Becoming a veterinary technician is an attractive career path for a number of reasons.
Whether the student is newly graduated and entering the job market for the first time, or is an already employed individual who is seeking to transition to a more rewarding career, the veterinary technician is an attractive employment option.
The Path to Becoming a Veterinary Technician
Becoming a veterinary technician requires that the candidate obtain an effective education, as well as passing requirements that are mandated by the state where he or she is intending to practice. It is important that before entering a veterinary technician program the candidate ensure that the program complies with his or her state’s standards.
In most cases, the state requirements can be found by checking with the state licensing board or administration, which is usually in charge of licensing veterinary technicians and other professionals. If not, the state board will be able to tell the candidate where he or she can find the needed information.
Vet Tech Programs
Most veterinary technician programs are comprised of several components. These include the following steps:
- The student must complete a two-year or four-year program at an institution that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). That last is very important, as many states will not accept work performed at an unaccredited institution.
- After the completion of the program, the student must then take and pass the Veterinary Technician Nation Examination (VTNE), with a score or no less than 425.
- In some states, the candidate must then pass a jurisprudence exam, which is an exam designed to ensure that the veterinary technician understands how his or her duties and responsibilities interact with state law.
Financial Aid, Scholarships and Grants for Veterinary Technician Programs
In today’s economy, many students find that the costs associated with a program can be burdensome, especially if they are attending school full time. The other option, going to school as a part time student while continuing to work is a difficult task and may not be possible for many students. On the other hand, student loans can be difficult to qualify for, as well as incurring long-term debt.
Fortunately, there is another source of funding for the qualified student, in the form of scholarships and grants. These are forms of financial aid that do not require the student to go into debt, and can fund a large portion, or even the entire cost of his or her studies.
A grant is usually a sum of money provided by the government, although private agencies such as corporations often provide grants as well. The student grant is a sum of money granted to the student in order to help defray the costs of his or her education, based on certain qualifications of the student. These can include:
- Many grants are aimed at low-income students, in order to assist them with obtaining a college vet tech education.
- Some grants are targeted at encouraging and assisting underrepresented groups to enter college.
- Corporations may offer grants for students who can successfully complete essays or other contests.
- Students committing to complete their education or to work in an area suffering from a lack of veterinary technicians may be able to successfully obtain a grant.
In general, grants do not demand that the student maintain a certain GPA, or have continuing requirements as they are usually awarded as a lump sum of money. However, most grants do require that the student successfully complete his or her program, so it is important to carefully evaluate the requirements of the grant.
Scholarships and the Veterinary Technician
Scholarships are similar to grants, in that they are awarded by an organization to assist students to defray their educational costs. However, scholarships generally have different requirements than grants, and often involve the evaluation of the student’s progress during his or her educational career. A scholarship often includes the following factors when deciding who can receive it:
- A scholarship requires that the student meet certain academic standards, either via examination or by meeting a certain grade point average (GPA). Because of this, it is important that the student maintain his or her academic performance even in fields unrelated to veterinary technology.
- A scholarship is generally a long-term source of funding and is evaluated throughout the student’s career. Dropping below a certain number of units, or falling below the required collage GPA can result in the student losing eligibility for the scholarship.
- Like grants, some scholarships may be contingent on the student agreeing to seek employment in a certain area that is suffering a shortage of veterinary technicians.
- Many scholarships are targeted at specific groups and are not open to other candidates.
Both scholarships and grants can have further restrictions or options. In some cases, the funds will be limited in how they can be used. For example, many scholarships and grants can only be used to pay for tuition or school supplies, while others can also be used to pay for general support, such as housing and food expenses.
Depending on the nature of the grant or scholarship, the student may have to keep records demonstrating that he or she is using the funds for the purpose that they were intended for.
Scholarships, Grants, and Becoming a Veterinary Technician
Becoming a veterinary technician is a path to a highly respected and well paying career with a number of options for future professional development. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job market for veterinary technicians will continue to show above average expansion well into the 21st century, providing a viable employment path for graduates of vet tech programs.
Grants and scholarships allow the student to successfully obtain a vet tech education without gaining undue student debt. By doing so, the candidate can enter into a socially valued career that will provide high job satisfaction and compensation alike.