Becoming a Licensed Vet Tech in Texas
The veterinary care field is showing sustained growth in America, driven by the rising need for high quality veterinary care the private, industrial and government sectors.
Because of this, the need for skilled veterinary technicians is higher than ever before, making this field an excellent choice for those individuals who wish to enter a career with excellent salary and job security prospects.
Vet Techs in Texas
As of May 2012, Texas had over 7,700 vet techs working in the state, making it the state with the second highest employment level of vet techs in the nation. Only California employed more vet techs during this period.
In addition, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas vet techs earned a median annual wage of $28,160.
When the state’s lower cost of living is taken into account, this salary level is quite competitive with vet tech salaries in most other states.
Finally, Texas veterinary technologists are enjoying a period of sustained job growth. The BLS estimates that the total number of national veterinary technology jobs will grow by at least 52 percent between 2010 and 2020.
When combined with job attrition due to retirement and other factors, this makes the field of veterinary technology an excellent choice for career-minded individuals.
Becoming a Texas Vet Tech
Traditionally, the field of veterinary technology in Texas was certified by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA). In 2013, the TVMA was replaced as the certifying agency by the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. While individuals holding a valid certification from the TVMA may be “grandfathered in,” all future licensure issues will be handled by the Board.
Although individuals do not need to hold a license to carry out the duties of a vet tech in Texas, they must be licensed in order to identity themselves as a licensed veterinary technician to the public or their employer.
In order to obtain a license from the Board, a candidate must be able to meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age and have completed high school or received an equivalency degree.
- Have successfully completed an accredited veterinary technician program.
- Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
- Pass the state examination.
- Correctly provide the Board with all other requested information.
It should be noted that due to the change in how licensure is handled in Texas, some of these requirements might be modified in the near future. For this reason, all applicants should make certain to verify that they have up to date information from the Board before starting the application process.
Vet Tech Programs
Most vet tech programs take approximately two years for a full-time student to complete and are offered by community colleges, vocational schools and some adult education programs.
Veterinary technician programs train their students to carry out all the duties they will be required for perform as vet techs. In most cases, this training is accomplished by a mixture of classroom and lab instruction. In some cases, a school may have an arrangement with a private or public veterinary care facility that can allow qualified students to take part in internships or other development activities.
In addition to full-time programs, many institutions currently offer part-time schedules for those students who cannot attend school on a traditional schedule. These part-time programs can be especially beneficial for students who are currently working or have family obligations.
Finally, a growing number of schools offer online learning options. These programs allow the student to attend school via the Internet, reducing or eliminating the need to physically attend classes. This can be very useful for those students who have limited mobility or who are located inconveniently far from their school. Depending on the school, some functions, such as examinations or lab sessions, may require that the student be physically present.
Finally, only those schools that have been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This body ensures that all veterinary technology programs conform to the highest educational standards.
Texas does not currently accept course work performed at non-AVMA accredited institutions, making it very important that the student ensure that his or her program is currently accredited and in good standing with the AVMA.
The Veterinary Technician National Examination is a comprehensive examination that is designed to ensure that the vet tech candidate has the academic and practical knowledge needed to effectively carry out his or her duties. This examination is regularly updated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), which also administers and evaluates the examination results.
Although a student can repeat the VTNE after he or she has failed the examination, the AAVSB limits how soon the candidate can retake the examination.
In addition, the AAVSB reserves the right to demand that a candidate who has failed the VTNE multiple times provide proof of remedial work designed to rectify the issues that were responsible for failing the earlier tests. For this reason, it is very important that all candidates only take the VTNE when they are confident of their ability to pass the test.
The State Examination
Unlike the VTNE, the state examination is focused on the practice of veterinary technology as it relates to Texas state law. It is extremely important that all licensed vet techs understand what their duties and responsibilities are under state law, in order to avoid professional sanction by state regulatory agencies. In some cases, a licensed vet tech may have his or her license revoked or even face criminal penalties due to violations of state veterinary regulations.
Ultimately, becoming a licensed Texas vet tech can be an excellent path to a secure and personally rewarding career.
In addition to the material benefits, a practicing vet tech can enjoy the knowledge that he or she provides a vital service to the community by helping to maintain the health of America’s beloved companion animals.
Whether it is an individual’s first job after graduation or part of a transition to a more rewarding career, becoming a vet tech in today’s economy is an increasingly common choice for Americans interested in the veterinary care sector.
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