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How Do I Get Veterinary Technician Certification?

A vet tech helping a vet treat a dog.
A veterinary technician.
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  • Written By: Emma Lloyd
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 26 July 2014
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Veterinary technician certification is a qualification offered in the United Kingdom, several European countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand as well as in the United States. These countries are members of the International Veterinary Nurses and Technicians Association, a professional organization founded in 1993. If you want to get veterinary technician certification, you will need to study for two to four years to learn skills that will allow you to aid a veterinarian in caring for animals. After you are qualified, you might be known as a veterinary technician, veterinary nurse or veterinary assistant.

When you study for veterinary technician certification, you will learn a wide range of skills and techniques that will allow you to care for animal patients and assist a veterinarian or animal surgeon. Skills and concepts that you might learn include specialized nursing care for animals, surgery preparation for animals and equipment, diagnostic and medical procedures, specimen collection and laboratory analysis as well as radiography. In addition, you will learn about working with pet owners to obtain pet medical histories and to provide advice and education about pet care.

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The types of training and examinations offered at various veterinary technician certification schools is not the same in all countries, and it might even differ in schools in the same country. The curriculum at most schools is, however, fairly similar, covering certain core skills and concepts. Veterinary technician training includes both theoretical and practical veterinary technician classes and exams. You must pass both theoretical and practical exams to gain the qualification.

To become a veterinary technician requires the successful completion of a course of study that is at least two years in duration. Two-, three- and four-year courses can be completed, with courses of longer duration providing more extensive training and enabling graduates to be more competitive in the job market. In addition, if you complete courses of longer duration, you will have the opportunity to specialize in an area such as emergency animal medicine, anesthesiology, zoological medicine, equine medicine or clinical practice.

In some countries, you can gain veterinary technician certification by studying online. Theory and core concepts are learned in a virtual classroom or via the use of conventional study materials. If you study online, you cannot learn practical skills in this way, so this part of the course is replaced with hands-on training from a licensed veterinarian. This type of training is a core component of many traditional courses in addition to distance learning and online studying. In the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and many other countries, hands-on training from a licensed vet is an essential part of gaining veterinary tech certification.

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