It’s a common situation for high school graduates that they want to continue their education, yet do not know what to study nor which path in life to choose.
Well, if this is a situation you’re in and you happen to be fond of animals and are thinking of devoting your life to the noble goal of helping them, then the profession of a veterinary technician can be ideal for you.
And you’ll have no problem finding your spot under the veterinary profession sky, because recently people have been sucessfully raising public awareness of veterinary health care issues, which lead to the improvement and to many work possibilities for anyone wanting to help 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.
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Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Oregon
Veterinary technicians are specifically trained and licensed to perform procedures on animals, of course, supervised a the licensed veterinarian, which means they have their hands full during their work day.
Vet 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.
However, 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
- processing laboratory tests including blood and urinalyses
- developing radiographs
- providing treatment for routine problems
- dressing wounds
- operating electrocardiographic equipment
…and many, many others.
How to Become One?
The best way to start is – with your education!
Although you don’t have to have any college education in order to work as a vet technician in some facilities, you should know that 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 Oregon, this means enrolling into one of the three colleges in this state that offer accredited programs for veterinary technicians.
After you graduate, you’ll be eligible to take the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) and after that, the Oregon Juris Prudence Exam/Regional Disease Test.
Finally, after you do all this, you’ll be able to work as a licensed veterinary technician in Oregon.
Education Required for a Vet Technician in Oregon
One of the fortunate things for you, as a future veterinary technology student, is that Oregon 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 to take some general education courses like biology, chemistry, English, computer skills, communication, and math before you may actually start atteding 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.
You can also specialize in the following areas, if you’re intereted in working somewhere other than private clinics:
- Animal Nutrition
- Clinical Practice
- Clinical Pathology
- Equine Medicine
- Dental Technician
- Emergency and Critical Care nursing
- Internal Medicine
- Behavior Modification
- Zoological and Exotic Animal Medicine
…or you can pursue additional education, like a four-year veterinary technology degree, or a degree in a related area like animal science.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition for all three Oregon programs is mostly affordable, as is in most countries in America, while for out-of-state students, it can be up to two or three times higher.
Either way, you should visit each of the schools’ websites for more detailed information on tuition.
As for financial aid, 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.
Popular Degree Programs
Licensing and Certification
Becoming a certified veterinary technician in Oregon is no easy task. First, you’ll need to graduate from a program accredited by the the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities?
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 Oregon. It’s an exam that takes three hours to complete, has 150 questions and in Oregon costs $130, so come prepared!
Add to that at least 6,000 hours of on-the-job training in certain technical procedures as verified by a licensed Oregon veterinarian.
After you’ve met all these requirements, you must pass the Oregon Juris Prudence Exam/Regional Disease Test.
Finally, after all this, comes the VTNE exam we’ve talked about before. Only when you’re done with all these, you’ll be able to call yourself a licensed veterinary technician in Oregon.
In order to keep your license current, Oregon requires that, every two years, you complete 15 hours of continuing education to the Board.
You should do this for every even-numbered year beginning January 2008.
Getting a Job in Oregon
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 Oregon:
- VCA (Veterinary Centers of America)
- Banfield Pet Hospital
Salaries for Vet Technicians in Oregon
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 Oregon.
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If you’re planning on becoming a veterinary technician, it is important to know the required and preferred skills for this position and to be determined to gain the much needed knowledge in order to acquire these skills.
You should also know that the salary of a veterinary technician depends on the particular facility they work in, the number of activities performed during the day and the number of hours they spend working.
So, by no means is this an easy job. But if and when you do become a vet technician, you’ll see that it’s as fulfilling as it gets.