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For people interested in becoming veterinary technicians or knowing more about the profession.
What is veterinary technology? Veterinary technology is the study of becoming a veterinary technician. Veterinary technicians function primarily as professional assistants to veterinarians, biomedical researchers, and other scientists, and are an integral part of the veterinary health care team. These individuals must possess a unique combination of knowledge and skill involving basic science, animals, and people. As the complexity of veterinary medicine increases, and as the public demand for state-of the-art care for their animals increases, the veterinary technician will play an increasing role in the delivery of excellent health care for animals.
The greatest demand for veterinary technicians is in private veterinary practices working alongside the veterinarian caring for companion animals. However, the demand for veterinary technicians in other fields is rapidly growing and opportunities exist in many areas including teaching, pharmaceutical sales, military, humane societies, livestock production, equine practice, biomedical research, diagnostic laboratories, zoo/wildlife medicine, veterinary supply sales, public health/not for profit organizations, self-employment and the pet food industry.
The responsibilities assigned to veterinary technicians vary from state to state and are regulated by a State Board of Veterinary Medicine or other appropriate agencies (contact the specific state for exact information in this area link to AAVSB.org).
Formal study in veterinary technology entails at least two academic years leading to an Associates Degree with four-year degrees available at some institutions. The training is demanding and academically challenging.
In forty states and provinces, veterinary technicians are either certified, registered, or licensed. Candidates must demonstrate competency by passing a comprehensive examination that may include oral, written, and practical components. Individuals who have received on-the-job training working in veterinary practices and other animal care facilities are properly referred to as veterinary assistants, technician assistants, animal attendants, animal caretakers, ward attendants, etc., not veterinary technicians.
Those interested in a career in veterinary technology should inquire into schools or distance learning programs, and acquire experience working with animals. There are many professional organizations in the United States and Canada representing technicians on the local, state, provincial, national, and international levels.
What is the difference between a veterinary technician and a technician assistant? The veterinary technician usually has training from a program in Veterinary Technology (two- or four-year degree); the technician assistant is either trained through an assistant program or on-the-job. The assistant's job is to assist the veterinarian or veterinary technician. In Colorado, job descriptions are defined by the veterinarian and/or practice (usually in an employee handbook).
What are the responsibilities of licensed veterinarians as compared to credentialed veterinary technicians (CVTs)? A CVT is someone who is either certified, registered, or licensed in a specific state.
The licensed veterinarian has a legal and moral responsibility to the client and the CVT:
The CVT is responsible to the client and the veterinarian:
Visit http://www.navta.net/ for more information.
Can I join CACVT if I'm not a credentialed veterinary technician? Yes! CACVT represents the entire ancillary healthcare team. We have an associate membership category for people who do not wish to be certified. This category is excellent for people credentialed in other states and for assistants, receptionists, and anyone else interested in joining the professional organization. CACVT also has a student membership category for people attending AVMA-accredited veterinary technician programs. Many schools provide this membership as a benefit to their students.
How do I find a veterinary technician program? Schools that provide veterinary technician programs are generally accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). These programs are two- or four-years in duration. Some are in-person programs (private or public) where students physically attend; others are distance learning programs where students don't necessarily have to attend in-person. As long as the program is AVMA accredited, there is no differentiation between in-person and distance learning programs when applying to take the VTNE
In many states, in order to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), you must have graduated from an AVMA-accredited program. In most states, you must pass the VTNE in order to become credentialed. Check with your specific state to determine their specific requirements.
To find a specific state, either "google" it or visit www.aavsb.org and click on "board and agency directory" on the left hand column.
Schools that have veterinary/technician assistant programs usually provide a certificate of completion. These programs are generally less than a year in length.
There are many AVMA-accredited programs in Veterinary Technology:
For more information about the AVMA accreditation process, visit:
There are also AVMA accredited distance learning programs:
There are AVMA-accredited programs in Colorado:Please click here to see the updated list and for more information.
Further information on veterinary technology can be obtained from:
American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 No. Meacham Rd., Ste. 100
Schaumberg, Illinois, 60173-4360