How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Utah

In order to work with animals, you have to be the kind of person that loves animals and can connect with them, have empathy towards them, yet isn’t too emotional and possesses the ability to stay emotionally strong when working with those that cannot be helped.

This is why a veterinary technician profession is, first and foremost, an emotionally tough one and requires a specific set of mental abilities and skills.

If you have these, and to top it all off – a will to help animals and an interest in doing this job, than you’re definitely in the right place.

So first, let’s review what this profession really is and what you’ll have to do if you were to become a vet technician.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Utah

The first thing you need to know is that 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.

You’ll also have a plethora of 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 many, many allnighters.

How to Become One?

Utah has two  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.

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 this applies to most states in America.

Once you pass the VTNE exam, you’ll meet the Utah Vet Tech License requirements, and be able to register for your license.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Utah

Right before you enroll into one of the mentioned two colleges that offer accredited programs, you might have to attend some prerequisite courses that you maybe hadn’t had the chance attend in high school, like math, communications, biology, chemistry, humanities, or physical science.

As for other requirements and prerequisites before applying for the school you’ve chosen, it is best to visit the website of the shool you’ve got your eyes on for more detailed information.

As for the core subjects, they don’t differ much from those in most other states. The subjects will be heavily science based like the following:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • biology
  • radiology
  • anesthesia
  • large and small animal medicine
  • pathology
  • practice management
  • veterinary economics
  • exotic animals
  • surgery
  • pharmacology
  • 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
  • Anesthetist
  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Behavior Technician
  • Zoological Medicine
  • Equine
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Clinical Pathology

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition fees are usually affordable for these programs, and you can expect the tuition for entire two years to cost somewhere between $12,000 and $25,000.

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 Utah on the  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, by clicking here.

Popular Degree Programs

Licensing and Certification

Now we come to the part we’ve mentioned before – the very important but very necessary VTNE exam.

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 Utah.

Only those that graduated from an accredited veterinary technology program can take the test.

Be prepared, though, because it’s not an easy exam. It lasts for three hours, has 150 questions and costs 300$.

After you pass, you can apply for your license in Utah.

You should know, though, that Utah does not have requirements for Veterinary Technician licensing in order to work in Utah.

The state doesn’t require any renewal or continuing education, either.

This means you don’t need a license in order to work as a vet technician, but if you want to go further in your career and find a serious job, it would be best to acquire one.

Getting a Job in Utah

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 Utah that might offer you a job once you’re done with your education:

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Utah

In spight of what you might have heard about the salaries of vet technicians not being the highest possible salaries you’ve ever seen, 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 Utah:

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Layton,UT $27,292
Lehi,UT $26,791
Logan,UT $27,009
Ogden,UT $27,395
Orem,UT $26,920
Provo,UT $26,920
Saint George,UT $30,389
Salt Lake City,UT $28,120
Sandy,UT $28,043
South Jordan,UT $27,991
West Jordan,UT $28,017

Final Words

There’s a common misconception going around that vet technicians have it easy and that their jobs aren’t demanding at all.

This is, unfortunately, completely wrong.

While they certainly do have less responsibilities on their hands than the veterinarians do, they still have the authority to administer medications and perform medical exams on animals under the supervision of a licensed vet.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

They also have the very exhausting task of taking care of the clinic, assisting the vet with whatever they need, and the emotionally demanding job of taking care of the pets’ owners.

So while it’s definitely a noble profession – make no mistake, it’s a demanding and above all – important one.

USA How to Become a Veterinary Technician by State