Certified Veterinary Technician License and Certification

Veterinary technicians serve as assistants to veterinary doctors, and are required to obtain a degree as well as licensure. Read about degree programs offered in veterinary technology, licensure and certification requirements, the work environment, and the career outlook and salary potential. Schools offering Veterinary Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Do I Need a License to be a Veterinary Technician?

To be a practicing veterinary technician you are required to pass a state exam. Some states require you take the state exam after completing your education. Completing your exam will mean that you are certified, registered or licensed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states administer the same exam (www.bls.com). Passing an exam in a state that uses the National Veterinary Exam (NVE) means that you can transfer your license to a state that also uses the NVE.

After you have your license and experience, you can be recommended for additional licensure for laboratory studies. There are three levels of laboratory licensure, including Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician, Laboratory Animal Technician and Laboratory Animal Technologist.

Licensure Obtained through a state exam following completion of degree program
Common Courses Microbiology, anesthesia, pharmacology
Job Duties Clean up after animal patients, conduct tests, give medication
Median Salary (2018) $34,420 (Veterinary Technologists and Technicians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)20% (Veterinary Technologists and Technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Programs Are Available?

You can find both associate's and bachelor's programs offering veterinary technician or veterinary technology curriculum. Courses include animal diseases, animal care, nursing and animal nutrition. You may also take classes in pharmacology, microbiology, surgical technology, anesthesia and anatomy. Your education should allow you to allocate medications properly, understand necessary procedures and properly handle animals and owners. You'll also learn about ethical issues and develop efficient communications skills and patient management techniques. Some programs require you to participate in practicum or clinical studies.

What are Veterinary Technicians?

A veterinary technician conducts tests, records patient information, gives medication, handles x-ray machines, prepares for surgery and monitors the animal patients. They are essentially veterinarian assistants or the nurse equivalent in a veterinary practice. The technician also cleans up after the animal patients in the kennels and exam rooms. Assisting with euthanasia is also part of the job and may be taxing on your emotions. In this position, heavy lifting is common, and you might be injured on-the-job by a frightened or aggressive animal while performing your duties.

What Is the Outlook?

The BLS predicts that there will be a 20% increase in available positions between 2016-2026. Fewer annual graduates and an increase in current veterinary technicians pursuing different careers will lead to additional open positions. Demand for the position will come from an animal's increased position in the family. The BLS reported that veterinary technicians and technologists earned a median annual salary of $34,420 in May 2018.

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:

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