How to Become a Veterinary Technician in West Virginia

Those who are genuinely interested in becoming vet technicians or in any other way a part of veterinary vocation, should know that now is the right time for this.

Namely,  veterinary medicine is the growing field that offers an abundance of job opportunities.

You can find all the basic information about this very important step in your life here, but before we begin and look at what you need to do to become a vet technician, you should know 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.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in West Virginia

In spight of what people percieve on the outside, 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 and performing activities under general supervision, like the following:

  • administering anesthesia
  • performing dental prophylaxis
  • establishing open airways
  • administering resuscitative oxygen procedures
  • administering resuscitative drugs, in the event of cardiac arrest
  • administering immunizations that are not required by law to be administered by a licensed veterinarian
  • preparing or supervising the preparation of patients for surgery;
  • assisting the veterinarian in immunologic, diagnostic, medical, and surgical procedures;
  • performing external suturing

…as well as those under either general or indirect supervision:

  • perform diagnostic imaging;
  • perform intravenous catheterization
  • administering and applying medications and treatments by oral intramuscular, intravenous and subcutaneous routes
  • applying bandages
  • performing cardiac and respiratory monitoring
  • performing appropriate procedures to control bleeding
  • applying temporary splints or immobilizing bandages
  • performing ear flushing
  • collect specimens and
  • performing laboratory procedures.

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 West Virginia, this means that you can choose one of the two accredited veterinary technology programs this state offers.

Both 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 West Virginia.

Only after you pass the VTNE exam can you work as a licensed veterinary technician in West Virginia.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in West Virginia

You should consider yourself lucky that your state has two 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.

Here are some of the courses you’ll have:

  • Lab Animal Science
  • Veterinary Medical Terminology
  • Animal care and Management
  • Principles of Animal Biology
  • Introductory Zoology
  • Animal Disease
  • Animal Pharmacology
  • Veterinary Office Procedures
  • Animal Control Management
  • Veterinary Clinical Pathology
  • Surgical Nursing
  • Animal Nursing
  • Animal Anatomy & Physiology
  • Advanced Topics in Veterinary Medicine
  • Diagnostic Imaging

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.

You can also specialize in different areas like:

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

Once you complete your training, you’ll become a veterinary technician in West Virginia, 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.

Popular Degree Programs

Licensing and Certification

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

First and foremost, there is The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) which we’ve already talked about and 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.

In West Virginia, it’s mandatory that you renew your license each year, by completing a total of 12 approved hours/credits  of continuing education.

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 West Virginia

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 West Virginia will help you on your way:

  • WVVMA (West Virginia Veterinary Medical Association)
  • VCA Dudley Avenue Animal Hospital
  • West Virginia Pet Hospitals
    • Cheat Lake Animal Hospital
    • Town and Country Animal Hospital
    • Valley West Veterinary Hospital

Salaries for a Vet Technician in West Virginia

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 West Virginia:

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Charleston,WV $27,006
Huntington,WV $26,185
Morgantown,WV $28,954
Parkersburg,WV $26,328
Wheeling,WV $28,954

Final Words

Unlike veterinary assistants, vet technicians can actually cure animals, administer medications and perform a proper treatment under the supervision of a veterinarian.

So, the working day of a veterinary technician includes all the difficulties the veterinarian faces as well as a vet assistant, plus the minor jobs that vet assistants aren’t authorized to perform.

Count in the very important aspect of their job which is 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 Veterinary Technician by State