Becoming a Licensed Veterinary Technician in Maryland
In today’s economy, finding a career that is both well paying and a personally rewarding profession is a priority for many individuals. Fortunately, becoming a veterinary technician is a path to a professional career that is highly valued by the community. In Maryland, there is a variety of employment opportunities open to those who decide to become a licensed veterinary technician.
The Duties of a Vet Tech
A vet tech assists a licensed veterinarian in caring for the animals under his or her care. In many respects, the vet tech functions in the same way a registered nurse would in a conventional hospital. Vet techs may have the following duties:
- Providing vaccinations for domestic animals.
- Providing emergency first aid to injured animals that have been brought into the practice.
- Supervising the care and feeding of animals that is currently under the care of the practice.
- Assisting in the care of livestock or other production animals to ensure that their health conforms to state and federal regulations.
- Assisting the veterinarian in preparing for surgical procedures, as well was assisting him or her during normal examinations.
Unlike a veterinarian, a vet tech may not prescribe medications, independently carry out most surgical procedures or diagnose an animal’s condition. All licensed veterinary technicians are required to know precisely what procedures they are allowed to carry out.
Becoming a Vet Tech in Maryland
In order to become a licensed Maryland veterinary technician, the student must successfully complete several steps. He or she must provide proof of completing all of the requirements to become a licensed vet tech to the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
The Educational Requirements for Vet Techs
Maryland requires that the veterinary technician have taken and passed an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) certified veterinary technician course of study. Most of these programs take two years to complete and cover all aspects of a veterinary technician’s duties.
Maryland also offers the option for alternative study programs, including the following:
- A student who has either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in agricultural or life sciences, the physical sciences, such as chemistry.
- A graduate of a program that has been specifically approved by the Maryland Veterinary Technician Committee.
The above exceptions often require specific approval or a more complex application process, and so any one seeking to use these methods should make certain to contact the licensing authorities in order to ensure that their qualifications are acceptable.
After completing the course work, the candidate must pass a series of tests that demonstrate his or her qualifications to work as a veterinary technician. In Maryland, the required tests are the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and a state administered jurisprudence exam.
The VTNE is a detailed test that is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The VTNE is a detailed and in depth test that evaluates the candidates ability to understand both the academic and practical aspects of the veterinary technician’s duties. A candidate must have a score of at least 425 in order to successfully pass the VTNE.
The AAVSB does not generally permit students to take the test more than five times without specific permission. For this reason, candidates should review all the information about the test and be certain that they are fully prepared before signing up with the AAVSB to take the VTNE.
The State Board Jurisprudence Exam
The jurisprudence exam, unlike the VTNE is not primarily focused on the practice of the vet tech, but on how that practice interacts with the laws of Maryland. In order to successfully pass it, the veterinary technician must fully understand the nature of the laws regarding his or her profession in Maryland.
Applying for the Veterinary Technician’s License
After all of these steps are successfully completed, the candidate may apply for a veterinary technician’s license, which allows him or her to practice in Maryland. In most cases, the test and school results must be sent directly to the state by the school and the AAVSB, rather than being provided by the candidate.
Continuing Education Requirements
After becoming a licensed vet tech, the professional must continue to take continuing education (CE) classes in order to remain up to date with the current practice of veterinary medicine. Maryland requires that the student have taken at least 24 semester units of CE every 36 months in order to successfully renew his or her license. These courses must come from approved programs in order to count as a part of the vet techs CE.
Veterinary Technicians and a Career in Maryland
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the veterinary technician’s profession currently is enjoying above average growth. With the potential to secure a long-term and dependable career that is also valued by the community, the veterinary technician is a profession that is very promising for new members, especially in today’s economic environment.
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