Veterinary medicine has changed dramatically in recent years, with an increasing emphasis on advanced and complete care for all types of pets and livestock.
With many veterinary practices making use of MRI systems, advanced surgical techniques and other innovative veterinary procedures, the need for professional veterinary technicians is greater than ever.
The Duties of a Vet Tech
Vet techs assist veterinarians in a variety of ways when caring for animals. In most cases, the vet tech closely works with a veterinarian and other coworkers and may supervise other employees in the office. The most common duties of a vet tech include the following activities:
- Ensuring that all equipment and supplies are kept ready for use by the veterinarian.
- Carrying out the initial exam of admitted animals, in order to provide the veterinarian with an overview of their condition.
- In cases where animals are admitted with life-threatening injuries, the vet tech may be required to administer first aid in order to stabilize the animal until the veterinarian provides long-term care.
- Under the direction of a supervising veterinarian, vet techs may administer medication to animals receiving treatment.
- A vet tech will interview the owners of injured or ill animals, in order to obtain information needed by the vet. This often requires interacting with distraught individuals in a caring and professional manner.
Becoming a Vet Tech in Arkansas
As a state with a large farming sector, in addition to many rural and urban animal owners, Arkansas has clear requirements those who wish to become a vet tech must meet.
Students must complete an accredited vet tech program, pass an examination and register with the state in order to become a licensed vet tech.
Vet techs must first complete a veterinary technician program offered by a school that has been accredited by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The AAVSB ensures that all accredited schools provide highly qualified instructors and programs for their students. There are a wide variety of AAVSB accredited schools, ranging from community colleges to private vocational schools.
Depending on the nature of the program and the student’s schedule, the time required to complete a vet tech program can range from a few months to two years or more. In addition, many schools offer part-time and distance learning courses in order to allow working students, or those who cannot physically attend class, to complete the program at their own pace.
Completing the Veterinary Technician National Examination
Arkansas also requires that the vet tech successfully take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). The VTNE is a comprehensive exam that has been designed by practicing veterinarians and educators to effectively test the student’s practical and academic qualifications.
The state of Arkansas does not accept VTNE scores from tests taken outside of the state. For that reason, anyone intending to become a licensed vet tech in Arkansas must make arrangements to take the VTNE within the state.
The VTNE can be taken up to five times, but the candidate will have to pay the registration fee for each test. Additionally, the VTNE cannot be taken more than five times without specific approval, which often involves additional steps to demonstrate that the individual is adequately prepared for the test. For that reason, candidates should only take the VTNE when they are fully prepared to pass it.
Renewing the Vet Tech License
Vet techs must renew their license to practice every year in order to remain licensed practitioners. In Arkansas, renewing their license requires that they pay the renewal fee and provide proof that they have taken at least six hours of approved continuing education courses. Vet techs should check with the State of Arkansas Medical Examining Board to ensure that their courses qualify.
Types of Veterinary Tech Careers
There are a wide range of potential vet tech careers in Arkansas, due to the state’s varied economy and population. Vet tech jobs can range from assisting at a small rural practice to working with a number of fellow vet techs at a large urban veterinary clinic. In addition, many farms make use of veterinarians and vet techs to ensure that their animals are healthy can conform to state and federal health regulations.
Finally, there are a number of government employment options for vet techs. Ranging from local humane societies and animal shelters, to wildlife management, vet techs can enter a career in a wide range of government sectors.
Becoming a vet tech allows the individual to enter a secure and prestigious career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has determined that vet tech jobs are increasing at a very high rate, making this career very promising for the newly graduated student and those individuals seeking a more rewarding career alike.