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What does it take to become a Vet Tech?

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Kemba’s Answer

That depends because in the veterinary community we use nurse/technician/tech interchangeably as a broad category of professionals. The official website I would refer you to is here (https://www.navta.net/page/vet_asst_program). Each program will have different prerequisites so please reach out to the schools listed for specific information.

I have known vet techs who started in a vet clinic without prior training and learned it all on the job. I have also known registered veterinary technicians who have done a two year program, taken exams and also participate in Continuing Education annually to maintain their licensure.

In my experience a registered or licensed veterinary technician will have more formal education and can therefore expect to be paid more than an unlicensed tech who has on the job training. Veterinary technicians are found everywhere veterinarians are so think traditional clinics (spay/neuter/vaccines/dentals/large animal/food animal), referral hospitals (internal medicine, ophthalmology, surgery), government /public health, universities, vaccine manufacturers, etc.

Kemba recommends the following next steps:


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Kimberly’s Answer

Hi Victoria; I was a vet tech on weekends at a small local clinic in Georgia. I started by volunteering my time with small duties around the clinic. Once they knew I wanted to learn, they started giving me more responsibilities. I didn't initially go to be a vet tech, just to learn more about animals so I could help to take care of my own pets. There are lots of schools to attend for vet tech 2-year certification. I would highly recommend searching in your area since this usually aids in a higher salary. Good luck on your endeavors.

Below is a link to assist with vet tech programs in Florida:


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Sharool’s Answer

If you want a career that will bring in huge monetary rewards, then being a vet tech, or even a veterinarian, or anything having to do with animals is not really “worth it”. If you have a passion for medicine, science, and animals and enjoy working with people, then it's absolutely worth it!

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karen’s Answer

I really like Dr. Marshall, DVM reply to this post and I second her opinion that the best route is via the VETERINARY TECHNITION ASSOCIATION she mentioned in her post.
While it is possible in the veterinary field to start as an untrained and inexperienced helper. Sometimes called Kennel Attendent, Veterinary Assisitant, Animal Tech or even Veterinary Technition - this typically means a lower salary and can take years before you might be as experienced as you would coming out of a veterinary technition training school with your RVT (Registered Veterinary Technition) Certification.

Many years ago - that was the typical route. But I can tell you that if you are intending to make this your career, and you want to assure that you will not only recieve the highest pay possible and.... you want to have the room to grow and be able to excell in your career - I recommend you take the time and do the training.

Many RVT training schools where you come out as a REGISTERED VETERINARY TECHNITION (be aware this title is in early stages of being modified to REGISTERED VETERINARY NURSE - similar to an RN in the human medicine world) - many schools offer scholarships or grants, and many specialty or industry practices will offer to pay for your training with various plans, you might consider applying to some of these practices and asking about this option.

in my opinion, these schools are doing a diservice to the people who attend them and they cost as much or sometimes more than the RVT schools.

If you choose to do some other sort of entry level training like "animal assistant" training - look carefully and do not pay more than you would for credits at a community college because the value of that degree or certification is not much more than starting at the bottom of a veterinary clinic team and learning on the job - you will recieve the same pay as someone with other certification and if you choose your job well, will get about the same training.

With all of that said, know this also - if you plan to make becoming an RVT your career, and you plan to invest the time and money into the training, do your research before you choose a program or decide that is what you want to do for sure.

Make appointments at as many veterinary clinics as you can and speak to the vets there. Interview them about your question and ask their opinion about just working vs getting the training (careful because they will want to hire you and promise to teach you everything you will learn at tech school and pay you what might sound like a good salary but seriously - be aware! Sometimes well meaning vets will convince you to sign up and once you get working...years can go by before you notice that you might be highly skilled by then as a tech but you might not be receiving the pay, ablitiy to continue to learn, acknowlegment or career opportunity and respect that you would if you had done the harder training first.

If you want a career in veterinary medicine that is well respected, provides you with numerous opportunity now and in the future for growth, and a credential that is respected and in demand now and in the future - EARN YOUR RVT at an accredited school for veterinary technitions (this training can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on the school).

If you want experience in the veterinary world before you decide to commit to an RVT program - get a job as an assisitant and check it out.

If you love veterinary medicine and are willing to put in the work - LOOK INTO APPLYING TO VETERINARY SCHOOL - there are more opportunities than ever and you can make it if you really want it.

IF YOU WANT TO EARN MORE MONEY - go to med school ! (Just kidding - sort of) :)

Karen Rabin, DVM

karen recommends the following next steps:

1. Get information about local RVT SCHOOLS
2. Interview local veterinarians and ask for their advice (check with more than one).
3. Consider getting a job at a local clinic to see if you like the type of work (but don't get stuck there - keep your goal in mind and let it be known at all times).
4. Don't rule out vet school !