Veterinary Technicians in Mississippi
The veterinary care sector is a rapidly growing component of the economy. With a rising number of families demanding high quality care for their companion animals, coupled with a growing demand for veterinary care in the commercial sector, the job demand for qualified veterinary technicians is likely to continue to enjoy sustained growth through 2020.
As a state with a large commercial farming sector, in addition to a growing number of rural and urban pet owners, Mississippi has excellent job prospects for veterinary technicians.
Becoming a Mississippi Veterinary Technician
Mississippi requires that all practicing vet techs be licensed by the Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine. In order to qualify for licensure, the candidate must complete the following steps:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Complete an accredited veterinary technology program.
- Take and successfully pass the Veterinary Technical National Examination (VTNE).
- Take and successfully complete the Mississippi state jurisprudence examination.
Completing a Veterinary Technology Program
Most veterinary technology programs take about two years for a full-time student to complete. These programs cover the practical and academic aspects of the vet tech’s duties, and often include both classroom and clinical work. Some programs also offer internships, allowing the vet tech to obtain hands on experience while working under licensed veterinarians and vet techs.
In addition to full-time students, many vet tech programs have scheduling and online options for students who can only attend classes on a part-time basis. In many cases, classes for part-time students are offered in the evenings or on the weekends. This allows students who are currently working to complete the vet tech program at their own pace.
In order to be accepted by the state, vet tech programs must be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This body, working through the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTA), ensures that all aspects of a veterinary technology program conform to the current professional and academic standards needed to fully prepare its graduates for a career in veterinary technology.
It is very important that students ensure that their program is currently in good standing with the AVMA, so that they can be assured that Mississippi will accept their work. Students who have completed a foreign program must be able to demonstrate that it is equivalent to an AVMA certified vet tech program.
Taking the VTNE
The VTNE is the national examination for veterinary technicians, and is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The VTNE is regularly updated in order to ensure that it continues to reflect the modern practice of veterinary medicine and provides an accurate analysis of the candidate’s skills. In order to pass the VTNE, the student must score at least 425 on the exam.
Students should only take the VTNE when they are fully confident of passing the test. Retaking the VTNE requires paying the registration fee again, and the AAVSB and state licensing authorities have the option to require remedial measures if the student fails more than once. At the very least, failing the VTNE will delay the candidate’s licensing as a vet tech.
The State Board Exam
Like many states, Mississippi requires that all vet techs take a jurisprudence exam in addition to the VTNE. This exam does not focus on the vet tech’s professional skills, but how the laws of Mississippi influence the practice of veterinary technology. Passing this test demonstrates that the vet tech fully understands his or her legal and ethical professional responsibilities.
Employment Options in Mississippi
Currently, veterinary technicians and technologists are enjoying sustained and robust employment growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has estimated that nationally, the number of jobs available to vet techs are likely to increase by 52 percent by 2020. This is far above the national average for most jobs. In Mississippi itself, the number of vet tech job openings is expected to keep pace with the national average for vet techs.
Mississippi vet techs earn a median annual wage of over $27,000, which is competitive with other fields, especially considering the state’s low cost of living. Furthermore, experienced and specialist vet techs can expect to earn a higher wage than starting vet techs.
Becoming a vet tech can be an excellent choice, both for newly graduated students and older individuals who want to transition to a more financially and personally rewarding career. With the rising demand for high quality animal care, this field is one that is continuing to enjoy growing prestige among other veterinary professionals and the public alike.