How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Rhode Island

It is an extremely stressful situation when you’re a pet owner and your pet gets sick or is injured.

Those that haven’t had pets might think it’s an exaggeration, but it’s like having a part of your family sick.

Fortunately, a growing number of people are starting to look at things from this perspective, which, in the recent years, has lead to a growing number of animal hospitals and shelters.

In these facilities, veterinarians and their personnel are of crucial importance to pet owners and this is why the growing market of veterinary profession is always looking for new people willing to devote their career to helping animals in need.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Rhode Island

Even though many think of them as unburdening and easy, daily requirements of vet technicians, 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.

So if you become one, 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.

So, let’s sum up and take a look at just some of the responsibilities you’ll have as a vet technician:

  • recording an animal’s medical history
  • assisting with surgeries and other medical procedures
  • collecting blood, urine or stool sample
  • preparing animals and equipment for surgery
  • processing laboratory tests
  • providing treatment for routine problems
  • assisting the veterinarian with physical exams
  • performing anesthesia
  • administration of medications
  • recording temperature, pulse and respiration
  • dressing wounds
  • euthanizations when necessary
  • caring for companion animals
  • conducting research

How to Become One?

To make your dreams of becoming a vet technicians come true, the first step you’ll need to make is get an Associates of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.

For Rhode Island, this means being admitted to the one college that offers an accredited program for veterinary technicians in this state.

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 will you be eligible to submit an application to the Rhode Island Veterinary Technician Association (RIVTA).

Once you do this – you’ll be able to call yourself a licensed veterinary technician and work as one in Rhode Island.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Rhode Island

There is only one Veterinary Technician School in Rhode Island accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, but that’s still better than having none in your state and having to travel back and forth all the time!

The schools that offer accredited programs for vet technicians usually require you to have a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent.

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.

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.

What’s more, you can also specialize in other areas, if you don’t want to work in a veterinary clinic once you graduate. Here are some of them:

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Pathology
  • Equine Medicine
  • Dental Technician
  • Emergency and Critical Care nursing
  • Anesthetist
  • Internal Medicine
  • Behavior Modification
  • Zoological and Exotic Animal Medicine

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for the accredited vet technology programs in America are usually affordable and you can finish the entire two year program for a tuition that costs between $20,000 and $35,000.

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.

And, of course, don’t forget to visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs  for the types of aid included in the programs for dependents and family members of a veteran.

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Licensing and Certification

You’re not done yet: even though you’ve graduated, there are more exams waiting for you.

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 able to submit an application to the Rhode Island Veterinary Technician Association (RIVTA).

If you want to keep your license current, you need to complete at least 12 continuing education units at a program that has been approved by the RIVTA, every year.

Getting a Job in Rhode Island

Once you’re ready to find a job, you can start right away and sure enough you’ll find one very quickly, 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 potenital employers in Rhode Island will help you:

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Rhode Island

We’ll share some good news, not only for those who live in Rhode Island, 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 Rhode Island:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary

Final Words

One of the good aspects of this job is that, once you’re done with acquiring your education, the job opportunity will appear faster than you can imagine, but be that as it may, you need to understand that working in a vet clinic isn’t all about playing with little kittens and puppies.

It comes with serious responsibilities and challenges that you can learn to manage through experience and years of hardwork, but you should definitely do your research beforehand and make sure that this is the career you want.

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, and through all these steps you’re still sure this is the path you want – you will certainly be an excellent veterinary technician.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State