How to Become a Veterinary Technician in New Jersey

Do you live in New Jersey? Is your dream to become a veterinary technician?

Then good for you because a career of a vet technician is extremely rewarding and fulfilling, albeit challenging and at times difficult, and New Jersey offers some great programs!

If you’re thinking of this career, than you probably don’t mind feeding, watering, and examining pets all day, and spending your time in laboratories and animal hospitals.

Your education will, no doubt, prepare you for all the situations where your knowledge is needed, but you should know that the job of a vet technician will require a lot of physical as well as mental and emotional preparedness.

No worries, though, because in your workplace, you will be surrounded by people who are equally passionate about pets as you are, so let’s see what it takes to become a veterinary technician.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in New Jersey

Daily requirements of vet technicians, though many think are unburdening and easy, are actually quite challenging and, at the end of the day, exhausting.

The job description of veterinary technician is pretty similar to the one a nurse in a human hospital has.

Your job will be to work with animals as well as people, and take care of a wide array of issues: from technical things like keeping records and admitting animals into the unit, to assisting the vet during animal treatments.

You’ll also have some unpleasant duties like cleaning after animals, and the most dreadful one, assisting in euthanasia.

There is also a number of duties that will be expected of you without the supervision of a professional veterinarian, but you’ll also be in a position to assist during surgeries.

There’s a bunch of possibilities for you as vet technicians are wanted in many other branches and areas, though private practice is where the highest demand for vet technicians is.

How to Become One?

In order to become a vet technician, the first step you’ll need to take is get an Associates of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.

For New Jersey, this means being admitted to one of the two colleges that offer accredited programs for veterinary technicians in this state: Bergen Community College or Camden County College.

After that, you’ll need to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) , which is an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

Only if you pass the test can you work as a registered vet technician in New Jersey. Bear in mind you can take the exam only if you’ve graduated from an accredited program.

If, or rather, when you pass the VTNE exam, you’ll be eligible to apply for certification through the New Jersey Veterinary Technicians and Assistants Association.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in New Jersey

The application process for these programs is competitive and difficult.

They usually require a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent, and that’s common for a vast majority of schools.

However, each school has its own requirements, so depending on which school you choose, you may be required to undergo a background check, submit an autobiographical essay, proof of immunization status (i.e., tetanus), have work experience, and scores on any of a variety of college placement tests.

You may also be required to take some courses that you maybe didn’t have in high school, but that are necessary before you enroll.

These general education courses are basic math, composition, speech, or psychology. It usually takes students around two semesters to complete this.

As for the actual course work, once you’re in the veterinary technician program, it takes a minimum of two more semesters.

Your courses will be some of the following:

  • dentistry
  • pharmacology
  • anesthesiology
  • exotic and lab animal procedures
  • clinical procedures
  • surgical nursing

You’ll also have hands-on experience in labs where you’ll put your theoretic knowledge in practice, and this is known as an internship.

Your final semester will actually be an internship at a local clinic where you’ll work supervised by a professional veterinary and learn what it’s like to be a veterinary technician on a day to day basis.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for the accredited vet technology program in New Jersey is actually more affordable than in most other countries of America.

You can expect the tuition and fees for two to two and a half years is less than $12,000 – under the condition that you finish your studies at the fastest pace.

Add to that about $2,000 to $3,000 for books and lab supplies. Living and transportation expenses are not included in this estimate.

As for financial aid, visit the websites of each of the schools: most of the traditional college financial aids are available to students attending the vet tech programs.

You can start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website.

New Jersey also has its own program called New Jersey Stars which is meant to financially help high-achieving high school students with a huge part of five semesters.

There’s also the Higher Education Student Assistance Authoritywhich you can visit for more info on other types of aid from the federal government.

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Licensing and Certification

Once you earn your degree, well – more exams await!

To be precise, just one, but very important exam. You’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) as this is the case in most states in America.

This is an exam regulated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. And it’s no picnic, either: it lasts three hours, has 150 questions and costs $300.

Only those who graduated from an accredited program can take this test, so that’s why it’s important that your veterinary technology program is accredited.

Once you pass the VTNE, you’ll be eligible to apply for certification through the New Jersey Veterinary Technicians and Assistants Association.

This association is in charge of the registration and continuing education of registered veterinary technicians.

If you want to keep your license current, you need to complete 20 units of approved continuing education every two years.

Getting a Job in New Jersey

You’ve finished your education successfully and now you’re ready to find a job!

Well, it shouldn’t be a problem, as there are always available jobs for workers in animal healthcare.

Your only decision at this point should be whether you want to work in a large animal hospital or a smaller animal clinic.

Whatever you decide, this list of potential employers in New Jersey will help you:

Salaries for Vet Technicians in New Jersey

We’ll share some good news, not only for those who live in New Jersey, but for all residents of America that want to become vet technicians: there will be plenty of job opportunities for you in the future!

We already mentioned there are more and more pet owners every year, so being a vet technician means having a job with a good perspective.

But, have we mentioned that, statistically, their employment will increase in the years to come?

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 New Jersey:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Atlantic City,NJ$31,961
East Brunswick,NJ$34,350
East Orange,NJ$33,858
Jersey City,NJ$35,874
New Brunswick,NJ$34,350
Perth Amboy,NJ$33,265
Toms River,NJ$33,286
Union City,NJ$35,874
West New York,NJ$35,874
West Orange,NJ$33,858

Final Words

Here’s some more pieces of advice before you take your first steps on this very important path.

Though we gave you a very in-depth insight of what this job looks like, it is important to continue asking around thoroughly about all the aspects of this job, as well as all the information you can get about your accredited program in New Jersey.

Another thing to keep in mind is to always work on communication with other people, because it may come in handy later in your professional career.

Talking to pet owners, offering them hope and understanding them is a very important skill for workers in animal healthcare.

If you can master all these skills, while still maintaining your ability to love animals unconditionally – you will certainly be an excellent veterinary technician.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State