If you have a great love not only for cats and dogs, but all other living creatures, a job in a veterinary profession might be a good fit for you.
For many people, this is exaggeration, but there is a growing number of people that adore animals and want to help them any way they can, which is why the number of animal welfare facilites and hospital is also growing.
Facilities like animal hospitals and shelters are of great importance for anyone who cares about animals, and the people who work there, more often than not, of greater significance than the doctors.
If you want to dedicate your life to helping in these critical situations, the vocation of a veterinary technician might be right for you.
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Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Oklahoma
In our introduction, we have already focused on the importance of people that work in animal healthcare facilities, for pet owners specifically.
This is because your role as a veterinary technician will be tightly connected with communication with pet owners and empathy towards them.
Apart from that, everywhere in the world, the duties of a vet technician are the same: you’ll have all the responsibilities of someone who works closely with the vet.
Vet technicians take care of everything the vet might need.
Don’t think there won’t be any duties you’ll have to take care of all by yourself, without the supervision of the attending vet.
Here are some of your future duties as a vet technician:
- record keeping
- emergency care (applying first aid to an animal)
- taking their body temperature and handling their bodily fluids or discharge
- taking their pulse
- taking x-rays
- applying medications, fluids and blood products following the veterinarians’ instructions
- patient communication
- administering anesthesia
There are two rather unpleasant duties you’ll also have to assist in or be in charge of, and these are cleaning after animals and administering or assisting in euthanasia.
And of course, there will be plenty of night shifts, so be prepared for pulling allnighters.
How to Become One?
Luckily, Oklahoma has its share of colleges that have programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).
You’ll need to graduate in one of these in order to get an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology.
For Oklahoma, this means going to any of the three colleges that offer accredited program for veterinary technicians: Murray State College, Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City or Tulsa Community College.
After you do that, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) exam, which is required in order to work as a licensed veterinary technician and the Oklahoma state board exam.
Both of these exams are needed if you want to become licensed.
Education Required for a Vet Technician in Oklahoma
Right before you enroll into one of the three colleges that offer accredited programs, there are some prerequisite courses you may not have had the chance to attend in high school, like math, communications, biology, chemistry, humanities, or physical science.
And if you have taken them prior to your application, in Oklahoma or elsewhere, the good news is they’re probably transferable.
The course work doesn’t differ much from those in most other states. The subjects will be heavily science based like the following:
- large and small animal medicine
- practice management
- veterinary economics
- exotic animals
- clinical skills, etc.
Some courses include lab work at in-campus laboratories, and it falls into your education program so you can practice the skills and techniques taught in the classroom.
The last semester of your education will be an internship at your local veterinarian clinic, where you can put into practice all that you’ve learned over the course of your education and see what it’s like to be a veterinarian on a day-to-day basis.
All in all, it will take you somewhere between two to three years to become a graduate with an Associate of Science degree in Registered Veterinary Technology.
You can also specialize in some of the following areas and then, later, look for a job in facilities other than veterinary clinics and private practices:
- Dental Technician
- Internal Medicine
- Emergency and Critical Care
- Behavior Technician
- Zoological Medicine
- Clinical Practice
- Clinical Pathology
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition fees are very affordable in Oklahoma, where you can expect the tuition for the entire program to cost less than $12,000.
However, tuition for out of state students can be two to three times higher, and you should count in the additional fees, supplies, or living expenses.
Almost all financial aid applications require you to start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website. Here, you’ll find out what types of aid are available and for which you meet the criteria.
You can also learn about the many veteran benefits available to college students in Oklahoma on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, by clicking here.
When it comes to other state-sponsored financial aid programs for college students, by all means, visit the Oklahoma College Assistance Program that provides detailed information on this topic.
Licensing and Certification
Unfortunately, you’re still not done with exams, but – good news – you’re almost there!
Right after you graduate, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) exam.
The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is an exam regulated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards and is necessary for you to become a licensed vet technician in Oklahoma.
Only those that graduated from an accredited veterinary technology program can take the test.
Be prepared, though, because it’s no picnic. This exam lasts for three hours, has 150 questions and costs 300$.
After you pass, you first have to take the Oklahoma state board exam, before you can work as a licensed vet tech.
In order to keep your license current, you’ll have to complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years, which is good for you, because it keeps you in the loop.
Getting a Job in Oklahoma
Veterinary technicians shouldn’t worry about finding a job.
Though in each state, and each city, the employers are the ones that decide who’s going to get a job, depending on their needs at the moment, generally speaking, there is a place for everyone.
Here are some of the healthcare facilities in Oklahoma that might offer you a job once you’re done with your education:
- Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA)
- VCA (Veterinary Centers of America)
- Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics inside PETCO
- Located in Oklahoma City Petco
- Located in Norman Petco
- Located in Edmond Petco
- Located in Stillwater Petco
Salaries for Vet Technicians in Oklahoma
Okay, so they’re not the highest possible salaries you’ve ever seen: but the veterinary field of work is becoming a coveted one, with more and more pet owners in America each year.
This means, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the employment workers in animal healthcare will grow up to a whopping 30% a year through 2022.
Here are the average salaries in cities across Oklahoma:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
If you’re thinking about a career in the veterinary profession, now might be the right time to catch that train.
Veterinary technicians are in high demand now, and many veterinary clinics are looking for educated and trained workers specifically.
However, if you do decide this is the career for you, take into consideration all the downsides before you make your first step: all the extra hours, physical and emotional toll it will have on you and the unpleasant duties you’ll have to perform.
If, after that, you still think this is exactly what you should do in the future, than be sure that there’s no profession more fulfilling than that of a person helping those in need.