How to Become an Oncology Technician in 5 Steps

Find out about the duties performed by oncology technicians in a veterinary practice. Get facts about the educational requirements of this position along with certification information. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Veterinary Oncology Technician Do?

As a veterinary oncology technician, you'll assist veterinarians in treating animals, especially dogs and cats, which are suffering from cancer. You'll prepare animals for chemotherapy and other radiation treatments and explain these procedures and outcomes to pet owners. You'll work closely with veterinarians and clinic staff. Your duties may include scheduling, admitting and discharging patients.

Step 1: Enroll in an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree Program

To work as a veterinary technician you'll need at least an associate's degree from a 2-year veterinary technician program. Courses may require working in a lab and studying live animals. Some veterinary schools also offer 4-year bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology.

Admission to most veterinary technician programs requires a grade of C or higher in your college math and science classes. Experience working with animals and demonstrated self -motivation may help you gain admission. Some programs require you to take biology, chemistry, writing and medical terminology classes.

Step 2: Complete Clinical Experience Requirements

Along with learning basic animal care, anatomy and physiology, radiology, nursing, anesthesia and pharmacology, many veterinary technology programs require clinical experience to graduate. You can gain this experience through private practice clinical internships and clinical rotations at participating veterinary hospitals

Step 3: Gain Work Experience in Internal Medicine

According to the Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT), before you can obtain your oncology certification, you'll need at least three years or 6,000 hours within five years of internal medicine experience as a veterinary technician ( Gaining oncology skills such as proper animal restraint, calculation of intravenous drugs, administration of medications, surgery preparation and laboratory testing will help you gain certification. In an entry-level position, you'll most likely receive on-the-job training and work under the direct supervision of your veterinarian.

Step 4: Obtain Oncology Certification

Certification as a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Internal Medicine through the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) indicates you're prepared to provide exceptional care to animals. To obtain your board oncology certification you'll need 40 hours of continuing education in addition to the required experience. You'll need to keep a skill log and record a minimum of 50 cases. Finally, you'll need to pass an exam and obtain two letters of recommendation from a veterinary technician specialist in internal medicine or from a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Step 5: Pursue Continuing Education

Both AIMVT and ACVIM offer continuing education classes and conferences. You can also get continuing education credit for attending lectures or webinars, reading journal articles or getting an article you wrote published.

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