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Veterinary Technician Schools in Florida - FL

The Florida Veterinary Technician Association calls veterinary technicians the registered nurses of the animal world. These professionals provide basic medical care to pets, livestock and, in some cases, even wild or aquatic animals, all under the direction of a licensed veterinarian. For veterinary technicians in Florida, the right training is not just helpful -- it is downright required.

What to expect: Veterinary technician schools in Florida

Florida is one of the few states that does not require veterinary technicians to be certified to practice, but it does require the proper training to become a veterinary technician. In most cases, that means completing a two-year associate degree program in veterinary technology or animal science at a veterinary technician school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Though schools and programs vary, they tend to provide much of the same training. Common courses, as reported by The College Board:

  • Animal anatomy and physiology
  • Animal nutrition
  • Animal disease
  • Parasitology
  • Large- and small- animal clinical procedures
  • Veterinary pharmacology and anesthesia
  • Veterinary radiology and surgical nursing

Veterinary technician schools in Florida give future vet techs an advantage over veterinary assistants who, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), are typically restricted to clerical and non-medical tasks -- a distinction that may also mean higher pay. It is important to note, however, that veterinary technicians differ from veterinary technologist even though their training tends to be similar. Veterinary technologists must typically earn bachelor's degrees and be licensed to practice. This means they are allotted more independence in working with animals, and -- with the proper certification -- can work in scientific and laboratory settings. Veterinary technicians in Florida who want to advance their careers will often return to school to become veterinary technologists.

Florida veterinary technician certification requirements

The Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine does not require veterinary technicians to be licensed to practice, but voluntary certification may have benefits to some vet techs. According to the FVTA,certified veterinary technicians, or CVTs, may not only have an edge in the job market, but they may also earn more than non-certified techs. There are two certification bodies that certify veterinary technicians in Florida: the FVTA and the Florida Veterinary Medical Association. Both organizations require candidates to graduate from accredited veterinary technician schools and successfully pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination, or VTNE, administered directly by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. Certified veterinary technicians must renew their credentials every two years by submitting their renewal fees and applications. They must also prove that they have completed a minimum number of continuing education units. The Florida Veterinary Medical Association clarifies that most, if not all, of this training can be completed online.

By the numbers: Florida veterinary technician career and salary projections

Veterinary science is evolving. According to the BLS, veterinarians provide more specialized tasks today than ever before, leaving more of the more basic general care to veterinary technicians and technologists. This trend spells good news for vet techs in Florida, which ranked third nationally for total employment of vet techs in 2013. The BLS reports that the Gainesville, Ocala and Port St. Lucie metro areas also ranked in the top 10 metro areas nationally that same year. That is not to say that the market is saturated. To the contrary: Projections Central projects that employment of veterinary technicians in Florida will grow by 37.6 percent between 2012 and 2022. This not only exceeds the 30 percent national growth projected by the BLS over the same period, but places Florida no. 7 nationally in terms of total growth.

It is difficult to predict how much Florida veterinary technician school graduates will earn in the field. The BLS reported that Florida veterinary technicians earned a mean annual wage of $29,060 in 2013, or just a tad below the national average. It is important to note that geography is only one of many factors impacting earnings. Practice setting, experience and job performance matter. Education matters, too: The FVTA reports Florida veterinary technicians who are certified tend to earn more than those who are not.

Of course, veterinary technicians cannot even practice -- let alone earn a solid living -- without the right training. Degree programs vary, however, so choose wisely. We suggest researching several veterinary technician schools in Florida to identify those that best suit your long-term goals, learning style and budget. You can contact prospective schools to request more information.

Sources:

"Certification Frequently Asked Questions," Florida Veterinary Technician Association, http://thefvta.net/page-940944

Certified Veterinary Technician, Florida Veterinary Medical Association, http://www.fvma.org/FVMA/Certified_Veterinary_Technician/FVMA/Certified_Vet_Tech/Certified_Veterinary_Technician.aspx?hkey=8566f00a-4415-4019-beab-58f2a59836e2

"Frequently Asked Questions," Florida Veterinary Technician Association, http://thefvta.net/page-943646

Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, 2012, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

"Major: Veterinary Technology," BigFuture, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-allied-health-medical-assisting-services-veterinary-technology

"Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: Veterinary Technologists and Technicians," Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/CURRENT/oes292056.htm

"Veterinary Technician National Examination, American Association of Veterinary State Boards, https://www.aavsb.org/vtne/

"Veterinary Technologists and Technicians," Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-technologists-and-technicians.htm

Veterinary Technician Schools