New Mexico has a vibrant and growing veterinary care sector, due to the state’s combination of rural and urban centers. With an extensive commercial farming and ranching sector, in addition to a wide variety of individuals seeking high quality care for their companion animals, becoming a vet tech in New Mexico is an excellent choice.
The Role of the Vet Tech
Veterinary technicians act as professional assistants to their supervising veterinarian. They are trained to handle a wide variety of duties, assisting the vet in providing high quality care for the animals that are being treated. The most common duties of a vet tech include the following:
- The vet tech provides the veterinarian with the initial evaluation and physical examination for newly admitted animals.
- When injured or ill animals are brought into the practice, the vet tech often provides the initial first aid in order to stabilize the animal for later treatment by the veterinarian.
- The vet tech will assist the veterinarian before, during and after surgical procedures.
- Vet techs are responsible for taking samples of blood and other materials and preparing them to be sent to a lab for testing.
Other Vet Tech Fields
In addition to working in veterinary clinics and practices, there are a number of other fields open to New Mexico vet techs. Many animal welfare groups employee veterinarians and vet techs to provide care for their animals. In addition, state and local wildlife management departments have a need for veterinary professionals to assist in their duties. Finally, zoos and wildlife refuges often employ vet techs in order to provide care for a variety of common and exotic animals.
Becoming a Vet Tech in New Mexico
Only registered vet techs can practice in New Mexico. The New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine (NMBVM) is in charge of ensuring that only qualified vet techs are allowed to register.
Registration requires that the candidate complete an approved course of study, pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and take and pass the state licensing exam.
The Veterinary Technician Program
Vet tech programs are offered by a number of organizations, including community colleges and vocational schools. These programs usually take about two years for a full-time student. However, for students who cannot attend classes on a full-time schedule, many programs offer online and part-time schedules. These options allow working students to attend classes in the evenings and on the weekends, allowing them to complete the program without having to leave their current job.
In order to be valid in New Mexico, the program must be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The AVMA only accredits programs that adhere to high educational standards, ensuring that any graduates will be well prepared to take the VTNE and work as highly skilled vet techs. Students should make certain that any program they enroll in has been accredited by the AVMA and is currently in good standing.
Taking the VTNE
The VTNE is the nationally accepted exam for veterinary technicians, and is designed and administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), which works to ensure that the test effectively evaluates the candidate’s academic and practical skills in the field of modern veterinary technology. In order to pass, the candidate must attain a score of at least 425. While most individuals who take the test have graduated from a vet tech program, students who are currently less than six months away from graduation may also take the test.
The State Board Exam
The NMBVM exam is focused on ensuring that the vet tech understands the rights and responsibilities a veterinary technician has when practicing in New Mexico. In order to pass, the candidate must score at least 75 percent on the test. This test is administered directly by the NMBVM, which provides the required study materials for all candidates.
Upon completion of all the above steps and after the candidate has submitted his or her application to the NMBVM, the Board will issue a license to practice as a vet tech in New Mexico. In addition, some states will allow vet techs with a license to practice in New Mexico to become licensed by endorsement, rather than requiring them to repeat the state’s local educational requirements.
Veterinary technology is an extremely promising field, whether for a newly graduated student seeking a long-term and rewarding career or for an older worker seeking to transition from his or her current job. No matter the reason, becoming a registered vet tech in New Mexico can be an excellent decision for the interested individual.