To become an animal health technician, it is advisable to learn the regional and local regulations required in the area where you want to work. Some regulations require only certification to work as a technician, but in other regions you may need to have college training. Often a person can learn about the job prerequisites by talking to school or college counselors and people who work in the field. Researching different job descriptions of the career can reveal what potential employers expect in terms of schooling and work experience.
Generally, a person can take high school classes that will help prepare for a career as an animal health technician. Some of the subjects that experts suggest are biology, math, and science. Another way to prepare is to join clubs and associations, such as the Future Farmers of America, which is available in most U.S. high schools.
When researching job advertisements and college programs, you should research other job titles, such as veterinary technician, veterinary assistant, or veterinary nurse. Sometimes the requirements differ, depending on the country, region, or employer's needs. By thoroughly investigating the field, you can plan the various stages of your career. Many people seek entry-level jobs and continue their education while employed in the field. Some employers compensate employees for their continuing education.
In order to choose the field of animal health that appeals to them, many times people work at different jobs to gain experience. Some people work at animal shelters or humane societies, as aides in veterinary offices, or in the agricultural field. This variety of experience can help you decide if you want to work with small animals, farm animals, or in other areas. Often students get this experience while working summers between school semesters.
If you decide to go to college to learn to become an animal health technician, you should research the institution's credentials. Some of the things that you should consider when choosing schooling include whether the school offers hands-on training as well as whether it offers on-campus classes, online courses, or a hybrid of the two. Many schools help their graduates get the proper certifications and assist them in job placement.
Sometimes an applicant does not need an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree to become an animal health technician. Many times a worker in an animal shelter, veterinary office, or wildlife refuge only needs certification, such as the Euthanasia by Injection certificate in California. Some places, such as zoos, animal hospitals, or other animal health care facilities, prefer the applicants to have additional training that allows them to handle specimens in laboratories.
Before you decide to become an animal health technician, you should consider the rigors of the job. By reading several job descriptions, you will learn what your job duties will be. Often these tasks are mundane and sometimes distasteful. This is one reason why experts suggest that people work in the field before investing time and money into the career. Generally, an animal health technician performs routine care, such as grooming, exercising, and cleaning the animals' accommodations.