With the increasing number of pet lovers and owners, there’s a substantial growth in the amount of stray animals on the streets, as well as the illnesses that represent a danger for pets.
This, altogether, leads to the rise in the amount of animal clinics, hospitals and shelters, thus causing the need for a growing number of veterinarians and workers in animal healthcare.
And this doesn’t only apply to pets, but also to livestock, zoo and laboratory animals.
Make no mistake, there are many “downsides” to this job, but for a true animal lover, they 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 Nevada
Veterinary technicians are the ones that look after the animals in clinics, animal hospitals, zoos and animal shelters, as soon as they’re admitted to the facilities.
They perform this job because they love to work with and help animals in need. But this job isn’t just taking care of the animals. It’s taking care of their owners, too.
One of the most important aspects of being a vet technician is knowing how to talk to other animal lovers and pet owners and show that you understand them, most of all.
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:
- handling of pets
- pharmacy and laboratory tasks
- diagnostic imaging
- legal issues
- veterinary computer programs
- hospital maintenance
- drawing blood and taking blood pressure
…and many, many others.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to work in a veterinaran’s ambulance, because there are many options for vet technicians, and working at a vet’s private practice is just one of them.
Let’s take a look at some of your options in other fields where you can work as a vet technician:
- military service
- veterinary teaching hospitals
- zoos and exotic facilities
- humane and rescue organizations
- feedlots or livestock production
- commercial and pharmaceutical sales
How to Become One?
Let’s start with your education!
You don’t have to have it in order to work as a vet technician in some facilities, but usually, the serious clinics don’t offer jobs to those without proper education.
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.
For Nevada, this means enrolling into any of the three colleges in this state that offer accredited programs for veterinary technicians: College of Southern Nevada – Charleston Campus, Pima Medical Institute or Truckee Meadows Community College.
All three of these programs have full accreditation.
After you graduate, you’ll be eligible to take the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) and after that, the Nevada State Examination.
Finally, after you do all this, you’ll be able to work as a licensed veterinary technician in Nevada.
Education Required for a Vet Technician in Nevada
One of the fortunate things for you, as a future veterinary technology student, is that Nevada has as many as three colleges that offer accredited programs for veterinary technicians.
This means 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 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 – the courses will 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
Tuition for all three Nevada programs is very affordable, more so than in other countries of America.
Given that you complete the program at a regular pace and complete it in two to three years, you can expect the tuition and accompanying fees to be under $12,000.
Tuition for out-of-state students, though, can be up to two or three times higher.
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 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.
There’s even one school in Nevada that doesn’t charge out-of-state tuition to veterans who have been honorably discharged within the last two years.
Every school’s website is thorough about tuition, financial aid and veterans benefits, so you should really invest your time in learning all your options.
Licensing and Certification
We already mentioned how important it is 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 Nevada. 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, you also have to pass the Nevada state exam. This is the exam after which you’ll be able to call yourself a licensed veterinary technician in Nevada.
In order to keep your license current, you are required to complete six hours of continuing education annually.
Getting a Job in Nevada
After you finish all your additional exams, your next step is finding a job, and this is your last step before you start your career.
Luckily for you, 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 Nevada:
- VCA (Veterinary Centers of America)
- Banfield Pet Hospital
- Las Vegas Durango
- Deer Park
- Las Vegas Craig Rd
Salaries for Vet Technicians in Nevada
Though it might seem, especially at the beginning, that salaries for vet technicians are not satisfying, there’s good news in your future.
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 Nevada.
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
|North Las Vegas,NV||$30,834|
Veterinary technicians have jobs far more demanding and exhausting than other people give the credit for, bearing in mind all the difficulties and the toll, physical and mental that the veterinary profession takes on them.
So if you feel discouraged after reading about all the hard work and 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!
Nevada 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.
Helping those in need is a noble profession, and all the hard work is definitely worth it.