What Is a Registered Veterinary Technician?
A registered veterinary technician (RVT) is a state-credentialed animal healthcare professional, trained to perform clinical and laboratory procedures under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Read on to learn about the education requirements, credentialing and career outlook of RVTs to see if this field is right for you. Schools offering Veterinary Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Veterinary Technician Defined
Veterinary technicians assist licensed veterinarians with examinations, laboratory tests, medication administration, surgeries and other animal health treatment procedures. Licensing, registration and certification are nationally and state regulated, so it's important to check with the state in which you plan to work for education and credentialing requirements.
Entry-level positions often call for a minimum of an associate's degree from a veterinary technician program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Accredited veterinary technician training is available through over 190 programs across the U.S., including nine that are available online.
Licensing, Certification and Registration
After you've completed your degree program, you may begin the credentialing process as regulated by your state. Most states determine competency through the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) that's administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). Upon completion of the VTNE, you may follow one or more of these state-determined credentialing procedures for licensure, registration or certification:
- Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) - Registration is a state-regulated process by which you can qualify to become a member of a group of government-recognized animal health practitioners.
- Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) - Licensing is nationally and state regulated and is one way of being credentialed to practice as a veterinary technician.
- Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) - Certification is a voluntary credential determined by state regulations and controlled by private, nonprofit professional organizations or independent boards.
Animal care professions are continuing to grow, and as technologies become more comprehensive and sophisticated, the field of veterinary technology is expected to rapidly expand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the outlook for veterinary technicians is higher than average for all U.S. professions, with a 52% increase in employment opportunities projected between 2010 and 2020.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that along with the traditional clinical and laboratory positions being filled by veterinary technicians, there are a number of new employment areas that are experiencing growth. These include opportunities in sales, teaching, research, food safety inspection, military service and humane society animal care.
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