The profession of a veterinary technician is no easy one. Love of animals is, though a necessary one, not a sufficient reason to do this job, if you don’t have a couple of other capabilities.
Some of them are of physical nature, like being on your feet for a long long time and some of them concern your communication skills – for example, the fact that you’ll have to interact with people more than with animals.
Still, the mentioned so-called “downsides” of the job, are merely issues you’ll have to prepare yourself to. Everything else can be categorized as sheer joy of helping those in need.
Take a look at all the steps you’ll need to take to become a veterinary technician.
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Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Kentucky
So, you’ve decided you want to pursue the career of a vet technician. This means that you should get acquainted with the duties and responsibilities of one.
Normally, the job a vet technician in animal healthcare is similar to that of a nurse in human healthcare.
You will basically help with everything and anything a veterinarian might need and also perform some of the procedures a veterinarian does, alone.
One of the most important aspects of being a vet technician is talking to the pets’ owners and, in general, communicating with people all the live long day.
Apart from this, you’ll need to be capable of spending many hours on your feet, assisting veterinarians with everything from the moment a pet walks into the clinic to the moment they walk out.
Your main duties may include the following tasks:
- restraining animals during examinations
- taking their body temperature and handling their bodily fluids or discharge
- taking their pulse
- taking x-rays
- applying medications, fluids and blood products following the veterinarians’ instructions
- addressing injuries and sometimes applying first aid, and let’s not forget the most important and challenging aspect of being a vet technician:
- assisting veterinarians in surgeries.
Now, be aware that you don’t have to work in a veterinarian’s ambulance, because there are many options for vet technicians, and working at a vet’s private practice is just one of them.
Here are some of your options in other fields where you can work as a vet technician:
- military service
- private and public research
- veterinary sales and supplies
- livestock and equine management
- zoos/exotic animal facilities
- veterinary teaching hospitals
- humane/rescue organizations.
How to Become One?
Your education of a vet technician lasts two to three years, and after you graduate you will earn an Associate’s degree in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology.
In order to do that, you’ll have to attend a course accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities.
After you graduate, you’ll be able to take the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) and if you pass, you can register as a vet technician through the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners.
Finally, after you do all this, you’ll be able to work as a licensed veterinary technician in Kentucky.
Education Required for a Vet Technician in Kentucky
Now, the next thing you should know is that Kentucky has as many as three colleges that offer accredited programs for veterinary technicians, so you won’t have to travel to another state in order to get your education.
What schools require as prerequisites varies widely, but, for example, a vast number of them requires a C average or better score in high school.
Most of them require you take some general education courses, if you haven’t already in high school, like biology, chemistry, English, computer skills, communication, and math before you may actually start attending the program.
As for the program once you start attending classes – well, they will definitely be more science based and focus more on veterinary medicine.
Here are some of the subjects you’ll attend:
- animal nursing
- practice management and many other.
Of course, lab work will be incorporated in your program, so that you can get some practical knowledge of what you learn in theory.
Your last semester will be a chance for you to put that knowledge into practice, because it will mostly be an internship, where you will work under the supervision of a professional registered veterinarian.
Tuition and Financial Aid
It is hart to estimate an average tuition fee because they vary greatly from school to school – it is, in fact, one of the most important variables between each school.
You are advised to check each of the schools’ websites for thorough information on tuition, but it is, generally speaking, affordable.
Tuition for out-of-state students, though, can be up to two or three times higher, but Kentucky has an agreement with its neighboring states that works on reciprocity and that allows the students from those countries to pay just a slightly higher fee.
You can always apply to traditional financial aid benefits (like grants, scholarships, loans, veterans benefits) that are accessible to all college students across the country, starting with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
You can visit the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and get informed about the many types of financial aid available to college students.
Kentucky is famous being extremely military-friendly, which basically means they offer assistance with higher education to anyone serving the country in the military.
If you visit the site mentioned above, click on the tab for “military and veterans” which assists current military members and veterans in funding higher education.
You also have the option of Veterans benefits. Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website for all the information.
Veterans benefits usually include programs for dependents and family members of a veteran.
Licensing and Certification
Remember when we talked about how it’s important that you graduate from a program accredited by the the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities?
Well, here’s why: if the program you graduated from isn’t accredited, you can’t take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), which is an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.
And you need this one in order to work as a licensed vet technician in Kentucky. It’s an exam that takes three hours to complete, has 150 questions and costs $300, so come prepared!
After you’re done with the VTNE, your registration can be done through the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners, though it won’t be activated until you are employed under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
In order to keep your license current, you are required to complete six hours of continuing education annually.
Getting a Job in Kentucky
When you graduate and finish all your additional exams, your next step is finding a job.
Fortunately, this isn’t too hard for veterinary technicians, since there are so many facilities and hospitals that are always looking for new veterinary hopefuls that know what they’re doing.
Here are some of the potential employers waiting for you in Kentucky:
- Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association which offers a number of advantages
- VCA (Veterinary Centers of America)
- Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics inside PETCO.
- Located in Versailles Petco
- Located in Frankfort Petco
- Located in Crescent Springs Petco
- Located in Louisville Petco
Salaries for Vet Technicians in Kentucky
According to the the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the employment of workers in animal healthcare is expected to grow by a whopping 30% per year through 2022, so your job prospects are bright!
Here are current average salaries of vet technicians in Kentucky.
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If you’ve read this and feel a bit discouraged at the amount of steps you have to take before you become a licensed vet technician and the amount of time that will pass – don’t be!
Kentucky is a great state for you to make your first step, first and foremost because it offers three colleges with accredited programs for vet technicians.
Now the only thing left to do is to continue, one step at a time, with your decision on becoming a helper of those in need.