For many students, preparing to enter a vet tech program can be an intimidating process.
However, there are a number of steps a student can take to ensure that they are ready and qualified to enter and complete a veterinary technician program.
From high school on, a student can build the foundation for those specialized skills they will learn once they have been admitted to a veterinary technology program.
Core Vet Tech Skills and Courses
Veterinary technology is a science-based field, and those individuals seeking to enter a vet tech programs should prepare for it by taking high school electives that focus in the areas of science, most specifically biology and chemistry.
The student should seek out any advanced electives in these fields, especially any advanced placement (AP) courses that may allow the student to use those courses to fulfill some of his or her college prerequisite coursework.
General science courses benefit the student by training him or her in the proper terminology that will be used in the veterinary technology program.
The most important science classes will be biology and its related fields.
Many schools offer courses that provide the student with a grounding in anatomy and physiology, as well as basic life sciences.
Although very general in comparison to most vet tech courses, these classes will provide the student with the basic understanding he or she will build on once accepted to a veterinary technology program. A major benefit of these courses will be in getting the student acquainted with veterinary terminology, both as it is used in the classroom and in the lab.
Vet techs must have a complete understanding of chemistry as it applies to their field, and most chemistry classes provide the background the student will need to do will in a veterinary technology program.
In addition to providing basic information about the field of chemistry, high school chemistry courses will acquaint the student with the important safety measures that he or she will be expected to adhere to once admitted to a vet tech program.
As with biology, learning the technical terminology associated with chemistry will help prepare the student to excel in any later chemistry focused veterinary technology program courses.
In addition, the student should also make certain to take any advanced mathematics courses that he or she can enter.
The veterinary care field involves a wide range of mathematical work, from calculating the proper dosage of medication to evaluating test results. For this reason, the vet tech must be skilled in this field. Although it is unlikely to be offered at the high school level, any biostatistics classes can be especially useful for students intending to enter the veterinary field.
Although not directly related to veterinary medicine, students should also focus on becoming highly proficient in English. Because vet techs must write accurate and concise reports, as well as be able to read and understand complex technical instructions, having a firm command of the English language is a vital part of any successful vet tech’s skill set.
In addition, both the vet tech program and any pre-requisites for entry will involve a number of essays, both for examinations and as general class work, making it vital that anyone intending to be a vet tech have well developed writing and reading skills.
Finally, those individuals who are attending school in a non-English speaking nation should be aware that most states that require practicing vet techs to obtain licensure may also impose an examination requirement for foreign students to ensure that they have an adequate level of proficiency in the English language.
This is in addition to any entry examinations that a vet tech program may demand for foreign candidates. For this reason, foreign students should not simply take traditional English courses, but also seek out courses in conversational English in order to ensure that they are fluent enough to be able to qualify for entry into an American vet tech program, in addition to being able to keep up with lectures and reading assignments alike.
In addition to science, math and English classes, individuals seeking to enter a veterinary technology program should also seek out any electives that focus on working with animals. Many schools have 4-H clubs or other groups that can allow a student to work with animals, either at the school or at other locations.
In addition to helping the student obtain a proficiency in working with animals, these classes and clubs can improve the student’s chances of gaining entry to the vet tech program of his or her choice. Those students who are seeking financial aid may find that these classes can improve their chances of obtaining the aid they seek.
Finally, there are a wide range of volunteer activities involving animals that high school students can seek out. As with school electives, these programs can improve the students understanding of the animal care field while also improving their ability to obtain the financial aid they require.
In addition, many volunteer programs put the student in direct contact with veterinarians, vet techs or other veterinary professionals. This can help the student develop the personal and professional connections that will help the student long after he or she has graduated from a vet tech program.
Ultimately, a student can effectively prepare for entry into a veterinary technology program long before he or she has graduated from high school. By doing so, not only can the student improve the probability of quickly completing the program, but can also improve his or her employment prospects after obtaining a vet tech’s license.