What Does it Take to Become a Vet Tech?

Certified veterinary technicians have to attend typically a two-year or three-year program in any American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) approved school. This typically leads to the ordering of an associate’s degree in veterinary technology. A bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology is also available through participation in a four-year accredited program. In Canada, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is responsible for accrediting schools that offer either an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree.

Distance Learning Requirements
A great amount of the educational requirements that must be met by our disciplines in an accredited training program include practical clinical experience. Although some aspects of training to become a veterinary technician can be accomplished through online Internet offerings, a great deal of hands-on training will be needed in a working, clinical veterinary medicine setting such as a small animal hospital or other appropriate facility. And, faculty members need to be practicing veterinarians or credentialed veterinary technicians in order to sign off on all clinical tests performed by students and submit approval records to that participant’s school.

State Licensing is Required
Although the primary requirement for becoming a veterinarian technician is to gain a degree in veterinary technology, this is only a partial requirement. The selected program that participants choose to obtain a degree in veterinary technology must also compare them for whatever required local or state examination must be taken in order to obtain a license to practice in that jurisdiction. The exam given that his universal throughout the United States is the Veterinary Technician National Exam. There may also be an additional exam administered by a state governing body that bestows credentials to veterinary technicians in their jurisdiction.

Designations Vary from State to State
The type of credentials that are granted to veterinary technicians also vary from state to state and are typically differentiated by the designated initials that accompany the local licensing. These could include LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician, LVMT (Licensed Veterinary Medical Technician), RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician and CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician). These designations are included in the licensing approved by the various state boards indicating that the bearers of these licenses are indeed permitted to perform the necessary tasks of a veterinary technician. In effect, the licensing is a registration list that the governing board keeps of people who have met the specific requirements to perform the functions of a veterinary technician but not necessarily limits or to find those actions of people who are registered as veterinary technicians. Licensing is registration. Certification comes from the accredited schools where the licensed veterinary technician gained their education. So, a certified veterinary technician is not necessarily a licensed one. Certification is granted in certain states by that state’s veterinary technician association where there are no laws or medical associations requiring technicians to be credentialed. Additionally, the term Animal Health Technician (AHT) is used in Canada and was once used in the US before being replaced by veterinary technician (VT). There are other variations that either used to exist or do exist now including RAHT (registered), LAHT (licensed) and CAHT (certified).

Formal Education Soon the Standard
It used to be a common practice that people who became employed by a veterinarian and accumulated several years of experience could sit for a state licensing exam to become a vet tech. This practice will be phased out in the year 2011 in all states that use the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam).