Becoming a Vet Tech In Iowa
Becoming a veterinary technician is an increasingly attractive career choice for many individuals. With the growing emphasis on high quality animal care in America, veterinary care is an expanding and well-compensated field.
Because of this, many individuals, whether they are newly graduated job seekers or older individuals seeking to transition to a more rewarding field, have decided to seek out a career as veterinary technicians.
What Does a Vet Tech Do?
A vet tech is a veterinary professional who assists veterinarians in providing high quality care to animals of all types. Depending on the practice and region, a vet tech may find him or herself working on equines, common pets, livestock, or exotic pets such as reptiles and small mammals. In small veterinary clinics, the vet tech may assist a single veterinarian, while large urban clinics may have several vet techs working with a number of different veterinary professionals depending on the day’s schedule.
Most vet techs will perform the following duties in the veterinary practice:
- Assist in the initial physical examination of newly admitted animals.
- Assist the veterinarian before, during and after surgical procedures.
- Monitor the overall health of animals while they are being cared for.
- Administer medications prescribed by the vet. Veterinary technicians will also instruct animal owners in how to administer those medications sent home with the animal.
- When working with frightened or hostile animals, the vet tech will help immobilize the animal without harming it so that the veterinary team can safely treat it.
- Some vet techs will supervise coworkers, including veterinary aides, other vet techs and the clerical staff.
Becoming a Veterinary Technician in Iowa
Iowa does not currently require veterinary technicians to be licensed to practice in the state. However, in order to have the best possible salary and career options it is wise to become a certified vet tech.
Vet Tech Schools
Most veterinary technology programs last two years for a full-time student. In some cases, a program will offer distance learning or part-time options for those students who cannot attend school full-time. This allows students who are working to complete the program at their own pace.
The student should make certain that his or her program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This ensures that the program has passed a strict professional evaluation process. In most cases, businesses and government bodies will not accept coursework performed at a non-accredited school.
After completing the program, the graduate must take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). The VTNE is a comprehensive exam that evaluates the vet techs skills. It is regularly updated by veterinary professionals to reflect the status of the field of veterinary technology and is accepted by all state licensure boards. A passing score of at least 425 is required for all candidates.
Finally, Iowa candidates must take and pass a written exam, testing the veterinary technician’s understanding of the duties and responsibilities vet techs have under Iowa law. After successfully passing the state exam, the vet tech is eligible to become a registered Iowa Veterinary Technician.
Continuing Education and Registration Renewal
The vet tech must renew his or her license every three years. In addition to the renewal fee, Iowa requires that the vet tech have completed at least 30 hours of approved continuing education (CE).
The Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine determines what types of material will be approved for the purposes of CE hours, so vet techs who are preparing to renew their registration should consult with the Board when selecting CE courses.
The Benefits of Registration
In addition to the superior career options available to registered Iowa vet techs, being registered may allow the vet tech to practice in other states should he or she choose to do so. In some cases, a state may allow the registered vet tech to be licensed by endorsement, rather than having to repeat the entire process. This can be very important for individuals who expect to leave Iowa for another state at some later point.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently estimates that the number of jobs available for veterinary technicians will continue to grow at an above average rate. The field of veterinary technology remains especially promising given Iowa’s mixture or urban and rural regions. Whether the vet tech is working in a clinic that primarily services pet owners, or one that focuses on providing care to livestock and other production animals, Iowa remains an extremely attractive region for those interested in a career in veterinary technology.
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