With the growing importance of veterinary medicine in America, skilled veterinary technicians will enjoy excellent job and salary options as they assist veterinarians in providing world-class care to pets, livestock and production animals.
Connecticut is an especially promising state for veterinary technicians, as it has a vibrant combination of rural and urban regions that have created a growing demand for veterinary care professionals.
Connecticut Vet Techs and the Job Market
Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that Connecticut employees over 1,100 vet techs, with a median annual salary of over $39,000. This is considerably higher than the national median annual salary for vet techs, which is just over $29,000. In addition, the field of veterinary technology is rapidly expanding, with a wide range of new jobs being offered. In fact, the national job outlook for veterinary technicians expects a 52 percent increase in the number of jobs by 2020, which is much faster than the average rate of expansion for other fields.
In addition to employment in private veterinary clinics, Connecticut offers a wide range of career options in the private and government sectors alike. Animal control programs, wildlife management and zoological institutions all require skilled vet techs, which further increases the number of likely job openings in the state.
Becoming a Connecticut Vet Tech
Although Connecticut does not currently require vet techs to be licensed by the state, obtaining an effective vet tech education is required to be hired by most groups. Vet techs that may choose to move to another state should obtain an education that will be accepted outside of Connecticut in order to ensure that they can continue to work in their profession.
Finally, the Connecticut Veterinary Technician Association (CVTA) provides certification for qualified veterinary technicians, which can dramatically improve their career and salary options in Connecticut.
By doing so, they can also prepare themselves for further professional development, including certification in a variety of vet tech specialties.
The two primary educational requirements for vet techs wishing to be certified are completing an accredited veterinary technology program and successfully passing the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). At that point, the vet tech will be considered fully qualified by employers and fellow professionals alike.
Veterinary Technology Programs
There are a wide variety of vet tech programs available in Connecticut, including programs offered by vocational schools and community colleges. In general, a veterinary technology program covers the practical and academic duties of a vet tech.
During the program, the students will study the science of veterinary medicine while also working with skilled instructors in labs and other settings where they can obtain practical veterinary experience. Some schools may have internship programs that can allow some students to obtain hands-on experience in practicing veterinary clinics.
While most full-time programs require about two years to complete, many programs offer part-time options for those students who cannot attend school on a traditional schedule. Some schools offer online classes in order to assist those students who prefer to study at their own pace.
It is very important that the student ensure that his or her school is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This body ensures that any accredited school adheres to high professional standards. Most state and private certification programs will not accept certificates or diplomas that have been awarded by a non-accredited school.
After completing an accredited vet tech program, the student may take the VTNE. The VTNE is a national test that is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The AAVSB ensures that the VTNE is always up to date with the modern practice of veterinary medicine and provides an effective evaluation of the candidate’s practical and academic qualifications.
In order to pass the VTNE, the candidate must have a score of at least 425 on the test. Those who fail the VTNE may retake it, but the AAVSB generally only allows five attempts to pass the VTNE. Candidates who wish to retake the test more than five times are required to make special arrangements with the AAVSB to demonstrate that they have taken action to rectify the issues that prevented them from passing the earlier tests. For this reason, a candidate should only take the VTNE when he or she is fully prepared to pass the test.
The CVTA controls certification in Connecticut, although that is not required to work in the state. Vet techs who are interested in obtaining certification from the CVTA should contact the organization for the most recent information regarding certification requirements. Vet techs seeking certification or licensure in other states should make certain to keep all of their records up to date, as they will be required to provide proof of graduation to the state licensure agency.
Qualified vet techs have a wide range of potential job opportunities in Connecticut, ranging from work in a conventional veterinary clinic to a career in veterinary research. In addition to the material benefits, vet techs are highly regarded by a public that values high quality animal care. Whether for a newly graduated high school student or for an older individual seeking a more financially and personally rewarding career, the field of veterinary technology can be an excellent career choice.