Becoming a vet tech in Wisconsin can be an excellent choice for those who are seeking to enter the veterinary care field.
Because of Wisconsin’s wide range of rural and urban citizens, its large farming and ranching sector and its dynamic technology sector, this state is seeing sustained and robust growth in the number of job openings for newly graduated and experienced vet techs alike.
Becoming a Vet Tech in Wisconsin
Wisconsin requires that all vet techs that are practicing in the state be licensed by the Department of Safety and Professional Services.
Even vet techs who are licensed in another state cannot legally practice in Wisconsin until they have obtained a valid state license.
Wisconsin currently provides two routes to licensure for individuals seeking to become a vet tech.
The first and most common route requires that the vet tech candidate complete a comprehensive vet tech program at an accredited school.
The second route involves on the job training from a licensed Wisconsin veterinarian for a period of no less than two years.
In both cases, the candidate must then successfully pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), as well as a state jurisprudence examination. Upon completing these steps, the candidate will be licensed to work as a vet tech. Finally, a candidate must submit to a background check and reveal any criminal record he or she may have.
Vet Tech Programs
Wisconsin requires that students preparing to become a vet tech via a formal program of education must complete at least four semesters of an approved veterinary technician program. These programs cover both the academic and practical duties of the vet tech.
Over the course of his or her program, the student will learn how to effectively work with animals, other veterinary professionals and the public.
Although a vet tech must complete at least four semesters, many schools offer part-time schedules for those students who cannot attend school on a full-time basis. Because of this, students who are currently working or who have family obligations can arrange their schedule around their other responsibilities. In addition, many schools offer distance learning or online classes, which can allow the student to complete much of his or her course work without having to physically attend the campus.
The Importance of Accreditation
It is extremely important that the student ensure that his or her school is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vet tech programs that are completed at a non-accredited school will not be accepted by Wisconsin and may force the student to repeat his or her program.
Students who have completed a foreign vet tech program should contact the state’s licensing department in order to determine if the program can be used to satisfy Wisconsin’s licensure requirements.
This process may take a considerable amount of time, so the candidate should be certain to submit this information as early in the licensure process as possible.
The next step in the candidate’s path to obtaining licensure in Wisconsin is to take and pass the VTNE. This examination is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). In addition to directly administering the test, the AAVSB continually works to refine the test questions in order to ensure that the VTNE provides an accurate gauge of the candidates’ qualifications to become vet techs in the United States.
Students who fail to pass the VTNE can retake it, but that will lead to a substantial delay in their licensure process. For this reason, it is important to only take the VTNE when the student is confident of passing the examination.
The Wisconsin Jurisprudence Examination
In addition to the VTNE, Wisconsin requires that all vet tech candidates take and pass a state jurisprudence examination.
This test is designed to ensure that all vet techs practicing in Wisconsin understand what their rights and responsibilities are under Wisconsin law. This is especially important as vet techs who provide services barred to them by state law can face severe civil penalties, including the possible loss of their license.
Licensure by Work Experience
Wisconsin also allows vet tech candidates to use work experience in the place of attending a vet tech program. This work experience must be under the supervision of a licensed Wisconsin veterinarian. In addition, the veterinarian must be able to document the employees work experience in order to demonstrate that it is equal to the training obtained from a vet tech program.
Individuals pursuing this route should be aware that not all states accept work experience as a valid alternative to attending an accredited vet tech program. Because of that, a vet tech that moves to another state may be required to complete a vet tech program, even if he or she is currently licensed via work experience in Wisconsin.
Vet Tech Job Opportunities in Wisconsin
Currently, the national veterinary technician job market is experiencing sustained and robust growth.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimate that there are currently over 80,000 vet techs employed in the United States, and that number is expected to grow by at least 52 percent between 2010 and 2020. When combined with job vacancies due to attrition, this will ensure that new vet techs will enjoy very promising employment opportunities. Currently, there are over 1,700 licensed vet techs in Wisconsin, and this number is likely to increase for the foreseeable future.
In addition, the annual mean salary for Wisconsin vet techs is over $33,000, which is greater than the national median wage for vet techs.
Furthermore, many employers offer competitive benefits packages to licensed vet techs. This can be especially beneficial for newly graduated vet techs that are either living on their own or who are supporting a family.
Ultimately, becoming a vet tech in Wisconsin can be an excellent choice for those who are first entering the job market and those who are transitioning from a current job alike.
In addition to being professionally and financially rewarding, vet techs enjoy a great deal of professional and public respect, especially from those who entrust them with their valued commercial animals and beloved pets.