How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Arkansas

If you want to become a veterinary technician in Arkansas, and are dreaming of pursuing this noble career, there is a program for you so you’ll have no problems earning your degree.

However, you should ask around (and of course, use the magic of internet) and find out if this is really the career for you, as it can be challenging at times and require a lot of physical as well as mental abilities and patience.

If it turns out that you do want to become a part of veterinary profession, know that it’s one of the most fulfilling professions out there.

Helping those in need is one of the best feelings to follow you home after work.

So let’s see all the steps you’ll need to take to become one.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Arkansas

The job of a veterinary technician is akin to that of a nurse in a human hospital.

You’ll have to assist the veterinarian with whatever he/she needs, and there is also a number of duties that will be expected of you without the supervision of a professional veterinarian.

These are just some of many clinical examinations the vet technician assists in:

  • performing all kinds of analyses of the animal’s bodily fluids and discharge
  • physical examinations that lead to further diagnostics of the disease or illness
  • inducing and maintaining anesthesia
  • applying medications, fluids and blood products following the veterinarians’ instructions
  • taking the pet’s body temperature
  • monitoring pulse and respiration
  • addressing injuries and sometimes applying first aid

One more aspect of being a vet technician (arguably, the most important one) is assisting the veterinarian in surgeries, helping with whatever is needed, like supplying the vet with the equipment and making sure everything works properly.

However, these are just duties of a vet technician working in private practice, but once you graduate, you don’t have to work in a private practice once you become a vet technician.

There’s a plethora of possibilities for you as vet technicians are wanted in many other branches and areas, like the following:

  • research
  • rescue shelters
  • humanitarian organizations
  • military service
  • zoo facilities
  • exotic animals facilities
  • teaching
  • livestock production
  • pharmaceutical facilities
  • pet food industry etc.

How to Become One?

In order to become a vet technician, you’ll absolutely need to earn an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.

This means you’ll have to attend veterinary technology program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

For Arkansas, this means you can attend the Veterinary Technology Program at Arkansas State University in Beebe, and you can commence the application process for it online.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Arkansas

The two-year program in Arkansas doesn’t require any prerequisites in terms of subjects: it starts with basic studies, most of them based on science, but you’ll get your basic education attending classes like English, biology, math, medical terminology, vet terminology, etc.

The studies then advance into more veterinary-focused subjects like the following:

  • anatomy and physiology
  • pharmacology
  • computer science
  • zoo and lab animal care
  • clinical management
  • reproduction
  • pathology
  • nutrition
  • lab techniques
  • radiology
  • anesthesia, etc.

Some of the basic courses can be taken at night, or online, in order to facilitate the attending of all necessary subjects.

The first four semesters are taken on campus and the fifth semester is basically a preceptorship in a vet clinic, where you’ll have to apply all your theoretic knowledge (and gain much needed practice and clinical knowledge) supervised by a professional veterinarian.

Tuition and Financial Aid

In Arkansas vet programs, tuition is charged $93 per credit hour, and the program comprises of 71 credit hours, so the tuition in total will cost $6,603 for in- state students, while out of state students pay $161 per credit hour.

Count in the additional fees of learning equipment (like books, stethoscopes, telescopes and other lab props and supplies) as well as other general student fees like insurance and student center fees.

Like every other school, Arkansas programs offer traditional financial aid that all college students can apply for, if they meet the criteria.

You can apply to almost every financial aid program starting with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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Licensing and Certification

Once you earn your degree, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), which you can take every year in January or June, and it’s an exam regulated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

But the thing is, you can’ take this test without a degree from an accredited veterinary technology program, so if you’re serious about this career, you should really focus on attending a program that’s accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

And you’ll have to buckle up for it, too, because it takes three hours to complete it, and it has 150 question.

Taking the test will cost you $300, and you can take it six months before your graduation date.

If you take the VTNE test in another state, it will also be accepted in Arkansas, but you’ll be in charge of sending the results to the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Examining Board.

After this test, you should apply for a certificate, which costs $40, and only then will you be able to work as a licensed vet technician.

Each year, you’ll have to complete a total of six hours of continuing education in order to keep your certification current, regulated by the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association.

You’ll also have to renew your license annually, which will cost you $25.

Getting a job in Arkansas

After you’ve done all there is to do to finish your education and become a licensed veterinary technician, you’ll start looking for your first job.

Here are some of the animal hospitals and facilities in Arkansas that can be an important stepping stone on your way – as you might get an offer for a job from them.

  • ArVMA (Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association)
  • Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital
  • Banfield Pet Hospital.

As well as pet hospitals located in Arkansas:

  • Little Rock and
  • North Little Rock

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Arkansas

In America, being a vet technician is a job with a good perspective, because the workers in vet profession are becoming increasingly wanted and will be even more wanted in the future.

Namely,  the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show their employments is expected to grow by a whopping 30% per year through 2022.

Here are the average salaries for a vet technician in Arkansas.

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Bentonville,AR $32,307
Conway,AR $33,498
Fayetteville,AR $32,569
Fort Smith,AR $31,505
Jacksonville,AR $33,781
Jonesboro,AR $34,174
Little Rock,AR $33,825
Pine Bluff,AR $32,572
Rogers,AR $32,373
Springdale,AR $32,569
Texarkana,AR $33,169

Final Words

The most important thing to remember if you’re a vet technician hopeful, is that the love animals, while obviously a noble virtue, is not enough for a successful vet technician career.

You’ll need much more than that to perform the duties of this profession like a champ. You need patience and certain physical abilities like being on your feet for a large portion of the day.

Of course, don’t forget that being able to connect with people and understand pet owners on an emotional level (if you’re pursuing a career in a private clinic) is as important part of being a pro as any.

However, if you think you do have it in you to power through all this and still enjoy this profession immensely – then by all means, go for it, because not many careers offer quite the amount of fulfillment as this one.

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USA How to Become a Veterinary Technician by State