Taking into consideration that in the recent couple of years, the treatment of animals in general is changing, and that there are more and more pet owners each year, it’s no wonder that there are more and more facilities that can offer your pets the care and the help they need.
Veterinary technicians are somehwat of a community of individuals who are passionate about the support of animals and animal health facilities are always in need of new professionals who will offer veterinary care for your pets.
If this sounds interesting and like something you might want to do for a living, take a look at the particular steps you’re going to take to get there.
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Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Wisconsin
Despite the public misconception, that is becoming all too common, a job description of a vet technician is pretty complicated and demanding.
Duties of a vet technician in Wisconsin are not different than those of a vet technician anywhere else – not just in America, but around the world.
They are all a part of a community that is seeking for the best medical care of all animals, not only pets.
Their daily tasks are providing basic care for pets and non-farm animals, feeding and bathing animals, disinfecting exam rooms, giving medications or vaccinations, ensuring that animals are well prepared for surgery and medical examination, cleaning and sanitizing animal cages and surgical tools during surgeries, and that’s just to name a few.
You might also need to work night shifts, if a veterinary clinic offers overnight accomodation of animals.
How to Become One?
Though you’re not legally obliged to get your education as a vet technician, your chances of getting a job without one are slim.
So the first step you need to take, in order to become a vet technician, is the step of earning an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.
For Wisconsin, this means attending one of the two colleges in this state that offer a vet technology program with a full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).
Once you graduate here, you can take the VTNE exam (Veterinary Technician National Examination), which is a very important exam for your further career, not just here, but in most states across America.
Once you pass the VTNE, you are eligible for licensure in Wisconsin.
Education Required for a Vet Technician in Wisconsin
When it comes to prerequisites and requirements of the schools that offer accredited programs, what most of them agree upon is that you need to have a high school diploma, GED or the equivalent, as well as minimal scores on SATs or ACTs.
As for other requirements each school can have prerequisites that are anything from a background check to a rabies shot.
There are interviews, placement tests, your medical history, vaccinations etc – so you should really visit your school’s website to make sure.
Generally, a high school diploma, GED or the equivalent is required.
As for the actual courses once you’re in the program, there are some that you’ll have to have attended before the program actually starts, and they’re usually classes like English, basic math, biology, chemistry, and communication.
The courses will then progress into more science-based ones, like the following:
- surgical nursing
- large and small animal care
Some of the classes go with hands-on lab work where you’ll put your theoretical knowledge into practice.
You won’t only have experience working with pets, but with other types of animals too, like dairy cattle, horses, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, turkeys, rodents, reptiles, birds and zoo or exhibition animals.
You’ll also have the opportunity to work with lab animals.
Your final semester will be an internship, during which you’ll work under a supervision of a professional vet.
Usually, veterinary technology programs last from two to three years, and take between 70 and 90 credit hours.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition varies widely depending on the college you’re planning on enrolling into, but if you proceed at the recommended pace, tuition and fees for most programs is under $25,000 for four to five semesters.
Add to that additional tuition fees like those for equipment, supplies, books and insurance.
For more detailed information about tuition, you should visit each of the schools’ website.
Like everywhere else in America, you can apply for traditional financial aid available to all students of Idaho, if they meet the criteria.
You can apply to almost every financial aid program starting with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Don’t forget to visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where you can learn more about the types of aid and what might be best for you, including programs for dependents and family members of veterans.
Licensing and Certification
If you’ve been reading the text closely, you know that after your studies, you will have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.
This is a very important exam, that you’re obliged to take in most American countries if you want to work as a licensed vet technician.
As for the VTNE exam (which you should definitely prepare yourself for: it takes three hours to complete it, has 150 questions and costs 300$), keep in mind that you won’t be eligible to take it without a degree from an accredited veterinary technology program.
This is why it’s important that you attend a program that’s accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Only when you’re done with the VTNE exam, can you request for registering as a veterinary technician in Wisconsin.
If you want to renew your license, you need to have completed at least 15 hours of continued education.
Getting a Job in Wisconsin
As we’ve mentioned in the introduction, there is such a large number of facilities in animal healthcare where you can apply for a job, that there really isn’t any reason to worry.
Veterinary technicians are generally very fast in finding employment, and this is due to the fact that there’s a growing number of veterinary clinics and hospitals because the importance of animal welfare is also growing exponentially.
Here are some of the facilities where you might find employment in Wisconsin:
- Public Health Madison & Dane Counties Animal Services (Madison)
- Humane Animal Welfare Society – No Kill (Waukesha)
- Professional Wildlife Removal (Dane County)
- Lakeland Animals Shelter (Delavan)
- MDACC: Domestic Animal Control Commission (Milwaukee)
- Neenah Animal Shelter (Neenah)
- Wisconsin Animal Control & Wildlife Removal (24 locations throughout Wisconsin)
- VCA Associates in Pet Care Animal Hospital (Waukesha)
Salaries for Vet Technicians in Wisconsin
If you heard somewhere that the paychecks of veterinary technicians are not really high, you’re in for a surprise because even though salaries may not be skyrocketing these days for vet technicians, it probably won’t be so in the future.
Here’s what the statistics say: namely, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show their employments is expected to grow by a whopping 30% per year through 2022.
Remember, however, that the number of working hours and the workload of a vet technician also affect their salary.
Here are the average salaries for a vet technician in Wisconsin:
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The status of animals nowadays has significantly increased and it has become, for pet owners of course, as important as the status of other family members, which is why veterinarians and their staff are necessary and important parts of every animal loving household.
Even though it’s common that people think that veterinary technicians and far less important than the veterinarians, this shouldn’t really bother you because these misconceptions come from people who do not understand how important the job of a vet tech actually is.
The personal characteristics that a veterinary technician has to possess except having a persistent love for animals is to be physically endurable, patient, mature and emotionally stable.
So if you have these, and if you’ve already decided to become a vet technician, you already know that no amount of challenging times can outweigh the rewarding ones in this profession.