How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Tennessee

For people in the US, opportunities for higher education are not equally available for everyone, and there are hundreds of students that simply do not have a possibility of becoming veterinarians due to numerous factors.

Though the role of a vet technician has less responsibilities than that of a veterinarian, those with true love of animals and a true passion for helping them will definitely find satisfaction in a role of vet tech.

A veterinary technician is basically a veterinarian’s right hand man, the person they work with closely, who supports their work and assists during surgical procedures.

If you’re interested at all in this demanding and noble career, let’s see what you need to do next.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Tennessee

As a veterinary technician in Tennessee, you’re definitely going to be expected to perform various jobs related not just to the animals, but a bunch of administrative jobs like scheduling appointments, keeping and updating records, cooperating with other veterinary facilities among many others.

Apart from all of this, your duties will be to tend animals and perform all of the less important tasks that go with making the animals better.

These tasks are  keeping animals clean, sterilizing operating rooms, as well a the equipment before and after surgeries and lab work.

Here are some of the things you’ll perform and, more importantly, learn how to do:

  • applying anethesia
  • keeping records of patients
  • working in a lab
  • taking x-rays
  • restraining and helping with animals
  • assisting during surgeries
  • observing and recording an animal’s behavior and condition
  • providing nursing care to ill and/or surgery recovering patients
  • administering emergency first aid as needed to injured animals
  • collecting blood, urine, or tissue samples for laboratory testing
  • communicating with animals’ owners in an informed and courteous manner

You’ll encounter this situation further on in your career, but you should know right at the beginning that, as a veterinary technician, you’ll have more obligations than most people would ever think a vet technician has!

How to Become One?

Our first piece of advice for anyone who wants to become a veterinary technician is – get ready for a bunch of steps to get there!

The first and most essential thing you’ll need is  an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.

You might not need this degree to work in some clinics but if you want a serious career in veterinary field, a degree from an accredited program is a necessity.

This, essentially, means that you have to enroll in one of the five colleges in Tennessee that offer accredited veterinary technology programs.

The next thing you’ll need to do is take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) , which is an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, which is a very impotant exam in most states across America.

You can work as a registered vet technician in Tennessee only if you successfully pass this test.

Oh, and don’t forget you can take the VTNE exam only if you’ve graduated from an accredited program for vet technicians!

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Tennessee

Now that we’ve told you about the importance of graduating from an accredited veterinary technician program (just think of the VTNE exam that you can take only after an accredited program!), it’s time to take a look at your future education.

For Tennessee, attending an accredited program for veterinary technicians means you can enroll in any of the five colleges that exist in this state, three of which have full accreditation.

Full accreditation means that the program is fully accredited because it has met all the criteria of the CVTEA.

Now, as for the actual curriculum when you start your program, it’s mostly science focused, given the fact that, well, veterinary field is a science.

Some of your courses will be the following:

  • Parasitology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Nursing
  • Veterinary math
  • Microbiology
  • Veterinary math
  • Hematology
  • Terminology
  • Radiology
  • Dentistry
  • Courses related to individual animals

Don’t worry about the lab work, most colleges have modern and well-equipped labs and surgical facilities and on-campus laboratories where you can practice working with real animals under the supervision of your instructors, and this is known as an on-campus internship.

Your final semester will be an off-campus internship, or an externship at a real clinic or a hospital, where you’ll work under the supervision of a professional vet and learn what it’s like to be a veterinary technician on a day-to-day basis.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Sometimes tuition can be quite expensive, but it’s usually not so for veterinary technicians. Tuition varies greatly depending on the college in Tennessee you opt for.

Generally speaking, though, for your entire education that can last anywhere from 18 months to two years, sometimes even three, you’ll have to pay somewhere between $6,000 and $30,000 for tuition fees.

Don’t forget that you’ll have to add about $2,000 to $3,000 for books and lab supplies. Living and transportation expenses are not included in this approximal estimate.

As for financial aid, that’s easier to discuss.

You can visit the websites of each of the Tennessee colleges with these programs: they all have Student Aid information that you can use.

Most of the traditional college financial aids that are available to all students across  America are available in Tennessee, too.

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Licensing and Certification

Your graduation is getting close, now what?

It’s not the end of your exams, unfortunately! Right after you graduate in Tennessee, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) as this is the case in most states in America, if you want to work as a licensed veterinary technician.

This is an exam regulated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

This is the time to show what you’ve learned and what you know: this exam lasts three hours, has 150 questions and costs $300. Only those who graduated from an accredited program can take this test.

After this, you’ll be eligible to apply for certification in Tennessee.

You’ll be required to renew your license every year by completing at least 12 hours of continuing education anually.

No more than four hours can be done online or via other media.

Getting a Job in Tennessee

You did all there was to do and now you’re actually able to land your first job!

That’s great, and it shouldn’t be too difficult either, because there are always new facilities and animal hospitals looking for professionals willing to learn, just like yourself.

Here are some of the potential employers you may consider in Tennessee:

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Tennessee

The salaries vet technicians get, though not really thrilling, are not bad either, and in the future, they’re going to get higher, so there’s really no reason to worry, though you might get discouraged in the beginning.

With more and more pet owners every year, being a vet technician is a job with a good perspective as they’re becoming increasingly wanted.

Here’s what we know: namely,  the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show their employments is expected to grow by a whopping 30% per year through 2022.

Take a look at these average vet technician salaries in Tennessee.

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Johnson City,TN$25,804

Final Words

The veterinary technicians, though not the main caregivers, care about our animals a great deal and their job, though it may not seem so, is full of challenges, working hours and – frankly, it is exhausting.

That is why the people who are performing this job should be given a deserved respect and admiration.

As for the exhaustion and the downsides of the job – they shouldn’t stop a true fighter for animals and a person passionate for animal well being.

With the certificate you get after graduating and passing all your exams, you’ll also get the self-esteem and self-confidence you need to deal with all those negative sides, if they can be called that, at all.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State