Animal Health Technician Certification and Training Programs

Animal health technician is another name for veterinary technician, and these professionals assist veterinarians in treating animal patients. Read about what degree levels are available in veterinary technology, along with common courses, certification requirements, and job duties. Schools offering Veterinary Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Training Programs are Available in Veterinary Technology?

You may begin as early as high school by taking extra math and science classes to satisfy some prerequisites for your undergraduate studies. Animal health or veterinary technician programs are most commonly offered as associate degree programs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These programs can usually be completed in two years. Hybrid programs are available which require you to complete online coursework and hands-on experience in a clinical mentorship. Usually a minimum of twenty hours per week of lab experience under supervision of a licensed veterinarian will fulfill this portion on the requirement.

Some schools offer bachelor's degree programs in this field that can be completed in four years. These programs can extend the reach of your knowledge in animal health. Recipients of a bachelor's degree in this field of study are generally referred to as veterinary technologists. As a veterinary technologist you may have a wider range of career options after graduation in places like diagnostic laboratories or biomedical research facilities.

Degree Levels Associate's and bachelor's degrees
Common Courses Radiology, anesthesia, veterinary management, anatomy and physiology
Job Duties Assist in analyzing lab diagnostics, taking and developing X-rays, diagnosing diseases
Certification Information Varies by state, but most require passing the VTNE exam
Median Salary (2018) $34,420 (for all veterinary technologists and technicians)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 20% growth (for all veterinary technologists and technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Courses for online or campus-based programs are similar. Expect to complete some general education requirements that focus on biology, chemistry and algebra. After finishing your prerequisites, you can take classes that cover many species of animals including domestic, large and exotic animals. Some of the classes you may take are:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Radiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Anesthesia
  • Pathology
  • Toxicology
  • Veterinary management

What is an Animal Health Technician?

Animal health technicians, also referred to as veterinary technicians or technologists, assist veterinarians in the same way that nurses assist doctors. An animal health or veterinary technician works hands-on with a licensed veterinarian to assist with tasks like analyzing lab diagnostics and dentistry procedures, taking and developing x-rays, diagnosing diseases and treating illness.

How Do I Gain Certification?

Every state has different regulations for practicing animal health technicians. Check with the state board in which you wish to work for specific requirements. Most states require you to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination to prove your competence in this field. The exam consists of practical, written and oral sections.

Additional certification is available by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to enhance your experience The AALAS offers three different levels of certification: assistant lab technician, laboratory animal technician and laboratory animal technologist.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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