How do I get a Vet Tech License?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
Veterinarian with a puppy
Veterinarian with a puppy

Typically, getting a vet tech license requires both taking the appropriate examination though a licensing organization and going through the necessary educational requirements to qualify for that exam. In some countries, completion of the educational requirements results in a diploma, which functions as a vet tech license without additional testing. It was once also common for veterinary technicians with a certain number of hours of experience to take the vet tech exam and become licensed without educational requirements. Most states in the United States require both education and testing.

A licensed veterinary technician, also called a vet tech, is the rough equivalent of a registered nurse for animals. Getting a vet tech license can be a great start to a prosperous career, with opportunities in many organizations that deal with animals, such as veterinary offices, zoos, and animal shelters. Veterinary technicians are highly regulated in most countries, with a standard vet tech license required to practice in most locations.

In the United States, the first step to obtaining a vet tech license is to complete an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in veterinary technology. The American Veterinary Medical Association must approve the school offering the program. Other countries have unique accreditation entities that oversee the educational systems.

Most veterinary technology programs involve significant hours spent practicing in a clinic and coursework relating to veterinary tasks and science. While it is possible to get this degree through online learning, it is usually a better idea to attend courses given the number of hours of hands-on experience required. Other countries usually require similar programs regulated by their own veterinary organizations.

After the degree is completed, it is still necessary to complete one or several exams to obtain a vet tech license. Most states require the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which is standard across the United States, as well as a specific exam in each state. It is important to look into the exact requirements for the region in which one intends to work upon graduation.

Exams, whether taken in the United States or another country, are usually described as difficult and thorough exams. Vocabulary is usually a large component, and mastery of terms can be the difference between passing and failing. Also, it is important to remember that all areas of veterinary technician work are often covered in the test, including both large and small animals, as well as reviewing such diverse areas as math, dentistry, and pharmacology. Attending a review session before taking this exam is highly recommended.

Once the necessary exams are passed, there may be additional fees related to licensing. The license may also need to be renewed periodically. Once these final steps are finished and documentation is obtained, the process is complete and the veterinary technician may be considered licensed.

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    • Veterinarian with a puppy
      Veterinarian with a puppy