How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Mississippi

The way people look at animals and treat them has started to change drastically in today’s world.  Animal lovers like to believe that the way animals are being treated is changing on a global level, in many was, but today we are talking about how important they’re becoming in households across America.

More and more people opt for having a pet nowadays, and that means their care and protection is getting more important and demanding.

That is why the demand for workers in animal healthcare is growing, veterinary technicians are always wanted and their jobs are slowly starting to be of greater importance and significance than they used to be.

If you’re one of those people that consider animals to be important parts of humans’ lives, a veterinary technician may be the perfect career for you.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Mississippi

Though many think that a veterinary technician has a minor role in a veterinary clinic, it is far from the truth.

The job duties of a vet tech are similar to those of a nurse, and as one, you’ll be expected to assist the vet during every step, from the admission of an animal into a healthcare facility to the moment of its release.

If you love animals, you can imagine that coming to a hospital is a stressful situation, and this is where the veterinary technician’s communication skills come in handy: the vet tech is the first one who has to take care of the upset and frightened owner and ask about the patient’s symptoms.

Let’s take a look at some of the 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 illness
  • inducing and maintaining anesthesia
  • applying medications, fluids and blood products following the veterinarians’ instructions
  • monitoring pulse and respiration
  • addressing injuries and sometimes applying first aid

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

Here is where you’ll make sure the vet has each instrument and equipment working properly and you’ll be in charge of handing the parts of the equipment to the vet whenever he needs them.

However, vet technicians also have to take care of some boring or unpleasant duties, like taking care of administrative issues, cleaning up after the animals and worst of all – assisting in administering euthanasia.

How to Become One?

If you want to have a career as a veterinary technician, first of all you have to have a school diploma, and then licensing attained by completing a veterinary technology program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

Finishing this kind of program will earn you an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology, which is crucial if you want to work as a licensed veterinary technician.

For Mississippi, this means you can enroll into one of the two colleges that offer an accredited program for veterinary technicians: Hinds Community College​​​ or Mississippi State University.

Once you’ve graduated, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), an exam required in order to become a licensed Connecticut veterinary technician.

After that, you’ll have to pass a jurisprudence exam – to become certified in Mississippi, and apply for licensure by the Mississippi State Veterinary Board.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Mississippi

You’re taking your first step towards gaining the much needed education for a vet technician.

Most programs, however, require some prerequisites in the form of some general courses that you’ll need in order to successfully perform all sorts of tasks later, like  record keeping, inventory, and communicating with clients.

These courses are usually English, math, sciences, communications, computer skills, or history.

Once you have these passed and you’re ready to move on to the core curriculum – your main education starts. You’ll face all the “ology” courses.

These courses typically include:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • terminology
  • radiology
  • microbiology
  • nutrition
  • animal restraint
  • parasitology
  • hematology
  • pharmacology
  • behavior
  • animal nursing
  • practice management

…and many, many others.

Lab work accompanying classes that require hands-on experience is also included within your education, to enhance your clinical experience.

Your final semester will be an internship, which basically means working in an animal hospital in a fully functioning animal hospital or facility where you will learn what it means to work as a vet technician from day to day and you’ll put all your theoretic knowledge into practice.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition fees in Mississippi vary a lot, and a school’s website is where you can find information about that particular program fees.

Apart from the tuition fees, you should 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.

However, you can find many types of financial aid in Mississippi, apart from all traditional types of aid (loans, grants, scholarships, veterans benefits) available to college students across the country – for which you can apply starting with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Namely, Mississippi has two programs that offer help to college students: the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) and the Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG).

Visit their websites to get informed about the types of aid they offer and the category you meet the criteria for.

There’s also the federal financial aid for veterans, dependents and family members.

You can visit  every school’s website and find thorough information on tuition, financial aid, and veterans benefits, as well as the website of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Licensing and Certification

We’ve mentioned before that once you graduate – you’re still not done.

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

Bear in mind that you can’ take this test without a degree from an accredited veterinary technology program, so this is why it’s important that you attend a program that’s accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The exam takes three hours to complete it, and it has over 150 questions. It will also cost you $300.

When you pass the VTNE exam, in order to become certified, you’ll have to pass a jurisprudence exam and apply for a license by the Mississippi State Veterinary Board.

Only when you finish all these steps will you be able to work as a licensed veterinary technician in Mississippi.

Getting a Job in Mississippi

Now that you are certified and can work in Mississippi, it’s time to find your first job.

Luckily, like most countries in America, Mississippi too has to offer a lot of animal clinics and hospitals that would be happy to have you.

This is also due to the previously mentioned fact that there’s a growing number of facilities for animal welfare.

Here are some of them that might offer you your first job in Mississippi:

  • Banfield Pet Hospitals located in Mississippi.
    • Jackson
    • Flowood
  • Mississippi Animal Hospitals
    • North State Animal Hospital
    • Brookhaven Animal Hospital
    • Horn Lake Animal Hospital
    • Gulf Coast Veterinary Emergency Hospital

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Mississippi

Let’s face it – the salaries for veterinary technicians are not among the highest in America, but they’re not too bad either.

And the situation’s only going to get better. 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 Mississippi:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Olive Branch,MS$27,937

Final Words

The best advice for future veterinary technicians is not to be discouraged by either the public opinion about how “easy” this job is, nor by the complicated steps you have to take to become one.

After all, if you’re serious about any career, there’s always some hardship to face.

As for the downsides of this job that other people just don’t see – well, you have to be prepared that you might, for instance, get bitten and scratched from time to time, stand on your feet for a long time and do some boring or unpleasant tasks.

None of that matters, though, if you really want to become a veterinary technician, because your love for animals and your natural empathy will be enough for you to power through all those downsides.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State