How to Maximize the Probability of Being Employed as a Vet Tech
Veterinary technicians are an integral part of America’s rapidly growing pet care sector, and becoming a vet tech can be a pathway to a professionally and personally rewarding career.
However, in order to make the most of their career, a vet tech should take advantage of the following methods that will help him or her obtain the best possible job opportunities.
Schooling and Certification
While some states do not require vet techs to be certified or licensed to practice, a vet tech should always try to obtain certification or licensure in order to enhance their job options. Even when not required by the state, a professional certification demonstrates that the vet tech has attained a high degree of skill in his or her field. In fact, many businesses and organizations will only hire vet techs that can show that they have been certified.
Finally, certification will make it easier for a veterinary technician to practice in another state, even if that state requires all vet techs to be licensed. In most cases, a state will permit a certified vet tech to obtain a license by endorsement, rather than forcing them to repeat their education. Non-certified vet techs may find themselves forced to repeat their entire educational process if they should move to another state.
Choosing an Accredited Program
A vet tech should make certain that their veterinary technology program has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This body is nationally recognized as the primary accrediting authority for veterinary technology programs. By graduating from an AVMA accredited program, a veterinary technician will radically increase his or her likelihood of obtaining a job in the veterinary technology field.
Taking and Passing the Veterinary Technician National Examination
In most cases, even voluntary certification programs will require that the candidate take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). This exam is designed to ensure that the candidate’s academic and practical veterinary skill will be evaluated, and that anyone passing the exam is fully capable of carrying out the duties of a veterinary technician.
Veterinary Technician Internships
Another way to effectively prepare to enter the veterinary technician’s field is to obtain an internship. Internships allow a vet tech to obtain valuable experience, working directly under experienced veterinarians and vet techs in a veterinary clinic.
In many cases, internships are paid positions, allowing the candidate to work full-time without having to have an outside source of funding. Some vet tech programs include provisions to enter an internship before graduation, while others are offered to new graduates.
In addition to allowing a vet tech to obtain practical experience in the field, internships often allow the vet tech to meet and interact with veterinarians who are currently well known in their area. By favorably impressing these professionals, the vet tech can dramatically increase his or her ability to obtain a job. In some cases, an intern may actually be hired by the business or organization where he or she carried out the internship.
Volunteer work can also be an excellent method to start to build up a network of professional contacts in the veterinary field. In many cases, a vet tech can volunteer while attending a program, gaining valuable experience at the same time he or she is forging personal connections with the local veterinary community. Volunteer work can also be arranged around the vet tech’s school and work commitments, making it possible to carry out some volunteer work even when the vet tech is working or attending school on a full-time basis.
Volunteer work can include the following fields:
- Working at a local humane shelter.
- Providing assistance at a local zoo or wildlife park.
- Working with community veterinarians to provide low cost veterinary care.
- Assisting with presentations to schools about proper pet care techniques.
Seeking High Demand Work Areas
The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently estimates that employment for veterinary technicians is quickly growing. However, as with any profession, some areas may have a higher demand for qualified vet techs than other areas. Due to this, any vet tech seeking a long-term job should carefully research what areas are currently experiencing a high demand for veterinary professionals. Examples of regions that may have a need for vet techs include the following:
- Areas that are seeing an increase in the residential population, especially if there are a large number of families with children.
- Areas that have a large production animal or livestock industry sector.
- Regions that are currently seeing an expansion in biotech firms or other industries that make use of animals for various types of laboratory work.
Seek out Underrepresented Fields
Additionally, there are a number of specialties that currently have a higher than normal demand for qualified vet techs. Large animal and equine care is an example of one field that is currently showing a high demand for qualified veterinary care professionals. By being willing to work in such fields, a vet tech can dramatically improve his or her chances of obtaining employment.
Becoming a Certified Specialist
Finally, there are a number of National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recognized specialties. Although certification in one of these specialties requires a large amount of work experience and is therefore not available to newly graduated vet techs, becoming a certified specialist vet tech can dramatically improve the individual’s professional opportunities.
In many cases, government and private agencies will prefer to hire certified specialists as opposed to other vet techs. In addition, most specialists have superior advancement and salary options when compared to non-specialist vet techs. Finally, due to their importance, certified specialist vet techs have a higher degree of job security than other veterinary professionals do.
Becoming a vet tech is a decision that offers excellent personal and professional opportunities. Due to the growing importance of the veterinary care sector in America, most states will have a dynamic and growing job market that offers a wide range of opportunities for vet techs, no matter their level of experience or specialty, making this career especially attractive for individuals who may need to move at some point in their professional career. Whether the individual is a newly graduated student seeking out his or her first professional career, or an individual transitioning to a more rewarding profession, becoming a vet tech is a very wise career choice.