How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Louisiana

If you live in Louisiana and you’re dreaming of becoming a veterinary profession, look no further, cause the prospects for you are bright in this state!

Generally speaking, becoming a vet technician in America means looking to find a job in a coveted profession, as there are more and more pet owners, and with that the jobs in the veterinary field are aplenty.

Your dreams to become a vet technician and your undying love for animals are definitely needed prerequisites on this road – but don’t forget all the physical and mental abilities you need to own in order to become one!

So, let’s take a look at all the steps you need to take on the road to becoming a registered veterinary technician in Louisiana

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Louisiana

As for how the job of a vet technician looks like, just think of a nurse in a human hospital. Well, it’s like that only with animals.

This basically means that you’ll have to assist in many clinical examinations, and you’ll be in charge of attending animals (and their owners) from the moment they step into the clinic to the moment they leave.

Here are some of your obligations as a vet technician in a private practice in Louisiana:

  • 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

There’s also the added part of the most important duty you’ll have: assisting the veterinarian in surgeries and helping them with whatever is needed.

You’ll be expected to supply the vet with the equipment they might need and make sure everything is working properly!

However, you don’t have to work in a veterinary clinic once you become a registered veterinary technician. You can also work in the following branches and areas:

  • public research institutions
  • military service
  • humane societies
  • rescue organizations
  • veterinary teaching hospitals
  • livestock and equine facilities
  • diagnostic laboratories
  • zoos and exotic animal facilities

How to Become One?

Now, let’s get to the most important part – the actual steps you need to take to become a registered veterinary technician in Louisiana.

First and foremost, you need to graduate from an accredited program by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). 

In Louisiana, this means attending one of the four colleges that offer accredited programs in veterinary technology.

One of them has initial accreditation and three have full accreditation, but either way you will be graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology,

After you’ve done this, you’ll have to take the VTNE exam, for which you’ll be eligible only when you become a graduate from an accredited program.

Once you have passed the VTNE, you may register for licensure with the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Louisiana

Veterinary technology is a science based profession – and so are the subjects you’ll need to attend within the accredited program you’ve enrolled into.

In fact, there are some subjects that are prerequisites to starting an actual program or applying, and these subjects are usually English, biology, basic math, sciences, or computer skills.

There are also some other prerequisites, like a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalency.

Most of the programs require a minimum GPA of 2.0 in high school and preparatory courses, and scores on tests such as SAT, ACT, or Compass.

There are some that require placement tests in English, math or reading and even proof of registration with military selective service if you’re a male applicant between the ages of 18 and 25.

You should go on the website of the school you have in mind to get informed about the specific prerequisites for the program in that school.

As for the subjects you can expect once you’re in the program, these will be based on science and medicine and more vet-focused, like the following:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • terminology
  • nursing skills
  • small and large animal diseases
  • radiology
  • anesthesiology
  • parasitology
  • hematology
  • clinical skills

There will also be lab work where you can put to use what you’ve learned in theory classes.

Your last semester will be an internship at one of your local vet clinics, where you can combine your theoretic and practical knowledge and apply them on actual animals, as well as learn what it’s like to be a vet technician on a day-to-day basis.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for hopeful vet technicians in Louisiana is $120 per credit hour, with a higher tuition for out-of-state students.

Add to that additional fees like those for insurance, lab costs, uniforms, books, supplies and equipment that might be needed.

If you’re interested in more info on the tuition, you’ll have to visit each of the schools’ websites to find out everything you need to know about the costs.

Like everywhere across the country, traditional financial aids are available for Louisiana students too, and you can apply for any of them, if they meet the criteria.

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

Louisiana has its own state program called TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students), which also offers state scholarships to Louisiana residents.

You can also visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs  for the types of aid included in the programs for dependents and family members of a veteran.

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Licensing and Certification

As we’ve mentioned before, after you graduate, you’ll have to take the VTNE test, and here you’ll find out more about it.

The VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) is an exam you have to take in order to become a licensed veterinary technician in Louisiana.

This is why it’s so important that you’ve graduate from an accredited program, because only those with a degree from an accredited vet technology program are eligible to take this test.

The VTNE exam isn’t easy though – it contains 150 questions, lasts for three hours and costs 300$.

After you pass the VTNE, as we’ve mentioned before, you can register for licensure with the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine.

In order to keep your license current, you’ll need to complete 10 hours of continuing education annually.

Getting a Job in Louisiana

Now when you’ve done all you can to educate yourself and get the much needed experience to become a vet technician, you can start looking for a job!

Louisiana has an increasing number of facilities, hospitals and clinics that will likely offer you a job.

Here are the known ones:

  • VCA (Veterinary Centers of America)
  • Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics inside PETCO
    • Located in Denham Springs Petco
    • Located in Harvey Petco
    • Located in New Orleans Petco
    • Located in Metaire Petco
  • Banfield Pet Hospital
    • Banfield Baton Rouge
    • Banfield Lafayette
    • Banfield Westbank

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Louisiana

If you made it this far, you already know that this is a job with a good perspective in Louisiana.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of workers in animal healthcare is expected to grow 30% per year through 2022.

This is probably due to the fact that there is an increasing number of pet owners in America every year.

Here are the average salaries for vet technicians across Louisiana:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Baton Rouge,LA$27,273
Bossier City,LA$27,258
La Place,LA$29,106
Lake Charles,LA$26,867
New Iberia,LA$26,905
New Orleans,LA$29,433

Final Words

The job of a vet technician in Louisiana requires some extra skills,  apart from loving animals and having a kind hart and a knack for science.

The first ability you’ll need is communicating with pet owners and knowing how to talk to them, offer them hope or not give them false one.

Apart from that, you’ll need some physical abilities, like patience to be on your feet for a large portion of the day, as well as concentration and focus during important surgeries – after all, there’s a life in your hands.

But if you’ve decided to venture into this profession, one thing is certain – you’ll have a very noble goal to go back to every day.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State