Registered Veterinary Technician

If you enjoy working with animals and are looking into health care careers, you might be interested in becoming a registered veterinary technician.

What a Registered Vet Tech  Does

A registered veterinary technician is a trained healthcare worker who assists and supports the work of a veterinarian. There are differences between a veterinary assistant and a registered veterinary technician. A technician is trained and certified to do certain things that an assistant can’t, including helping the vet with surgeries, assisting in lab tests, conducting physicals for the animals and taking x-rays. Depending on the practice, the technician may be involved in all sorts of patient care, from taking down client histories to actual care to record-keeping.

While there are many general type duties that veterinary technicians have in common, many of them do specialize in certain areas of animal care. The Committee on Veterinary Technician Specialties has approved eleven such specialized areas of study and practice, including dentistry, internal medicine, emergency medicine and critical care, equine nursing, nutrition and clinical pathology.

How to Become a Licensed Vet Technician

Different states have different credential processes, which can be found at the website of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. Many states require that vet techs pass the national exam for veterinary technicians, and in order to be able to take the test, you need to graduate from a program or school that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The national exam is given three times each year and consists of 150 multiple choice questions that will count toward the student’s grade. In order to take the test, students need to apply for the exam and prove their eligibility. There is also a fee to take the exam.

Some Places Veterinary Technicians Might Work

Although many vet technicians work in animal clinics or hospitals, there are other locations where vet tech skills can be put to use, including zoos, wildlife preserves and parks, humane societies, farms, aquariums or kennels. Where you end up working may depend in part upon your area of specialization.

Although veterinary technicians are not highly paid, at least relative to some other health care positions, the field is a growing one and job outlooks for the profession are strong.