How To Become A Vet Tech & How Long Does It Take?

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Becoming a vet tech can have a wealth of benefits, providing you with a good salary and plenty of job satisfaction. If you enjoy working with pets, you will learn how to provide assistance to animals who have become unwell or are injured, and meet plenty of new people in this rewarding line of work.

Students at Austin Community College Vet Tech Program.

Students at Austin Community College Vet Tech Program. 

You will be assisting the veterinarian in his or her duties – usually in a veterinary surgery. Other job duties include administrating medication, and giving shots to animals in distress.

This highly specialized job position requires several years of training and experience before you can start working in an operational capacity. Learn how to use the relevant equipment that is vital to this role – such as x-ray machines – is also important.

Below are some tips on how to become a veterinary technician if you would like to work in this field, as well as the things you can do to improve your chances of securing this lucrative job.

How Long Is A Vet Tech Education

You will usually need to attend at least two years at a community college with a vet program before you can pass the examinations you need to secure a job as a vet tech. This will usually depend on the type of vet tech that you want to be, and you could be required to have completed as much as four years of college before you can qualify. The type of course you study and training you undergo will be dependent on how far you want to progress in this profession.

So how long does it take to become a vet tech?

Instructor demonstration pet CPR.

Instructor demonstration pet CPR.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Associate and bachelor degrees are both offered at various colleges across the country, and you may want to combine your studies with real-life experience as part of an internship or working scheme.
  • An internship with a local veterinary practice in your area can also look great on your resume, so plan ahead early and apply to as many surgeries as you can. Write a covering letter with a few details about yourself, for example where you are studying and the course you are undertaken. You may also want to write about any qualities you feel that you could give to the role.
  • Remember, not all internships are paid, although you may have your travel costs reimbursed to you at the end of the scheme. However, you will gain on-the-job-experience that could set you apart from other candidates when you decide to apply for a position in the future. For more information about internships in this profession, speak to a careers adviser at your college.

They could also tell you of other ways on how to become a vet tech, so just ask!

Becoming a Veterinary Technician

Gaining The Relevant Qualifications

After completing your education in the school of your choice, you will have to pass the relevant qualifications in order to become a vet tech. The Veterinary Technician National Exam, is a four-hour examination that will test you on the skills you have learned on your course. This could include animal nursing, surgical preparation, surgical procedures and pharmacology, as well as other topics.

Complete this exam if you wish to work at an animal hospital anywhere in the country, or a smaller clinic in your local area. Once you have passed your exams, you could find work in a hospital to get more real-world knowledge. Choose a position that will enable you to practice the skills you learned on your course, as well as a position that will give you the most realistic prospects of career progression.

National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, or NAVTA, is an organization that offers individuals the chance to progress their career and continue with their educational credit.

  • Once you become a member of the organization, there will be plenty of opportunities to network with other industry leaders, as well as meeting some new friends who are looking for a similar job as you.
  • Once you have spoken to more people who have progressed in this industry, you should think about specializing in one particular area of veterinary medicine. This could benefit you if you find a particular area of the industry more interesting or rewarding, or if the pay is better.
  • Some of the fields you could specialize in include internal medicine, equine medicine, animal dentistry, critical care, or anesthesia. You may want to look into several of these fields before deciding that you want to specialize in one particular area.

How to be a vet tech is a loaded question as that is truly up to you. Once you become one then you will need to decide by which standards you hold yourself accountable as each individual will carry this profession differently than the other.