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How do I become a veterinary technician?

This is the end to RVT week, a time to celebrate our technicians and what they do to help our clinics! In honor of this we will be talking about how to become a veterinary technician. To answer this question we must first look at what are veterinary technicians.

“A veterinarian’s assistant, trained to provide medical care for animals, as performing diagnostic tests or administering vaccines and medication.” – Dictonary.com

Now that is just putting it in the most simple terms. If we went in depth a bit more you would get the following.

Veterinary technicians are animal nurses (and much more). In addition to their nursing duties, they act as patient advocates, phlebotomists, radiology technicians, laboratory technicians, anesthesia technicians, and surgery technicians. Except tasks legally restricted to veterinarians, such as diagnosing disease conditions, performing surgery, prescribing medications, and prognosing medical outcomes, veterinary technicians are trained to do everything a veterinary hospital requires to run smoothly.” – AAHA

Certainly! Veterinary technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare of animals. Their responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks, making them an integral part of the veterinary team. In fact, you may sometimes hear them referred to as veterinary technologists, as they possess a comprehensive understanding of various medical procedures and techniques.

To become a veterinary technician, individuals typically undergo rigorous education and training. They typically enroll in specialized programs that span anywhere from 18 to 36 months. These programs provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their field. Upon completion, aspiring veterinary technicians may take a national exam known as the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).

The VTNE is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates the breadth of the technician’s understanding across multiple species. With a total of 300 multiple-choice questions, covering various topics, this exam ensures that technicians are well-prepared to handle the diverse challenges encountered in their daily work. From animal anatomy and physiology to pharmacology and radiology, the VTNE examines their proficiency in all essential areas.

Successfully passing the VTNE paves the way for technicians to become registered veterinary technicians (RVTs). The RVT title signifies their achievement and signifies their commitment to upholding high standards within the profession. As registered technicians, they can further contribute to the well-being and welfare of animals, working alongside veterinarians to provide exemplary care.

In summary, veterinary technicians are highly skilled professionals who have invested significant time and effort into their education and training. Their role in the veterinary field is invaluable, as they bring expertise, compassion, and dedication to ensure the health and happiness of our beloved animal companions.

So let’s simplify the steps into a list to become a technician!

  1. Research and Understand the Role:

Take the time to learn about the responsibilities and duties of a veterinary technician. This will give you a clear understanding of what the profession entails.

  1. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

To pursue a career as an RVT, you will need a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. Make sure you meet this prerequisite.

  1. Research Accredited Veterinary Technology Programs:

Look for accredited veterinary technology programs in your area. These programs are designed to provide the necessary education and training to become an RVT.

  1. Choose the Right Program:

Evaluate different veterinary technology programs based on factors such as curriculum, facilities, faculty, and clinical opportunities. Choose a program that aligns with your interests and career goals.

  1. Enroll in a Veterinary Technology Program:

Once you’ve selected a program, complete the application process and enroll. Be prepared to meet any admission requirements specific to the program.

  1. Attend and Complete the Program:

Dedicate yourself to your studies and practical training during the veterinary technology program. Attend lectures, laboratory sessions, and clinical rotations to gain the knowledge and skills required for the profession.

  1. Acquire Hands-on Experience:

Seek out opportunities to gain practical experience in veterinary clinics or animal hospitals. Many programs offer externships or internships, which provide valuable real-world exposure.

  1. Prepare for the VTNE:

The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is a comprehensive exam that assesses your competency as an aspiring RVT. Study diligently and use preparation resources, such as practice exams and study guides, to enhance your chances of success.

  1. Schedule and Take the VTNE:

Once you feel prepared, schedule your VTNE. The exam is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and can typically be taken at designated testing centers.

  1. Obtain State Licensure:

After passing the VTNE, you will need to apply for state licensure. Each state has its own requirements, so make sure to complete the application process and submit the necessary documentation.

  1. Continuing Education and Career Development:

As an RVT, it’s vital to stay current with advancements in veterinary medicine. Pursue continuing education opportunities, attend conferences, and consider specialization or advanced certifications to further enhance your knowledge and skills.

Remember, the journey to becoming an RVT requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for animal care. Follow these steps to embark on a fulfilling and rewarding career in veterinary technology.

Written by: Ashley G, VT

Resources

AAHA – https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/what-is-a-veterinary-technician/

NAVTA – https://www.navta.net/education-certification/becoming-a-vet-tech

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How to make medication request hassle-free!

Getting your requests to your veterinarian can be quite a process, especially when you are uncertain about the necessary information we need to fulfill the request. Let’s take this opportunity to review the information required and help you understand why it's helpful in ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. What do I need to know before I make a prescription request?   There are 5 important pieces of information you'll need to have ready to relay to your veterinary team when requesting a prescription. Medication name Medication concentration Medication dose Medication instructions Quantity you need Let me explain what each one is and why we need it. This information can all be found on your pet's medication label.  Medication Name – This is simple enough; it is the name of your medication, and yes, it is very important. If you call and say you want to refill Fluffy’s eye medication, this won’t help us if they are on 3 different eye medications. Knowing the name of your pet’s medication can be the difference between the correct refill and the wrong refill. Medication Concentration – All medications come in many concentrations, and we want to ensure that your pet gets the correct one to avoid the risk of over- or under-dosing. The concentration is either written as milligrams, mg/mL or a percentage. Pills and tablets can be things like 2.5mg, 10mg, etc. Liquids will be in forms such as 20mg per ml, 200mg/ml, etc., and other medications, such as eye ointments, may say something like 2%. Medication Dose – The dose indicates how much of the medication your pet should be given and how often—for example, 1 tablet every 12 hours or a 1/4″ strip 3 times a day. Medication Instructions – We don't have the exact wording of your label, but we need to know how you are giving the medication currently. This may sound something like I give 1 pill in the morning and 2 pills in the evening or I give 3 units every 12 hours, etc. If what you are giving is different from what is on your medication label, then tell us what you are currently giving and why. It is not recommended to change medication instructions without speaking to your veterinarian.   Quantity You Need – To ensure you have the supply uu need and avoid multiple trips, please be sure to know what amount(s) of your pet's medication(s) you need. This may be given as a number amount, such as 30 pills or the length of time the medication needs to last,  such as 30 days worth. If you tell us 1 bottle, it doesn't necessarily help us as many medications come in multiple-sized bottles. TIP: Create a folder in your phone’s photo album called Medications, take pictures of your pet’s medication labels, and place them in there for quick access!   Keep in mind that your veterinarian pharmacy, like all other pharmacies, will need time to fill your medication. We kindly ask that you give us 24-48 hours' notice for filling medications as our veterinary staff are very busy and may not always have time to fill medications same-day. TIP: If you are like me and have trouble remembering to get medications refilled on time until you use the last one, there's an APP for that!   If it's a regular medication - there is an app called medisafe that lets you track medications and can be used for pet medications as well. You can set custom notifications to remind you when to refill your medication, such as when you have 5 pills left. If the medication is your pet’s flea and tick medication, check out the app "Flea & Tick"  (iPhone) (Android). This app allows you to track when you last gave your pet their last dose and upload a photo of your medication so you always have what it is at your fingertips. Lastly, look for things your clinic may have, such as QR codes on your medication bottles to help remind you to refill when you run low or website pages like ours (Pharmacy Requests) to make it easier for you to request your medication. Stayed tuned for Part 2.   Written by: Ashely G, VT

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