How to Become a Veterinary Technician in New Mexico

The way animals are being treated is significantly and rapidy changing nowadays and has been for the past couple of years.

Animals are becoming valuable members of more and more households, and with that, their care and protection is more important.

And this is why veterinarians and, in general, workers in animal healthcare are in constant demand and why their daily activities and duties are growing.

With the growing duties, there’s a growing place in the market for anyone willing to work hard and help those in need, so if you are an animal lover, willing to work with them, a veterinary assistant profession awaits for you.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in New Mexico

Despite what many think, duties of vet technicians are numerous, challenging, demanding and downright exhausting.

Basically, the main job of a veterinary technician is to assist the veterinarian in the same manner a nurse would assist a doctor.

This basically means they assist veterinarians with whatever clinical examinations that may be needed, like:

  • 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
  • taking patient’s body temperature
  • monitoring pulse and respiration
  • adressing injuries and sometimes applying first aid…and all this while basically remaining involved in every aspect of the patient’s wellbeing.

Veterinary technicians are also commonly in charge of assisting veterinarians in surgeries.

Their tasks here are to provide proper equipment to veterinarians when they need it, and make sure that the equipment and monitoring devices are working properly.

Add to that the less pleasant duties of cleaning up after the animals, disinfecting their cages and the worst of all – administering and assisting in euthanasia.

How to Become One?

If you want to become a vet technician, you will first have to earn a Veterinary Technology Associate’s Degree of Applied Science.

Specifically for New Mexico, this means that you can choose any of the three veterinary technology programs this state offers: in Central New Mexico Community CollegeNavajo Technical University or San Juan College.

All three programs are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

Once you graduate in Veterinary Technology, you have to pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) before you can become a Licensed Veterinary Technician in New Mexico.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in New Mexico

You should consider yourself lucky that your state has as many as three colleges where you can acquire the knowledge necessary for a veterinary technician.

This means you don’t have to travel anywhere in order to get educated.

When it comes to the application processes, they vary, depending on the school you’re choosing. Usually, there’s one thing sure, and that’s that you will need a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent.

As far as other prerequisites go, you may be required to do anything from having high scores on ACT, SAT or Accuplacer tests to getting rabies shots.

Be prepared as these application processes are exhausting and demanding, and very competitive.

As far as the academic courses go , you can expect some of the following:

  • Pharmacology
  • Introduction to veterinary technology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Parasitology
  • Nutrition
  • Emergency care and first aid
  • Radiology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology

Now, once you’re near the end, your final semester of work experience will be an internship, during which you’ll get valuable clinical knowledge and instructions and upon completing it, you’ll fulfill all requirements and complete your training.

Once this happens, you’ll become a veterinary technician in New Mexico, graduated with an Associate Degree in Applied Science (Veterinary Technology).

Tuition and Financial Aid

Normally, you can expect tuition for veterinary technician programs in New Mexico to be very affordable, more so than in other countries in America.

If all goes at a normal pace and you finish your education in two to two and a half years, you can expect the entire tuition to cost about $12,000.

Add to this all the additional tuition fees, like books, equipment, insurance and all needed supplies for students, like microscopes, stethoscopes, etc.

Financial aid is less complicated to talk about, since every school program offers the same, traditional financial aid programs that all college students can apply for, if they meet the criteria.

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

Don’t forget that you can also always visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to learn more about the types of aid and which are best for you. Here, you can find programs for dependents and family members of a veteran.

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Licensing and Certification

Now, let’s talk about the specific exams and licenses for a veterinary technician in New Mexico.

First and foremost, there is The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) which is an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

In order to qualify for it, you must have a degree from an accredited veterinary technician program, and passing it is required in all states of America in order to work as a registered veterinary technician.

You will have to pay 300$ in order to take the exam at all, and you better prepare for it, because it lasts for three hours and has 150 questions.

You need at least 70% in order to pass the exam.

But this is not all when it comes to exams.

After you pass the VTNE exam, you’ll be eligible to apply for registration through the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine, which mean you’ll have to pass an exam administered by the Board.

Only then will you be registered as a veterinary technician in the state.

If you want to keep your registration current, you’ll be required to complete eight hours of continuing education every year.

Getting a Job in New Mexico

Once you’re (finally!) done with educating yourself and passing both of the additional exams, your next step will be finding a job.

You can do this in many different ways and choose many different paths, you can work in a small, private animal clinic, a large animal hospital, a zoo, an animal shelter, a laboratory or in an academic institution.

Whatever path you choose, this list of potential employers in New Mexico will help you on your way:

Salaries for a Vet Technician in New Mexico

You maybe don’t know this yet, but veterinary medicine is slowly becoming a wanted job due to the expanding number of pet owners in the US.

More and more people opt for having pets and, taking that into consideration, it’s no wonder that the employment of workers in animal healthcare is expected to grow by 30% by the year 2022.

Here are some average salaries across New Mexico:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Las Cruces,NM$25,201
Rio Rancho,NM$27,602
Santa Fe,NM$28,017
Sunland Park,NM$28,017

Final Words

Nowadays, American veterinary sector is growing exponentially, and this isn’t case just in America.

All over the world, people are choosing and expecting that their pets receive the equal care as human beings, and members of their family.

Since this is the case, veterinary technicians are the ones that have the most important role in making these patients and their owners feel comfortable and understood.

Working in this position, you’ll gain precious knowledge and combined experience from various animal hospitals and ambulances, and for someone interested in animals, that is a dream job.

So, if you live in New Mexico and are dreaming of pursuing this, undoubtedly, noble career, you should definitely make your first step as soon as possible.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State