How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Massachusetts

Being a veterinary technician is probably the most rewarding and satisfying job for people who would not mind spending all their working day around animals (and people, don’t forget!)

But, if you think that your love towards all kinds of animals is enough for you to do this job and enjoy it while doing it – keep on reading!

Playing and caring for animals would not be your only task – you’ll also need to perform many unpleasant duties, and there are obligations and responsibilities that go with this job that demand great physical abilities.

Get ready to see what the job of a veterinary technician really entails.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Massachusetts

Duties of a vet technician in Massachusetts are not different than those of a vet technician anywhere else in the world.

Their daily tasks are providing basic care for pets and non-farm animals, feeding and bathing animals, disinfecting exam rooms, giving medications or vaccinations and many, many others.

You’ll also be expected to assist the vet otherwise during every step, from the admission of an animal into a healthcare facility to the moment of its release.

Let’s take a look at some of the specific duties that will fall into your job description:

  • record keeping
  • restraining animals
  • anesthesia
  • taking x-rays
  • taking their blood pressure or their body temperature
  • performing all kinds of analyses of the animal’s bodily fluids and discharge
  • physical examinations that lead to further diagnostics of the disease or ilness
  • inducing and maintaining anesthesia
  • applying medications, fluids and blood products following the veterinarians’ instructions
  • monitoring pulse and respiration
  • adressing injuries and sometimes applying first aid

All this, as well as, of course the most important duty – assisting the vet during surgeries.

Of course, you don’t need to work in a private practice once you graduate. You can find work as a vet technician in many other areas, and specialize in the following disciplines:

  • Dental Technology
  • Anesthetist
  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Behavior Technology
  • Zoological Medicine
  • Equine
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Clinical Pathology

You might also need to work night shifts, if a veterinary clinic offers overnight accomodation of animals.

Basically, the rule of thumb is this: the more popular and reputable hospital, the greater demands and duties.

How to Become One?

The first and most essential step you need to take, in order to become a vet technician, is the step of earning an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.

For Massachusetts, this means you’ll have to attend any of the five colleges in this state that offer a vet technology program with a full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

Once you graduate here, you can take the VTNE exam (Veterinary Technician National Examination), which,  in Massachusetts is optional, since there is no state licensing board for Veterinary Technicians.

VTNE exam in Massachusetts is only required if you’re planning on becoming certified by the MVTA.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Massachusetts

In order to get admitted to the veterinary program in Massachusetts, you need to have a high school diploma, GED or the equivalent, as well as minimal scores on SATs or ACTs.

As for the actual courses once you’re in the program, there are some that you’ll have to have attended before the program actually starts.

These are classes like English, basic math, biology, chemistry, and communication.

The courses will then progress into more science-based ones, like the following:

  • parasitology
  • radiology
  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • pathology
  • surgical nursing
  • large and small animal care
  • pharmacology
  • microbiology

Some of the classes go with hands-on lab work where you’ll put your theoretical knowledge into practice. Your final semester will be an internship, during which you’ll work under a supervision of a professional vet.

Usually, veterinary technology programs last from two to three years, and take between 70 and 90 credit hours.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition varies widely depending on the college you’re planning on enrolling into, but it’s usually around 20,000$ while out-of-state students pay up to twice that price.

Add to that additional tuition fees like those for equipment, supplies, books and ensurance. For more detailed information about tuition, you should visit each of the schools’ website.

Like everywhere else in America, you can apply for traditional financial aid available to all students of Idaho, if they meet the criteria.

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

Popular Degree Programs

Licensing and Certification

As mentioned before, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

However, in Massachusetts, the VTNE exam isn’t necessary because Massachusetts has no state board certification for Veterinary Technicians.

This means that it is completely legal to work as a Veterinary Technician in Massachusetts without taking the VTNE.

However, keep in mind that most veterinary hospitals and clinics in other states won’t hire those who are both uneducated and inexperienced in the field of Veterinary Technology.

As for the VTNE exam (which is something to buckle up for: it takes three hours to complete it, has 150 questions and costs 300$), bear in mind that you won’t be eligible to take it without a degree from an accredited veterinary technology program.

This is why it’s important that you attend a program that’s accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

You will have to renew your certification at the MVTA, by completing 12 hours of continuing education units annually.

Getting a Job in Massachusetts

There is such a large number of facilities in animal healthcare where you can apply for a job, that there really isn’t any reason to worry.

Veterinary technicians are generally very fast in finding employment, and this is due to the fact that there’s a growing number of veterinary clinics and hospitals because the importance of animal welfare is also growing exponentially.

Here are some of the facilities where you might find employment in Massachusetts:

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Massachusetts

You’re in luck if you’re a hopeful veterinary technician student in Massachusetts, because it belongs to that group of states that has higher salaries in comparison with some other states.

It is important to remember that the number of working hours and the workload of a vet technician also affect their salary.

And here’s what the statistics say: 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 Massachusetts:

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Arlington,MA $33,725
Attleboro,MA $31,397
Barnstable,MA $31,265
Boston,MA $33,725
Brockton,MA $32,109
Brookline,MA $33,725
Cambridge,MA $33,725
Chicopee,MA $30,982
Fall River,MA $31,249
Fitchburg,MA $31,705
Framingham,MA $32,383
Haverhill,MA $31,427
Holyoke,MA $30,982
Hyannis,MA $31,152
Lawrence,MA $31,427
Leominster,MA $31,150
Lowell,MA $32,316
Lynn,MA $33,725
Malden,MA $33,725
Medford,MA $33,725
Methuen,MA $31,427
New Bedford,MA $31,249
Newton,MA $33,725
Peabody,MA $33,685
Pittsfield,MA $30,203
Plymouth,MA $31,930
Quincy,MA $33,725
Revere,MA $33,725
Salem,MA $33,680
Somerville,MA $33,725
Springfield,MA $30,982
Taunton,MA $32,079
Waltham,MA $33,725
Westfield,MA $30,982
Weymouth,MA $32,109
Worcester,MA $31,219

Final Words

There are a couple things you should remember before starting your first steps on your way to becoming a vet technician.

First and foremost, do whatever you can to inform yourself as much as possible. You should know a lot about every aspect of this career before you decide to pursue it.

The second piece of advice to follow is that, while kind heart and compassion for animals are some of the most important prerequisites for this career, love of animals is not enough for you to enjoy this job.

You need to load up on patience, perseverance and strenght because being a veterinary technician can be challenging at times.

However, if you’ve already decided to become a vet technician, you already know that no amount of challenging times can outweigh the rewarding ones in this business.

USA How to Become a Veterinary Technician by State