How to Become a Veterinary Technician in South Carolina

If you are compassionate, have an undying love of animals, are responsible for performing administrative tasks, patient and meticulous – well, you meet all the basic criteria for a sucessful vet technician.

If you’re genuinely interested in becoming one, you should know that now is the right time for this profession, because veterinary medicine is the growing field, offering an abundance of job opportunities.

Here, you can find all the basic information about this very important step in your life, but before we take a look at what you need to do to become a vet technician, keep in mind that this job is not only about hugs and cuddles.

Veterinary technician has important tasks and responsibilities and is an important team member working closely with the veterinarian.

Take a look at what that means in practice.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in South Carolina

In spight of the common public misconception, the 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.

In practice, this 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 South Carolina, this means that you can choose any of the three accredited veterinary technology programs this state offers: Piedmont Technical CollegeTri-County Technical College or Trident Technical 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 South Carolina.

Also, according to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, another requirement for a license to practice as a veterinary technician in this state, is that you pass the online examination by the South Carolina Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in South Carolina

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 the academic courses go , you can expect some of the following subjects which are heavily based on science – since veterinary technology is basically a science:

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

Here you’ll gain substantial knowledge on about dairy cattle, horses, cats, chickens, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, turkeys, rodents, ferrets, reptiles, birds and zoo or exhibition animals.

If you wish, or depending on your study preferences, you may also choose to work with lab animals including mice, rats and guinea pigs.

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.

There’s also the option of pursuing additional education, whether it’s a four-year veterinary technology degree, or a degree in a related area, like animal science.

Once you complete your training, you’ll become a veterinary technician in South Carolina, graduated with an Associate Degree in Applied Science (veterinary technology).

Tuition and Financial Aid

Normally, provided that 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 for an accredited vet tech program to cost anywhere between $20,000 and $35,000.

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

However, tuition costs vary depending on the college you opt for, and tuition for out-of-state students can be two to three times higher, so you should really visit each of the schools’ websites for more information about the costs.

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

It’s time to talk about the specific exams and licenses for a veterinary technician in South Carolina.

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 and you’re still not allowed to practice veterinary technology as a licensed vet tech..

Apart from the VTNE exam, according to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, you have one more requirement for a license to practice as a veterinary technician.

The requirement is to pass the online examination by the South Carolina Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Only after you do this will you be eligible to become registered as a veterinary technician in the state.

If you want to keep your registration current, you’ll be required to complete at least 10 hours of continuing education every two years.

Getting a Job in South Carolina

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, depending on what you specialized in.

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 South Carolina will help you on your way:

Salaries for a Vet Technician in South Carolina

You might not 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 South Carolina:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Goose Creek,SC$27,942
Hilton Head Island,SC$27,535
Mount Pleasant,SC$27,983
Myrtle Beach,SC$26,599
Rock Hill,SC$29,183

Final Words

It’s actually hard to understand how it’s possible that veterinary technicians have so many duties, responsibilities and tasks, yet so little recognition for the things they do.

Though many think that vet technician is basically just a side helper that works on minor things around the clinic, it’s a misconception.

Vet technicians can actually cure animals, administer medications and do a proper treatment under the supervision of a veterinarian, which vet assistants cannot do.

So, the working day of a veterinary technician includes all the difficulties the vet faces too, plus the minor jobs and devoting their time to the concerned owners.

This is why it’s important to know, before you become a vet technician, that you’re venturing into a very noble and respectable career.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State