How to Become a Veterinary Technician

A veterinary technician assists a licensed veterinarian in the diagnosis, testing and treatment of diseases found in large and small, domesticate and wild animals and to become a veterinary technician, you need to complete at least two-years of post-secondary training.

Education


The minimum education requirement to become a veterinary technician is the completion of a two-year associate's degree in Veterinary Technology. According to College Navigator, there are over one hundred and fifty schools in the US that offer this program. If you prefer to complete a bachelor's degree, there are fourteen schools in the US that offer an undergraduate degree in veterinary technology.

There are one hundred and sixty schools in the US that have accreditation with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the full list is available on the AVMA website. The advantage to accreditation is that more employers will recognize the accreditation process and that completing an accredited program may be a requirement for a state license. The list on the AVMA website will allow sorting by state, to look for local schools.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) also offers continuing education opportunities and special groups, such as for anesthesia or for veterinary dental technicians, on their website.

License and Certification


Each state has different requirements for veterinary technologists, but you can contact the state Veterinary Medical Board or visit their website to determine the rules and regulations that affect veterinary technologists in that state. However, most states will require that a veterinary technician will complete a test to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in veterinary technology.

Tips and Advice


If you are currently in high school, complete courses in biology, chemistry and mathematics, as well as completing the prerequisites for the college program of your choice. All of these courses, plus training in animal behavior, biology, physiology and anatomy will form the basis of your education in veterinary technician school.

Look for relevant volunteer opportunities. Some applicants have only a minimum experience working with animals, such as owning a pet, but this is not enough experience. Look for opportunities to volunteer for a look animal shelter in animal care opportunities, such as cleaning cages or exercising animals. If you are considering an opportunity to work with larger domestic animals, find opportunities with the local 4H club, or other animal agriculture organization. For those looking to work in zoos or with wild animals, look for volunteer opportunities in these facilities. Each of these volunteer opportunities will provide at least one reference that you can use for school or work purposes.

Apply for membership with NAVTA. Though it is not required, there are benefits to joining a professional association, such as access to their job boards which have specific job postings in this field, as well as the wide variety of members groups and additional education. There are student memberships available, so if you are currently enrolled in a veterinary technologist program, the resources and services available to this group will help you in your initial job search.

Opportunities


There are opportunities to work in veterinary clinics under the supervision of a veterinary, as well as also opportunities to work in animal shelters and in animal welfare or protection agencies. Depending on the amount of training the veterinary technician receives to work with large or wild animals, there may also be opportunities to work in zoos or wildlife rehabilitation facilities, .