How to Effectively Obtain Your Vet Tech Certification and State License
In today’s economy, many individuals, whether they are newly graduated from high school or older professionals seeking to enter a more rewarding career, are considering the benefits of becoming veterinary technicians. As a dynamically growing field, the benefits of obtaining a vet tech certificate are obvious, especially to those who desire to enter a career that is not simply economically secure, but is also valued by the community.
When seeking to become a veterinary technician, it is important to first study the specific state requirements for certification in this field. Although specific points may differ from state to state, the below steps are required by all states. A student should never assume that any given state’s requirements are the same as another state’s.
This is especially important for those individuals who may be intending to later move to another state while continuing their practice as a vet tech. If so, they should inform the school where they are studying, as well as contact the relevant state authorities for up to date requirements.
Basic Requirements for a Vet Tech Certification
Before applying for a veterinary technician’s certificate, the candidate must successfully fulfill a number of educational and professional requirements. By fulfilling these requirements, he or she can then take the final examinations in order to qualify to become a veterinary technician. In most cases, these requirements include the following:
- The candidate must be at least 18 years of age. In some states the requirement is that the candidate be 21 years of age.
- Have graduated from high school or have obtained a GED or equivalent completion degree.
- Have no felony convictions that might call his or her ability to function as a veterinary technician into doubt. This is not a universal requirement among states, and in some cases only applies to certain crimes.
- Have successfully completed a course of study at an institution that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Depending on the precise nature of the program, this may either be completed in two or four years.
- In some cases, a state may permit a candidate to substitute on the job training for his or her academic study. Currently, Alaska, Delaware, Wisconsin and Washington permit properly documented on the job experience to replace successfully graduating. However, there are a number of state-specific documentary and regulatory requirements that must be met in order to allow the use of on the job training.
Taking the VTNE
Once these requirements are completed and successfully documented, the student can then apply to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). This comprehensive exam is designed to evaluate all aspects of the candidate’s skill and suitability to become a veterinary technician. This test is identical for all candidates and is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), rather than by the individual state.
All states require the student to achieve a passing score on the VTNE in order to allow the candidate to continue the process of becoming a licensed veterinary technician. Should the candidate fail the VTNE, he may retake the test. However, the AAVSB as a matter of general policy will only allow the candidate to take the test a total of five times without specific approval. However, some states have further limits on how many times the student may retake the VTNE.
State Veterinary Technician Exams
Some states also have their own state exams that the student is required to pass before being licensed as a veterinary technician. These exams usually focus more on the veterinary technician’s understanding of how the state’s laws and regulations impact his or her practice rather than the technical knowledge of how to carry the duties of a vet tech.
The Licensing Process
After completing all the required qualifying measures, the vet tech can obtain a license to practice as a veterinary technician in his or her state. Every state has its own requirements, and a license to practice in one state will not permit the veterinary technician to practice in another.
In addition to completing all of the above requirements, a veterinary technician must pay an annual fee to be licensed to practice in his or her state. Failure to remain current will result in the license lapsing, and can also result in fines or other sanctions.
Continuing Education and the Veterinary Technician
It is important that veterinary technicians remain up to date with the modern state of veterinary medicine. For this reason, most states require a certain amount of continuing education (CE) to be obtained every year. Depending on the state, a certain amount of this continuing education may be obtained by independent study, if it is approved by their regulatory board. However, in most cases, a large portion of the continuing education must be obtained from an accredited school
Moving From Another State
If the veterinary technician is already licensed in another state, the process of obtaining a license may be considerably easier. He or she will not have to retake the VTNE and may only be required to provide proof of their status.
After that, the individual will have to take the state’s local board exam, as well as pay any license fees. There may be additional requirements, especially if the state the veterinary technician is moving from has lower requirements to be certified as a veterinary technician.
Becoming licensed as a veterinary technician allows the successful veterinary technician to enter a satisfying and popular field of veterinary medicine. The steps required to achieve this goal in any given state are straightforward and can be found by checking with the local state board in charge of licensing veterinary technicians. By making certain to comply with the state requirements, and keeping up with any changes, an individual can make his or her transition from student to fully licensed and practicing veterinary technician painless and rewarding.