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Vet Tech School Admissions: 6 Important Tips

Do you love animals and want to make a career out of caring for them?  You can become a veterinary technician or technologist and assist a veterinarian in their practice, caring for animals. A Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) plays an important role in the veterinary practice, with job responsibilities that range from technical duties like nursing care, collection and processing of lab samples, administering and monitoring anesthesia, radiography, and managerial duties like ordering inventory, record keeping and client education. RVT’s can work in many different environments such as small animal hospitals, large herd animal practices, equine hospitals, specialty practices, biomedical research laboratories, and sometimes in zoos. Choosing the right veterinary technician education program can be essential to getting a good job in this medical field.

There are many veterinary technician programs, but a good one will prepare you for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and placement in a clinic or laboratory.  The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) accredits vet tech schools, and a student should always look for an accredited school.  Accreditation by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) represents the highest standard of achievement for veterinary medical training in the United States.  Graduation from an accredited school is a prerequisite for licensure or certification. There are 191 programs accredited by AVMA, with 170 being 2-year programs, 21 being 4-year programs and 9 that are distance learning programs. So, you have many programs to choose from.

Perhaps you have already narrowed down your search and have a few schools you would like to apply to, but don’t quite know what is required.  We will cover the prerequisites you will need and tips for getting accepted into a program.  Many programs are quite small so you will want to have the best application possible to submit. If you are still in high school you will want to take as many science and math classes as possible.  Some schools require prerequisite general education courses prior to admittance, while others will offer the courses as part of their curriculum.  While many programs are 2-year programs, in reality this is after obtaining your general education classes, so if you don’t have the prerequisites already your schooling will most likely take longer. Some of the prerequisites will include the following: communication courses, social/behavioral science courses, college algebra, biology, and some agriculture science courses.  Most schools use a point system when selecting from the applications they have received.  Applicants with the highest points will be admitted to the program.  Points may be earned for the following: Grade point average (GPA) or G.E.D. score.  You will need to include your transcripts with the application.  So, maintaining a high GPA in high school and in your prerequisite college courses is important.  Many times this area scores a maximum of 20 points with a 4.0 GPA earning 20 full points etc. and a G.E.D. score of 350-375 earning 20 points as well.  Next is your work and volunteer experience in a veterinary practice or laboratory.  Work/volunteer experience must be under the direction of a vet or certified vet tech.  Many times there are bonus points for specific college course work that has been completed.  These are usually the general education courses required to obtain an A.S. degree. 

There are also 4-year programs that educate a student to become a veterinary technologist.  The strategy would be the same when applying to a 4-year program.  Since there are only 21 schools that offer a bachelor’s degree the competition will be higher, so make sure you keep those grades up.

The strategy is, work hard to maintain a high GPA in high school and in any college courses you take.  Volunteer or work in a veterinary practice, making sure to perform well because you may need to provide letters of recommendations from the vet or vet tech you work with.  Good luck in pursuing your dream to become a veterinary technician.

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