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How to Become a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)

Vet Tech Training!

Find and get information on the vet tech programs that are right for you.

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A Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) is a term used specifically in California and is often referred to as a California RVT. A veterinary technician is a certified or licensed animal care professional that assists veterinarians with important daily tasks in an animal clinic or hospital. They provide direct care to animals as well as help with office and business functions. Registered veterinary technician schools can prepare students to be successful in this new career.

Recommended RVT Schools

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Registered Veterinary Technician Exam

In order to become a registered veterinary technician, you must pass the RVT licensing examination. To be eligible to take the RVT exam, a candidate must meet one of the following three qualifications:

  1. Complete Training. Graduate from, at minimum, a tw0-year training program provided by any of the accredited veterinary technician schools or complete a training program that has been deemed “equivalent” to a two year program.
  2. Licensed Out-of-State. Already licensed in another state (or Canada) and have taken an exam determined by the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) to be equivalent to the California RVT examination and meet the clinical practice hours requirement.
  3. Education & Experience Combination. Complete a combination of at least 4416 hours of directed clinical practice in no less than 24 months under the direct supervision of a California-licensed veterinarian and 300 hours (or 20 semester or 30 quarter units) of specific education.

Other Licensure Requirements

In addition to meeting one of the qualifying paths above, candidates must also meet the following requirements before they can receive their RVT license:

  • Must be at least 18 years old;
  • Must have been fingerprinted (LiveScan) prior to licensure; and
  • Have a clear criminal background.

Registered Veterinary Technician Salary

Unlike other health-related occupations, such as dental hygienist, veterinary technicians do not earn substantial income. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average registered veterinary technician salary in 2010 was $29,710 per year, or about $15 per hour. However, what the RVT occupation lacks in salary, makes up in job outlook. The BLS projects that the veterinary technician career field will explode between 2010 and 2020, growing by 52%. This could result in approximately 41,000 new jobs!

Vet Tech Online Courses

Vet Tech Training!

Find and get information on the vet tech programs that are right for you.

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The veterinary technician career path is a popular choice for students both young and old. Many choose a career as a vet tech because of the short training time and competitive salary. Not all students can attend training on a school campus. One popular options is vet tech online courses. This allows students to attend classes online from anywhere they have an internet connection. Find accredited online veterinary technician schools today!

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Vet Tech Online Course Overview

Vet tech online courses cover a wide variety of topics and subject matter. Students receive thorough exposure to many of the important aspects of veterinary medicine. Training courses provide basic information as well as material specific to veterinary technicians.

Standard Veterinary Technician Training

Most vet tech online courses contain a standard set of courses that cover the basic knowledge and skills required by all veterinary technicians. Some of the topics that may be covered in these courses include medical terminology, daily procedures of a veterinary hospital, pharmacy and laboratory skills, animal behavior, blood collection, fluid therapy, and others.

Veterinary Client Communication

Learning to communicate with veterinary clients is different than other types of business clients. Veterinary customers are often very emotionally attached to the patient (animal) and therefore any bad news or indication of illness or sickness can cause emotional hardship. Vet tech online courses teach students how to tactfully discuss an animal’s condition with their owner.

Large Animal Program

For veterinary technicians that anticipate working with large animals, such as a zoo veterinary technician, additional coursework may be required. Most vet tech online courses for large animals focus on caring for horses and cattle. There are specific programs for equine veterinary technicians, but general veterinary care for large animals is covered.

Recommended Vet Tech Online Courses

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Benefits of Vet Tech Online Courses

Vet tech online courses are not for everyone, but for some students they are an ideal education choice. Taking courses online gives students flexibility in their schedule. Some call this, “Getting a degree in your pajamas.” Online veterinary technician programs are often more affordable than traditional campus training programs. It is important to choose the training solution that best fits your educational needs, schedule, and lifestyle.

Veterinary Technician to Veterinarian

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A veterinary technician plays a pivotal role in any animal clinic or hospital. Their main role is to assist the veterinarian in providing direct care to patients (animals). Many students choose to get their vet tech certification, because it is a faster and less expensive training program. Vet techs have the option to then progress from veterinary technician to veterinarian with additional education.

To become a veterinary technician you must complete a training program from an accredited veterinary technician school.  This is the first step in transitioning from a veterinary technician to veterinarian. Once training is completed, you may be required to pass a final examination in order to become certified. As a certificed veterinary technician, you will be authorized to work with animals in a clinic or hospital, providing direct care to animals. Some common duties of a veterinary technician include:

  • General physical examinations.
  • Taking and recording health measurements (heart rate, weight, etc.).
  • Extracting blood and urine samples.
  • Processing lab tests.

Complete Veterinary Technician Program

The first step to a career as a veterinary technician is to complete an accredited training program. Without this, you cannot move from veterinary technician to veterinarian. Veterinary technician programs can be completed in a campus setting or online. Many students are choosing online veterinary technician programs because they are generally more accessible and less expensive. This is a perfect option for students who have families or jobs that complicate their schedule. The key is to find a high quality vet tech school, such as the recommended schools below.

Recommended Veterinary Technician Schools

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Transition from Veterinary Technician to Veterinarian

Once you have completed your veterinary technician program, you are certified to work with animals in veterinary clinic or hospital. Some students choose to gain experience as a vet tech before they continue their career. Others immediately continue their education to promote from veterinary technician to veterinarian. Veterinarian schools usually require attending more advanced colleges, such as state universities.