Veterinary Tech Certification and Requirements

Veterinary technicians and technologists are playing an increasingly important role in the emergency care of animals. More and more, veterinarians are looking for highly-skilled workers to assist them, which has led to the expansion of job opportunities for these professionals. And because these jobs require specialized knowledge, the bar is somewhat high to enter the field.

Although it may vary from state to state, many states require veterinary technologists and technicians to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination, or VTNE, which is a credentialing examination administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. This examination is three hours long and includes 150 operational questions and 20 questions based on test specifications -- although the latter is not computed into candidates' scores. In order to be eligible to take the exam, prospective veterinary techs must provide a transcript from an accredited veterinary tech program.

There are also voluntary certifications that workers can earn in order to demonstrate their competency in the field, and knowledge of specific areas like animal husbandry, animal facility administration, and health and welfare. Some of these certifications, which are offered by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, include the Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG), the Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT), and the Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT). In order to earn these credentials, veterinary techs must pass an examination and prove that they have experience working in an animal laboratory.

In addition, those who move up the ranks into management careers can pursue a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) certification, which is granted by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. In order to obtain this certification, candidates must hold a management position in the veterinary field and take management-related courses, including continuing education seminars.

Vet tech educational requirements

Those who are interested in becoming a veterinary technician or technologist are required to complete a high school diploma or equivalent. During their high school years, students are encouraged to take science classes like biology, as well as math courses. In addition, it is helpful to volunteer for places that will put them in regular contact with animals that need medical care, such as a veterinary clinic, a zoo, or an animal shelter.

After completing high school, these professionals are usually required to receive education in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), veterinary technicians are typically required to complete a two-year degree, while veterinary technologists may be required to earn a four-year degree.

Benefits of veterinary technician certification

While credentialing examinations are required in most states, whether or not a veterinary technician or technologist needs to complete an additional certification depends on their individual goals, as well as the requirements of specific employers. Certifications may go a long way toward helping these professionals deepen their knowledge of the field and sharpen their skills, which can be helpful when they want to land certain jobs and advance in their careers.


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Veterinary Technician Schools