- Get a degree in veterinary technology
- Become a licensed veterinary technician
- Consider becoming a certified veterinary technician
- Decide what area of veterinary medicine you want to specialize in
- Get experience in the field
- Consider going back to school to become a veterinarian
So you want to be a veterinarian? That’s great! Here’s everything you need to know about making the transition from veterinary technician to veterinarian.
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Have you ever wondered how to go from being a veterinary technician to a veterinarian? It’s a common question, and one that can be answered a few different ways. The most direct route, of course, is to attend veterinary school after completing a veterinary technology program. But there are other options, too. You may be able to find a position as a veterinary assistant or technician with a clinical focus that allows you to observe and learn from veterinarians. Or, you could take some time off between your vet tech program and veterinary school to gain experience working in the field. Whichever route you choose, there are a few things you’ll need to do to make the transition from vet tech to vet.
Get a degree in veterinary technology
There are currently more than 200 accredited veterinary technician programs across the country, and most take two to four years to complete. You can find programs at community colleges, technical schools, and even some universities. Once you have completed an accredited program, you will need to pass a state board examination to become a licensed veterinary technician.
Become a licensed veterinary technician
The first step to becoming a licensed veterinary technician is to complete a veterinary technology program that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). There are many such programs across the country, and they typically take two to four years to complete. Once you have completed an accredited program, you will need to pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) in order to be credentialed as a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT).
Consider becoming a certified veterinary technician
If you have a passion for helping animals and want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, you may be wondering how to go from being a vet tech to becoming a veterinarian. The path to becoming a veterinarian is not an easy one, but it is possible with the right education and training.
There are two main ways to become a veterinarian: by attending an accredited veterinary school or by completing a post-graduate Veterinary Medical Training (VMT) program. Both routes require completion of pre-requisite courses, as well as taking and passing the Veterinary Medical Licensing Exam (VMLE).
The first step on the path to becoming a veterinarian is to complete your undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university. You will need to take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) in order to become certified as a veterinary technician. Once you are certified, you will be eligible to work in a variety of settings, including animal hospitals, clinics, shelters, and research facilities.
If you decide that you would like to pursue a career as a veterinarian, you will need to attend an accredited veterinary school. Admission into veterinary school is competitive, so it is important to have excellent grades and test scores. During your four years of veterinary school, you will take classes on animal anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology. You will also gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations at local animal hospitals and clinics.
After completing veterinary school, you will need to take and pass the VMLE in order to become licensed in your state. Once you are licensed, you can begin practicing veterinary medicine. If you decide that you would like to specialize in a particular area of veterinary medicine, such as surgery or cardiology, you may choose to complete a residency program at an accredited hospital or clinic.
Decide what area of veterinary medicine you want to specialize in
After you become a registered veterinary technician, you may want to consider specializing in a certain area of veterinary medicine. There are many different specialties that you can choose from, so it is important to do your research and decide what area you are most interested in. Once you have decided on a specialty, you will need to complete additional education and training in that area.
There are many different ways to specialize as a veterinary technician. One way is to complete a program offered by one of the many Veterinary Technician Specialty organizations. These programs offer courses that cover the material you need to know to work in a particular area of veterinary medicine. Upon completion of the program, you will receive a certificate or diploma that denotes your specialty.
Another way to specialize is to take additional courses at a college or university that offer a degree in Veterinary Technology with a specialization in a particular area. This option typically takes longer than completing a specialist program, but it can lead to higher-paying positions and more opportunities for advancement.
No matter which route you choose, specializing as a veterinary technician can lead to many rewarding career opportunities.
Get experience in the field
The best way to become a veterinarian is to get experience in the field. Talk to your local veterinarian about job shadowing or volunteering opportunities. Many vet clinics offer these opportunities to high school and college students interested in veterinary medicine. This is a great way to see if veterinary medicine is the right career for you, and it will give you the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals. Be sure to take advantage of any shadowing or volunteer opportunities that come your way!
Consider going back to school to become a veterinarian
There are a number of reasons why you might want to consider going back to school to become a veterinarian—better job security, increased earning potential, and the ability to help even more animals, to name a few. The road to becoming a veterinarian is not an easy one, but if you’re up for the challenge, it can be an incredibly rewarding career. Here’s what you need to know about making the transition from vet tech to veterinarian.
While vet techs and veterinarians both work with animals, their day-to-day responsibilities differ quite a bit. Vet techs typically handle the more routine tasks such as taking vital signs, administering vaccinations, and cleaning wounds. They also provide important support to the veterinarian during surgeries and other procedures. In contrast, veterinarians are responsible for diagnosing and treating illnesses, performing surgeries, and prescribing medications. They also play a vital role in animal research and public health initiatives.
Becoming a veterinarian requires completing a four-year veterinary degree program at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. Admission into veterinary school is highly competitive—in 2019, only 8% of applicants were accepted into programs in the United States—so it’s important to have a strong academic record and score well on the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT). Once you’ve been accepted into veterinary school, you can expect to complete four years of coursework and clinical rotations.
There is no one easy path that leads from being a vet tech to becoming a veterinarian. The most direct route is to complete a four-year degree in veterinary medicine, but that isn’t the only way. You could also choose to go back to school and get a degree in another field that would be beneficial to veterinarians, such as biology or chemistry. You could also volunteer or work in veterinary clinics in order to gain experience. No matter what route you take, it will take dedication and hard work to achieve your goal of becoming a veterinarian.