The veterinary field is one that has radically expanded over the recent past, as the best possible care for pets has become ever more important to Americans.
Even in today’s economic environment, many families consider proper pet care to be an indispensable part of their world. The certified veterinary technician (CVT) is a vital component of this expanded pet care sector, and as such is an increasingly promising field of employment.
Duties of the Certified Veterinary Technician
The CVT functions in much the same way a nurse does in the medical field. The CVT is a well-trained professional who assists the veterinarian in providing world-class care to his or her animal patients.
These duties commonly include the following procedures on the part of the CVT:
- The CVT will perform the initial physical of pets or other animals, providing the baseline information that the supervising veterinarian requires.
- When the veterinarian orders tests for the pet, it will be the certified veterinary technician who takes the blood and tissue samples, prepares them for testing, and if needed sends them to outside labs for testing. In addition, the CVT must prepare them in a way that complies with the various regulations on mailing or shipping biologically active materials.
- CVTs are often involved in preparing animals for surgery, assisting the veterinarian in various ways during the surgery and then monitoring the animal to ensure that it continues to recover from its illness or injury. In some cases, a CVT with higher levels of education may become a specialized surgical assistant.
- The CVT will help veterinary aides monitor the general condition of animals currently under the care of the veterinarian and ensure that they receive the proper diet and exercise. This is especially important for ill animals, which may have particular dietary requirements that must be met.
- As a representative of the veterinarian, a CVT will often be heavily involved in interacting with customers. This may require working with distraught individuals who have brought in a severely ill pet for treatment, requiring a calm and professional manner when taking down required information.
Other Fields of Employment
In addition to working in veterinary clinics, CVTs may find a variety of forms of employment in the industrial, farming and public service sectors. Many large farms make use of veterinarians and CVTs alike in order to ensure that their livestock and production animals are both healthy and living in comfortable conditions. This is especially important due to the need to conform to federal, state and local laws regarding the proper care and treatment of commercial animals.
Becoming a Certified Veterinary Technician
There are a variety of ways to become a certified veterinary technician, depending on the state where the individual resides.
The following guidelines are general in nature and someone seeking to become a CVT should always consult with their state’s professional licensing authority for detailed and up to date information.
In general, becoming a CVT requires the following steps.
- Enter an approved course of study at a two or four year college. Most approved programs have been accredited and evaluated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), which is the national body in charge of such functions. An accredited program is certified to meet certain standards of professionalism and skill in terms of its faculty and coursework.
- After graduation, the student must then take the Veterinary Technical National Examination (VTNE). This is a comprehensive examination that is administered by the AAVSB, and is designed to test the candidate’s academic and practical qualifications for becoming a CVT. In most states, a minimum score of 425 is required to pass the VTNE.
- In some states, the candidate must also take and pass a jurisprudence exam, which is an exam designed to ensure that the CVT understands how state and local laws relate to his or her duties.
- After completing all of these requirements, the candidate must then apply to the state board and pay a licensing fee in order to practice as a CVT in that state.
Repeating the VTNE
While it is possible to repeat the VTNE, the AAVSB has a policy of not allowing a student to retake the test more than five times, and some states have a lower number of allowed attempts. In some cases, the student may have to request permission to retake the VTNE, as well as demonstrating that he or she has improved their skills since the last test. Students should therefore do their best to pass the VTNE the first time they take it.
Some states will allow a licensed CVT from another state to obtain certification by reciprocity. This allows the CVT to use their certification to demonstrate their competency to practice in the new state.
This varies from state to state and so any CVT who intends to move to another state should check with the state board before hand. It is certain that they will have to take the jurisprudence exam (if it is required in the state) and pay the licensing fees of that state to continue to practice.
Becoming a CVT is an excellent way to enter into a well-regarded and compensated career. By studying the requirements of the various states, a student can effectively prepare to become a CVT, no matter the state where he or she resides.