Becoming a Vet Tech Specialist in Neurology
Veterinary technicians are a vital part of America’s veterinary care sector. By assisting veterinarians in their duties, the vet tech drastically improves the level and extent of care that can be provided to pets and production animals alike.
Vet Tech Specialties
The veterinary sector has drastically expanded recently and that has resulted in a growing number of specialty fields that mirror similar specialties in the medical field. Veterinary clinics now include specialized care for cancer, age related illnesses, internal medicine, optometry and neurological disorders.
In every case, the veterinarian will also require the assistance of a skilled veterinary technician who has become qualified in one of those specialized areas. This has resulted in a growing demand for vet tech specialists, which can provide excellent career and salary options for those vet techs that chose to become qualified as specialists in neurology.
What is the Neurology Specialty?
A veterinary technician who has specialized in neurology has focused on working with veterinarians who treat brain and nerve disorders in animals. Among the most common neurological conditions are the following:
- Chronic seizures are often due to neurological conditions.
- Poisoning can result in long-term brain and nerve disorders that must be treated by a specialist.
- Cancer, especially brain tumors can result in symptoms such as seizures in the animal.
- Older animals may develop a number of neurological conditions that require specialized treatment.
- Traumatic injuries, such as being hit by a vehicle, may result in brain damage, requiring procedures that only specialized vets and veterinary technicians can perform.
Veterinary Medicine and the Veterinary Technician Specialist
Currently, neurology is considered a sub specialty of the internal medicine specialty and is regulated by the Academy of Internal Medicine Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT). The AIMVT handles credentialing of all qualified specialist veterinary technicians in the United States. The AIMVT is organized and supported by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in American (NAVTA), making it a highly regarded institution by both private and public agencies.
Becoming a Specialist in Neurology
Becoming a specialist veterinary technician requires a number of steps. It is important to note that a specialist is expected to have a large amount of experience as a conventional veterinary technician. In addition, proof of the vet tech’s current credential or license to practice is required. For states that do not require certification, the vet tech must provide proof of graduation from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program.
In order to be eligible to take the neurology exam, a vet tech must have a certain amount of experience. The AIMVT currently requires that any vet tech have at least 6,000 hours or three years of full time experience. This experience must date from no later than five years before the application.
In addition, at least 75 percent of the vet tech’s working experience must be in the field of neurology. This requires that the veterinary technician find employment with a practice that allows him or her to gather sufficient experience in neurology.
Continuing Education Requirements
The vet tech must also document at least 40 hours of continuing education within the five years before the application. At least 70 percent of his or her continuing education must be within the neurology specialty. Furthermore, the material must be approved by the AIMVT, so the vet tech must be certain to both document the successful completion of any continuing education and verify that it will be acceptable to the AIMVT.
Case Report Logs and Proof of Competency
The candidate must also keep a case report log, documenting his or her experience in the field and recording specific cases for examination by the AIMVT. In addition, four specific cases, selected from the log, must be given an in depth treatment in order to demonstrate the technician’s skill in this area of veterinary medicine. Finally, three possible future exam questions must be submitted, also demonstrating the candidate’s grasp of the specialty.
Letters of Recommendation
The candidate must also provide at least two letters of recommendation from eligible individuals who can attest to his or her skills and good character. The current eligible professions include the following:
- A Vet Tech Specialist (VTS) in Internal Medicine.
- A Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
If neither one of the above is available, the AIMVT may accept other letters of recommendation from veterinary professionals. The candidate should ensure that the AIMVT will accept such letters before sending them in.
The Neurology Exam
The AIMVT neurology exam is an in-depth exam, focusing on all aspects of veterinary neurology as it relates to the veterinary technician. The AIMVT website provides a recommended reading list for those who wish to take the exam.
The test format varies, but includes multiple choice and short and long-answer questions. These questions cover a wide range of subjects, due to the nature of neurology, so the candidate should ensure that he or she is fully prepared to take the exam.
Upon successfully completing the exam, the candidate may now be referred to as a vet tech specialist in neurology, in addition to being eligible to hold office in the AIMVT.
The Benefits of Becoming a Vet Tech Specialist
While it is possible to work in the field of neurology without being a certified VTS, becoming certified opens a wide range of career and salary options. Certification in neurology by the AIMVT shows that the vet tech has demonstrated a high level of professional skill in this specialized area of veterinary medicine. Due to this, many veterinary practices and organizations will be more likely to offer the technician employment, and will often allow the VTS to start at a higher level of salary and seniority.
By becoming a vet tech specialist in neurology, the vet tech can become a highly regarded professional in the field of veterinary medicine. With the continued importance of quality veterinary care, these specialists in neurology will continue to find their skills in great demand.