The veterinary technician plays a vital role in the field of animal care. Whether working in a rural veterinarian’s office or as a part of a larger organization, the vet tech assists in ensuring that all animals receive effective and prompt veterinary care.
Additionally, in today’s economy, becoming a veterinary technician allows an individual to enjoy a long-term and rewarding career. As a state with extensive rural, urban and suburban sectors, Tennessee has become an ideal state for the growth of the veterinary sector.
Becoming a Licensed Tennessee Vet Tech
Becoming a licensed Tennessee veterinary technician requires that the student complete several steps and then apply to the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. The student must document the successful completion of all required steps in order to be licensed by the state.
Vet Tech Programs
Tennessee requires that all vet tech programs be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This organization ensures that all schools meet the highest professional standards in the field of veterinary medicine.
In most cases, these programs are two-year or four-year programs and can be taken at local colleges or from other accredited institutions. Many offer both part time and full time courses, in order to most effectively meet the needs of students with job or family commitments. Additionally, a number of distance learning programs exist, allowing students to perform most of their work at home rather than having to physically attend classes.
The Veterinary Technician National Exam
After completing his or her program, the candidate must take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). This is a comprehensive test covering all aspects of the veterinary technician’s duties, and is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).
The candidate must pass with a score of at least 425 to qualify to become a veterinary technician. If the candidate fails the test, he or she may retake it, but the AAVSB only allows a candidate to take the test five times without special permission. In addition, student must pay for every test, so it is wise to only take the test when fully prepared.
Other Requirements for Licensure
After having completed the VTNE, the candidate must have his or her transcripts transmitted to the state, as well as completing several other items:
- The application form must be completed and notarized before being provided to the state.
- The candidate must submit to a criminal background check, which will be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
- The candidate must provide at least one letter of recommendation from a practicing Tennessee veterinarian.
Continuing Education and License Renewal
All vet techs must obtain at least 12 hours of continuing education every year in order to be eligible to renew their license. These courses must be approved by the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, and must be properly documented in order to be considered. This requirement ensures that all vet techs remain fully informed on the current state of veterinary medicine.
The Duties of a Vet Tech
Vet techs work alongside veterinarians and assist them in treating various types of animals. A vet tech in a rural location may work with farm animals and domestic pets, while an urban practice may see the technical assisting the veterinarian with exotic pets such as snakes and birds.
The vet tech may conduct the initial examination of newly admitted animals, provide emergency first aid to injured animals, administer drugs that the veterinarian has prescribed and monitor the condition of animal during its treatment. In some cases, the vet tech may assist the veterinarian before, during and after surgical procedures, as well as administer tests to the animal and record the results.
Vet Tech Careers
There are a variety of potential career options for vet techs in Tennessee. The rising importance many individuals place on obtaining high quality care for their pets has resulted in a growing number of rural and urban veterinary practices which has increased the demand for qualified veterinary technicians. In addition, the agricultural and farming sector also requires a growing number of veterinary technicians to assist in caring for livestock and production animals.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the job outlook for vet techs remains very promising, with a 52 percent increase in the job openings expected by 2020. The median yearly income of over $29,000 remains competitive with similar jobs.
A licensed veterinary technician is a professional who can enjoy working in a secure profession that is also valued by the community. Whether for a newly graduated adult, or an older professional thinking of changing careers, the vet tech remains an attractive career option.
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