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How to Get Certified as a Vet Tech

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Home » Veterinary Technician » Certification

What Certification Do I Need?

Whether you choose an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you must have a basic understanding of animal nursing, performing laboratory procedures, and assisting in all aspects of animal care, including surgical procedures. The process to become a certified veterinary technician and VTNE information is overseen by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

Every state regulates veterinary technicians differently, but most candidates are required to take a credentialing exam. In most states, the test used is the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Vet techs must become certified, licensed, or registered to practice, depending on the state.

Certificate vs Certification

Certificate:

A certificate is awarded by an educational institution, and signifies that a student has satisfactorily completed a given curriculum. Certificate programs can help students prepare for certification exams.

Certification:

A certification is generally awarded by a trade group after an individual has met certain professional requirements (e.g. earned a specific degree, worked professionally in a given field for a set amount of time, etc.) and passed a certification exam.

In short, a certificate is evidence that someone has completed an educational program, while a certification denotes that someone has met a certain set of professional criteria and/or passed an exam.

Not all programs offered are designed to meet state educator licensing or advancement requirements; however, it may assist candidates in gaining these approvals in their state of residence depending on those requirements. Contact the state board of education in the applicable state(s) for requirements.

The Veterinary Technician National Exam

The VTNE is a 4-hour, 200 multiple choice question certification exam. The VTNE is prepared exclusively by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). You can take the veterinary technician certification exam at certain times of the year in your state. The exam covers seven major areas of knowledge in which an entry level candidate with a veterinary technician education should be proficient:

  • Pharmacy and pharmacology
  • Surgical preparation and assisting
  • Dentistry procedures
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Animal nursing
  • Radiography, ultrasound, and other medical imaging
  • Anesthesia

Practice exams may be purchased on the AAVSB website.

Because licensure and certification rules vary by state, you should be sure to consult your state’s board of health for specific requirements. Remember that earning licensure through certification is for the most part, a requirement, and the payoff not only reflects in the ability to potentially advance or specialize, continue to practice, and possibly earn a better salary.