Veterinary technicians assist veterinarians in providing animal healthcare services in a variety of work settings from private clinics to public animal hospitals, zoos, aquariums, wildlife sanctuaries and research facilities.
There are many diploma, certificate and degree programs available in the U.S. that are being offered by community colleges, vocational schools and colleges. The important thing to note is that a veterinary technician needs to attend an accredited degree program. Accreditation of program is done by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The reason for emphasizing this point is because graduates of non-accredited degree programs will not be able to earn credentialing.
For a veterinary technician everything is linked. An accredited associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree is required to qualify as a vet tech. The accredited program is a necessary criterion for seeking credentialing. In order to earn credentialing; the individual needs to pass the National Veterinary Technician exam.
Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology
To begin a career as a veterinary technician, the student needs to graduate from an associate degree. Several of America’s best community colleges and other colleges offer associate degrees in veterinary technology. It is important that you do thorough research to ensure the program is accredited by the AVMA before enrolling yourself on the program.
The associate degree covers instruction in various aspects of veterinary technology including animal nutrition, radiology, nursing care, general animal healthcare, anesthesiology, laboratory procedures and record keeping. As part of the program, students will be required to complete clinical practice. This part of the course involves working with live animals to gain hands-on experience in the field.
As an aspiring veterinary technician, you need to complete your high school diploma to meet the admission requirement for an associate degree program. Choosing science and math subjects in high school will help you with your admission to the associate program. Another plus factor is work experience; if you have experience as a volunteer in an animal clinic, public animal hospital or animal shelter for example, it makes you a shoo-in for admission to the program.
Students who find it hard to travel to another state to attend an accredited associate program can find schools offering accredited distance programs online. Some students need to work and learn simultaneously, so the online option is a good choice. Just make sure that one of the college affiliated clinics where you need to work to gain your practical experience is located in your area.
One good thing about becoming a veterinary technician is that the employment market is looking real good according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The anticipated growth rate is expected to touch 41 percent by 2016. Americans sure do love their animals!
Graduates can opt to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program and major in veterinary management or animal and veterinary science. Higher education gives individuals an edge over the competition.
The veterinary profession has several employment options open to graduates who wish to practice in this field. Given the positive outlook for veterinary technicians over the next few years, it would appear to be a great profession to be in.