Thinking about entering the animal care field but don’t want to spend eight years in school to earn a veterinary degree? Becoming a vet tech could be the right path for your career goals!

Vet tech training will open doors to a rewarding career caring for companion animals. You’ll also have plenty of job opportunities, as this field is in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field will grow by 21% from 2022 to 2032.

Below, aspiring veterinary assistants will learn about the requirements to become a veterinary technician, plus a few specializations available after completing training.

Understanding Vet Tech Training

What Does Vet Tech Training Involve?

Vet tech education typically involves a mix of theoretical learning and hands-on practical experience at a veterinary facility or vet tech school. You might take veterinary medicine courses in pharmacology, anesthesia, anatomy, physiology, surgery, and equine science.

Your veterinary technology program will also require you to complete an internship or volunteer work to gain the technical skills needed to care for animals. During the program, a student will learn how to update medical records, care for the health and well-being of lab animals, administer medicine, and provide preventative care to dogs and cats.

Accredited Programs and Why They Matter

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) maintains a nationwide list of accredited veterinary technician programs. AVMA accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for veterinary technology programs. To gain accreditation, 80% of veterinary technician program students must pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).

Choosing an accredited program is wise if you want the best training for veterinary technicians. Consult the AVMA’s list to find reputable veterinary technology schools with full and probationary accreditation.

Requirements To Become a Vet Tech

Educational Requirements

Wondering how to become a vet tech? First, you’ll need to earn your high school diploma or GED. Next, to be a veterinary technician, you must get an associate degree from an AVMA-accredited college. If you’d prefer to be a veterinary technologist, you’ll need a four-year bachelor’s degree.

If you’re still in high school, consider taking applied science courses to prepare you for a career in the veterinary field. Suitable courses for students to take include health sciences and advanced biology.

Certification and Licensure

Vet tech requirements for certification and licensure vary by state. For example, in Texas, Alaska, and Washington, you’ll need to obtain a license in addition to a veterinary technology degree or veterinary technician degree. Some states, such as Connecticut, don’t require voluntary veterinary technology credentials.

Duration of Vet Tech Programs

Typical Timelines

How long does vet tech school take for the average student? If you’re gunning for an associate degree at a community college, it takes about two years to complete the program and become a credentialed veterinary technician. If you want a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology, expect to spend four years in your program. Want to complete a vet tech master’s degree? You’re looking at about six years in school.

If you don’t want to wait that long to become a veterinary assistant, consider an accelerated veterinary technology program for vet techs. Students can complete such a program and become veterinary technicians in as little as 15 months.

Accelerated vs. Part-Time Options

An accelerated veterinary medical program can be a good pick for those with a strong applied science background. An accelerated veterinary technology program is often several months shorter than a full two-year associate degree program. Plus, it is often available via distance learning, allowing you to complete your vet assistant education from virtually anywhere. Many such programs have on-demand classes that you can take on your own time.

Part-time courses are another option to consider. With this veterinary technology program option, you can take as many or as few classes as you want toward your associate degree. A part-time program is ideal for students with busy jobs or children to care for. If you go this route, though, be aware that it may take longer to complete your education and earn your associate degree.

Career Pathways After Vet Tech Training

Entry-Level Opportunities

After completing an associate program in animal science and health, most veterinary technicians spend their early years of employment working in a private veterinary practice. They perform patient intake, administer medicines to animals, prepare tissue samples, and handle lab tests.

Advancements and Specializations

One of the reasons this field is so popular is the number of career paths available to applied science graduates and vet techs. If you want to further your career, you can complete a four-year veterinary technology program, allowing you to get a job in animal nutrition, marine vet care, veterinary pharmacology, or veterinary surgical nursing.

With a master’s degree, vet techs could become nutrition and breeding consultants for farms or animal shelter medicine experts. You can also get a job as a wildlife rescuer and researcher. In this career, you’ll provide emergency care to injured wild animals with the goal of releasing these critters back into their natural habitats.

Weave: A Dependable Companion Throughout Your Career

Once you complete vet tech training via a veterinary technology program, you’re all set for a rewarding job in a hot-demand field. You could even run your very own vet practice one day!

If you’re already a practice owner, get a free demo of Weave now.

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