How to Become an Oncology Technician in 5 Steps
Research what it takes to become an oncology technician. Learn about education requirements and certification to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Career Information At a Glance
Find out about the duties performed by oncology technicians in a veterinary practice. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.
|Degree Required||Associate's degree; bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Basic animal care; physiology; radiology|
|Key Responsibilities||Work with veterinarians to prepare animals for chemo and radiation treatments|
|Certification||Oncology certification from the Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||30%* (all veterinary technologists and technicians)|
|Mean Annual Salary (2013)||$31,760* (all veterinary technologists and technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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 (www.aimvt.com). 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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