Registered veterinary technicians help veterinarians with job tasks such as venipuncture, urine collection, skin scraping, and radiography. The job might also entail assisting veterinarians with lab tests, catheterizing, giving intravenous fluids, recording vital signs, dressing a wound, tooth cleaning, or anesthetizing animals during surgery. If you hope to become a registered veterinary technician, it generally will be necessary to get a college degree.
Going to an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited college program and getting either an associate's degree or bachelor's degree is a good idea if you hope to become a registered veterinary technician. The AVMA accredits programs that provide high quality preparation for their students. Thus, if you graduate an AVMA accredited program, it greatly improves your chances of getting a job after college.
In addition to the classroom work, going to school to become a registered veterinary technician requires that you gain work experience during your college years. For instance, you would likely work at a veterinary hospital or veterinary clinic with a licensed veterinarian providing supervision as you gain experience in doing various clinical tasks. In addition, you would have the opportunity to observe the veterinarian working in varied circumstances such as conferencing with pet owners about the health condition of their pet, writing health reports, and record keeping.
After completion of the work experience, in most locales, there will be a licensure examination that you must pass to become a registered veterinary technician. In the United States, there is the Veterinary Technician National Exam. This test can be given by a local licensing board or the local veterinary medicine association. The exam covers material that college programs teach and also information that one would typically learn as a result of having done a supervised work experience.
Not only is it helpful for a registered veterinary technician to have good academic skills but it also helps if there is tolerance and a flexible personality. The reason for this is that work with animals can be very unpredictable. Thus, if you are flexible and tolerant, you can adapt to whatever behaviors the animal might exhibit during the course of the medical examination.
Also, it helps to be the type of person who can cope with death on a frequent basis. For instance, sometimes animals do not survive surgery. Registered veterinary technicians have to be able to maintain composure to inform the pet owners of their pet's death and then move on to the next patient.
If you can become a registered veterinary technician, you could work in a veterinarian's office for the duration of your career. However, some choose to attend veterinary school after working for a few years. Their work gives them the background and experience to be able to do well in veterinary school.