements for a Career as a Veterinary Technician?

  • Complete Your High School Education

A high school diploma or a GED certificate is required for future veterinary technologists. Many students have a solid background in science and/or health, which prepares them for vet tech training. Many students have a strong science and/or health background, which prepares them for veterinary technician training.

  • Earn Your Associate’s Degree

Most jurisdictions require veterinary technicians to have an associate’s degree from the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The average associate’s programme lasts roughly two years. However, students can complete some accelerated veterinary technology programs in less time. Some expedited veterinary technician programs, on the other hand, can be completed in less time.

  • Take Advantage of Specialized Training

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recognizes veterinary technician academies that offer specific credentials. Students have access to specialties such as emergency and critical care, internal medicine, and zoological medicine.

  • Acquire Certifications

Veterinary technicians must be licensed, registered, or certified in most states.

What Is the Time Commitment to Becoming a Veterinary Technician?

The time it takes to become a vet tech is determined by your state’s criteria as well as your specialty. In some areas, vet techs can acquire an exemption from the schooling requirements by gaining job experience. In most cases, completing a training program and receiving credentialing takes roughly 2-3 years. When students attend school full-time, the normal associate in veterinary technology degree takes two years to finish. Some institutions may offer accelerated or part-time programmes that change the time it takes to graduate. The length of a program is determined by its format and the requirements for veterinary technicians, which include academic credits and clinical hours. Obtaining a specialization may also necessitate tens of thousands of hours of work experience in your chosen field, as well as continuing education courses.

Educational and Other Skills

Continuing education is necessary for veterinary technologists. To stay in the field, they must renew their license and continue to pursue continuing education hours. Obtaining a veterinary medicine degree is an excellent way to develop your skills while also earning money. You can go to school full time or part time and obtain your degree from the comfort of your own home. The programme takes two to four years to finish. While this is a difficult career, it is also one that is rewarding.  A master’s degree or a doctorate is required for a veterinary technician’s work. Most veterinary technicians have a solid science background and are at ease dealing with delicate scientific instruments. They must also be able to analyze test results; therefore, a graduate’s education is essential. They can work in a range of hospitals and clinics as aspiring veterinary technicians.

A vet tech must have great interpersonal and communication skills in addition to a bachelor’s degree. A typical veterinary technician should be competent to operate under the supervision of a veterinarian and supervise a veterinary assistant. They will be able to earn more money as a result of this. If you’re willing to work in a rural region, your job opportunities may be better than in a city. If you have a good science background, you can potentially become a veterinarian in your area. Although a post-secondary certificate or degree program is required, the most typical path is through high school. A genuine interest in the sciences is necessary in addition to a good understanding of biology, chemistry, and physics. If you enjoyed science lessons in high school, continuing your studies in college may be beneficial. Veterinary technologists must have hands-on experience with animals, and students can begin their careers by working at a local animal clinic or pet store. Some people even volunteer at their local zoo or humane organization.

How to Become a Veterinary Technician:

  • Earn a Veterinary Technology Associate’s Degree

Vet tech programmes are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and most lead to an associate degree. For recognized programmes in your home state and educational criteria for licensure, contact your veterinarian state board. Depending on the school and if you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition, this can cost anywhere from $1,300 to $30,000.

  • Pass the National Exam for Veterinary Technicians

To license veterinary technicians, most jurisdictions employ the American Association of Veterinary State Boards’ national test. Certified Veterinary Technicians are vet techs that have passed this exam.

  • Join NAVTA As a Member

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA) is the leading trade association for professional veterinary technicians in the United States. Although membership is not required for employment or certification, it does give a variety of professional and personal benefits.

  • Look for a Position in a Veterinary Clinic

Veterinary technicians work at veterinary offices for the most part. This is the greatest location to start looking for a job.

  • Keep Your Certification Current

Maintaining certification necessitates continuing education. There are numerous tools available to help you accomplish your continuing education requirements. Your certification must be renewed every two years in most circumstances.

Veterinary Technician Training Programs

Among the courses offered in associate degree programmes in veterinary technology are:

  • Anatomy and physiology are the study of the structure and function of the human body.
  • Veterinary dentistry Veterinary nursing
  • Anesthesia
  • Toxicology in clinical practice
  • Imaging for diagnostic purposes
  • Microbiology
  • Parasitology
  • Pathology
  • Calculations in veterinary medicine
  • Medical ethics in veterinary medicine


One of a vet tech’s most significant responsibilities is to assist the pet in recovering from surgery. This involves giving the owner after-care instructions, preparing the animal for recovery, and talking about how to keep an eye on the pet for any difficulties. For those who want to work with animals outside of an office setting, becoming a vet tech is well worth the effort. Veterinary technicians are the first to observe changes in their patients and notify their doctors. Vet techs assist veterinarians in meeting the diagnostic and treatment needs of patients by applying their medical knowledge and clinical abilities. Veterinary technicians play an important role in the recovery of patients. They aid in the treatment of injuries, the early detection of issues through routine blood tests, dental cleanings, and other everyday chores. Working with and healing animals may be quite satisfying.

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