Becoming a Vet Tech In Montana.
The growing importance of animal care has resulted in an increased focus on providing effective veterinary care for animals of all types. Montana is one state where the wide variety of animal care needs, ranging from production animals and livestock to common and exotic pets, demands highly skilled and qualified veterinary professionals.
Career Opportunities for Veterinary Technicians in Montana
Montana is a state with a wide range of urban and rural job opportunities for qualified veterinary technicians. The state’s economy has large farming and ranching sectors, which require extensive veterinary support. In addition, there is a high level of demand for qualified veterinary care for family pets, ranging from common domestic dogs and cats to exotic species.
Vet Tech Duties
Veterinary technicians assist the supervising veterinarian in providing high quality care to injured and ill animals. Vet techs must be capable of accurately communicating with the veterinarian and other staff members, in addition to effectively carrying out their duties under the supervision of the vet.
Common duties of a vet tech include the following:
- Working with the veterinarian during surgical procedures, including preparing the room, assisting the veterinarian during the surgery, and caring for the animal after the surgical procedure is complete.
- Vet techs will administer drugs prescribed by the veterinarian and instruct animal owners in how to administer them.
- In many cases, the vet tech will conduct the initial physical and record the information for later use by the veterinarian.
- When injured or ill animals are admitted, the vet tech will provide the first aid needed to stabilize them.
- The vet tech will also interview the animal owners in order to determine the condition of their animal. This often requires a calm and professional manner in order to effectively work with the distraught owners.
- In some cases, vet techs may be employed by veterinary practices working with commercial farms to assist in ensuring that their conditions comply with state and federal law.
Becoming a Certified Veterinary Technician in Montana
Montana does not currently require licensure for veterinary technicians. However, most veterinary practices prefer certified veterinary technicians in order to ensure that the animals under their care receive the best possible treatment.
The primary certification body in Montana is the Big Sky Veterinary Technician Association (BSVTA). The BSVTA ensures that all certified vet techs in Montana have mastered the skills needed to provide a high level of quality care to any animals they are treating.
Requirements for Certification
The BSVTA has several paths to certification, but they all require that the candidates demonstrate competency in the field of veterinary medicine. The BSVTA requires that the candidate be able to effectively document his or her compliance with the specific standards for certification.
Completion of an Accredited Course of Study and VTNE
The most common method to achieve certification is to complete an accredited veterinary technician program and successfully take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides accreditation services for all American and Canadian vet tech programs. This process ensures that the vet tech program adheres to high standards in its curriculum and the professionalism of its instructors. Furthermore, the AVMA regularly examines accredited schools to ensure that they continue to maintain their standards.
In most cases, a full-time vet tech program will take approximately two years to complete. However, many schools offer part-time and distance learning courses for those students who are incapable of attending the program full time. This helps those who are currently working or who have family obligations to complete the program on a schedule that is compatible with their needs.
After completing the vet tech program, the student must successfully take and pass the VTNE. The VTNE is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), and is a comprehensive exam that evaluates every aspect of the candidate’s skills. In order to qualify for certification by the BSVTA the candidate must pass the VTNE with a score of no less than 425.
Certification by Experience
For already employed veterinary technicians, the BSVTA permits certification by experience. These vet techs must be able to document at least five years and have passed the VTNE by December 31, 2006. Vet techs that have not fulfilled those requirements must attend an accredited vet tech program and pass the VTNE even if they are currently working in a veterinary practice.
Certification by Reciprocity
Finally, vet techs that are certified or licensed in another state automatically qualify for certification in Montana. Vet techs intending to move to Montana should ensure that they can properly document their status to the BSVTA.
Certificate Renewal and Continuing Education
The vet tech’s certification must be renewed annually. In addition to paying the renewal fee, a vet tech must take at least 16 credits worth of continuing education every two years. These credits must be from approved sources, so a vet tech should ensure that the BSVTA will accept their continuing education credits before the renewal deadline.
Becoming a certified veterinary technician in Montana is an excellent path to a growing and well-compensated career. In addition, by serving his or her local community, a vet tech will become a highly respected professional. Whether for a newly graduated student or someone who is seeking to transition to a more rewarding career, the field of veterinary technology is an excellent choice.
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