Becoming a Vet Tech in West Virginia
The growing importance of providing high quality veterinary care to pets and livestock alike has led to a dramatic increase in employment opportunities in the veterinary care sector. This is especially true for veterinary technicians, who provide vital assistance to veterinarians in carrying out their duties.
With a large farming and livestock sector, in addition to a growing urban and rural population of pet owners, West Virginia is seeing a sustained increase in the number of available vet tech careers.
The Duties of a Vet Tech
Vet techs assist veterinarians in providing high quality care for animals that are being treated by the veterinarian’s practice. In fact, a vet tech provides many of the same services for the veterinarian that a registered nurse provides for a physician. Among the most common duties of a vet tech are the following:
- Vet techs carry out the initial physical examination of the animal, recording the information that will assist the vet in determining the health of the animal.
- Veterinary techs assist the veterinarian in performing various clinical and surgical procedures.
- Vet technicians may perform some procedures, such as vaccinating animals, under the supervision of the vet.
- Vet techs assist in immobilizing frightened or hostile animals so that the veterinary team can treat them without risking injury.
- Vet techs often conduct the initial interview of the animal’s owners in order to determine what type of treatment is needed. In the case of injured or ill animals, this requires them to behave in a professional manner in the face of often-distraught owners.
- Vet techs may provide emergency first aid to injured or ill animals, stabilizing them until the vet can provide long-term treatment.
Vet techs must always behave in a professional manner and be able to effectively interact with fellow veterinary professionals and the public alike. Furthermore, the field of veterinary technology requires a detail oriented mindset as well as the ability to work with minimal supervision.
Becoming a Vet Tech
West Virginia requires that all vet techs be registered by the West Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine (WVBVM). This board handles all licensing of veterinary professionals and individuals seeking to become vet techs should periodically check with the Board to ensure that no new requirements have been added.
Currently, the requirements for becoming a vet tech are the following:
- Complete an accredited veterinary technology program.
- Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).
- Pass the West Virginia written jurisprudence exam.
Veterinary Technician Programs
Vet tech programs are offered by a variety of organizations, ranging from community colleges to private vocational training programs. In most cases, a full-time student will complete the program in about two years. However, for those students who cannot attend classes on a full-time basis, many programs offer part-time and distance learning options. This permits students who are working or otherwise unable to attend classes on a conventional schedule to complete the vet tech program at their own pace.
All vet tech programs must be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in order to be considered valid by West Virginia. The AVMA ensures that accredited programs can effectively train their students in the academic and practical subjects required to become a vet tech. Students should verify that their vet tech programs are currently in good standing with the AVMA.
The VTNE is a comprehensive exam that tests the student on the practical and academic knowledge they will need as a registered veterinary technician. In order to pass the VTNE, the student must score at least 425 on the test. If the candidate has taken the VTNE in another state, he or she will have to ensure that those scores are transferred to the WVBVM.
The State Jurisprudence Exam
The jurisprudence exam focuses on the interaction between the vet tech and the laws of West Virginia, rather than the medical skills the vet tech will use. This exam requires the candidate to understand what rights and responsibilities vet techs have under state and federal law. This test is a written and open book test, and the state provides study materials for the candidate.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had determined that the employment outlook for the field of veterinary technology continues to increase at an above average rate. Furthermore, vet techs in West Virginia earn an annual median wage of over $25,000 with enhanced earning opportunities for experienced vet techs or those with training in one or more veterinary specialties. Because of this, becoming a vet tech is an excellent choice for newly graduated students looking for a rewarding career, as well as for already employed individuals seeking to improve their earning potential.
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