For many Americans, effective veterinary care for their treasured pets is nearly as important as proper medical care for human family members. This has resulted in a vast expansion of veterinary practices across America, which shows no signs of slowing.
Because of this, becoming a veterinary technician is an excellent path to a rewarding and socially respected career in today’s economy.
What is a Vet Tech
Veterinary techs work as the veterinary equivalent of a registered nurse, assisting veterinarians in providing care to livestock and pets alike. Vet techs work directly under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, in partnership with other vet techs, veterinary aides and clerical staff.
A vet tech will often perform the following duties:
- Assisting in administering drugs and other medications that have been prescribed by the vet.
- Instructing owners in how to properly administer drugs to their pets once they return home.
- Conducting the initial exam of newly admitted animals, in order to provide baseline information for the veterinarian.
- In some cases, provide emergency first aid for severely injured or ill animals, stabilizing them until the vet can further treat them.
- Safely restraining panicked or angry animals so that the veterinarian and other personnel can treat the animal.
- When working with commercial farms or other production animal related businesses, ensuring that the animals are properly treated in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
In addition, a veterinary technician will interact with the owners of those animals treated at the practice. This requires a courteous and professional attitude and strong communication skills. In cases where the animal is ill or injured, the vet tech may have to calm distraught owners so that vital information can be obtained about the animal.
Becoming a Vet Tech in Alabama
The first step to becoming a vet tech in Alabama is to choose from accredited vet tech schools in Alabama. The Alabama law regarding the licensure of veterinary technicians requires that they attend a school that has been either accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or has been specifically approved by the state board. Students should be certain that their program meets those qualifications, as unapproved programs will not count for the purposes of obtaining a vet techs license.
The Vet Tech Program
Most full-time vet tech programs take about two years, depending on the specific program and the student’s schedule. However, for students who cannot attend a full-time program, whether due to work or other commitments, many programs offer part-time programs that let the student attend evening and weekend classes. In addition, some schools currently offer online classes, allowing students to finish their coursework on their own schedule.
Passing the VTNE and the Alabama State Exam
After completing an accredited vet tech program, the student must then take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). The VTNE is a comprehensive exam that tests all aspects of the individual’s knowledge regarding the practice of veterinary medicine as it relates to the duties of a vet tech. In order to pass the VTNE, the student must achieve a score of at least 425 on the test.
While it is possible to retake the VTNE, the student must pay the application fees for every retaken test. Additionally, the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), which administers the VTNE, will in general not permit more then five attempts to pass the test. For that reason, a student should only take the VTNE once they are fully prepared to pass the test.
After passing the VTNE, the student must pass the State Board Written Jurisprudence Examination, which ensures that the student fully understands the responsibilities and rights a veterinary tech has under Alabama law. By passing this test, the student can then become a licensed Alabama veterinary technician.
Renewing the Vet Tech License
The vet tech must renew his or her license annually in order to remain licensed to practice in Alabama. As part of the renewal process, the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners requires that veterinary technicians have completed at least eight hours of continuing education over the course of the year. This education must be provided by approved sources, and must be documented in order to count for license renewal purposes. This continuing education helps ensure that the vet tech remains up to date with the current state of veterinary medicine.
Becoming a vet tech in Alabama is an excellent career choice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts continued robust growth for the field of veterinary technology, as well as very competitive salary options. Whether for a newly graduated student, or for an individual seeking to improve his or her career options, becoming a vet tech is an excellent choice.
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