How Do You Become a Certified Vet Tech?

Published on January 17, 2020 by arothstein

Students training with instructor to become a certified vet tech

Becoming a veterinary technician is an excellent option for anyone who loves animals and wants a rewarding career caring for them. Having a passion for animals is as essential as the skills you learn when you enroll in a vet tech program. Before learning how to become a certified vet tech, it is important for you to know what a vet tech does.

What are the Duties of a Vet Tech?

A Certified Vet Tech (CVT) assists a veterinarian and treats animals in animal hospitals, private clinics, and emergency facilities. Vet techs perform many of the same duties and procedures as nurses and lab technicians.

A vet tech does these tasks in their line of work:

The duties of a vet tech depends on their work environment. For example, a vet tech working in a research lab spends most of their time conducting tests. By contrast, a vet tech that works in an animal hospital spends their time assisting the veterinarians in caring for animals.

The Daily Routine of a Vet Tech

The vet tech plays a big role in the overall function of the clinic or animal hospital. In addition to clerical duties, the veterinary technician also conducts the initial assessments, takes the vital signs, and records the pet’s information. If the dog or cat has been injured, the vet tech may provide emergency first aid until the pet can be examined by the veterinarian.

What Traits Do Good Vet Techs Possess?

Working as a vet tech involves a lot more than completing a degree program and passing the VTNE exam. While some personal qualities may develop in your career, some of these traits must come naturally to succeed.

A Love for all Animals

One of the essential traits of a vet tech is a love for animals of all kinds. Everyone loves kittens and puppies, but a career as a vet tech means showing love and compassion for all species of animals. One thing that animals can sense is fear. To be successful as a vet tech means you must gain the trust of all the animals you come in contact with.

A Vet Tech Must Be Compassionate

Even if you’re the kind of person who relates better to animals, a successful vet tech has to work well with pet owners. There will be situations in which a pet is injured or sick, and the owner is worried and stressed. Some owners take their frustration out on others, who may be the vet tech.

In stressful situations, the vet tech is the person who must assist the veterinarian in caring for the pet while offering reassurance to the owner, even when they’re being distraught or feeling anxious about their pet.

Patience is an Important Virtue

Working in a veterinary practice means developing a lot of patience. Pet owners have a lot of questions, and the vet tech will have to offer advice on nutrition, spay/neuter surgery, vaccines, and the most effective training methods for puppies and adult dogs.

As a vet tech, it’s up to you to have answers to the owner’s questions. Not only should the animal trust you, but the pet owner must have confidence in your skills and ability.

Two-Year Programs to be a Certified Vet Tech

The field of veterinary technology continues to expand, and the need for qualified vet techs is expected to continue through 2028. Additionally, the number of jobs available to Certified Vet Techs is expected to increase by more than 19% over the next several years. (According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Before you can think of that, earning your degree in Veterinary Technology can get you started on a career as a Certified Vet Tech. You’ll learn all the skills that are required to provide essential care to help animals to get and also stay healthy.

Coursework for Vet Tech Students

Students in a veterinary technician program learn a variety of practical skills and have experiences. With these skills and training from working hands on with animals, they’ll be able to improve the quality of life for the animals they’ll treat.

Among the courses required to graduate and be a Certified Vet Tech are:

Externships for Students

One of the most rewarding experiences of a vet tech degree program is the externship experience. This opportunity also allows students to get hands-on experience with different species of animals before they graduate. Additionally, the externship and program prepares graduates to take the VTNE to become certified and work as an entry-level vet tech.


After a student earns their degree, they must sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The American Association of Veterinary State Boards developed the exam to assess a graduate’s skills. Upon earning a passing score, a graduate can be certified to work as a vet tech.

Some of the questions are based on the student’s general knowledge. Additional areas cover:

Most of the general knowledge questions in the exam are related to nursing. They may also include questions about animal behavior, procedures, restraints, nutrition and grooming.

Requirements for the VTNE

Candidates taking the VTNE must have successfully completed an accredited vet tech degree program. The passing grade for the VTNE depends on the scoring method that’s used. In addition to the score itself, the test may also consider the requirements of the professional or state organization administering the exam.

Necessary Skills to Succeed as a Vet Tech

To be successful in any profession, soft skills are a necessity. A vet tech degree program provides students with the necessary, technical, or hard skills needed to succeed. However, to be successful, you must have soft skills, or certain qualities and character traits.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills encompass the type of person we are, our beliefs and attitudes, and how we interact with other people. To have a positive attitude and excellent interaction with others, you must also learn to develop soft skills through life and work experience.

For example, a student developing soft skills may be enrolled in a class that requires several projects to be completed within a set time. A student who doesn’t have excellent management skills will struggle to complete their class projects. In contrast, the student who learns to develop time management skills is likely to succeed.

Essential Soft Skills for a Vet Tech

Putting Soft Skills to Use

Active learners apply new knowledge and skills to their job. In addition to this, active listeners also make an effort to listen to what others are saying.

Vet techs must evaluate situations using critical thinking skills and come up with solutions quickly, especially in a hospital or clinic. Strong reading skills are also a necessity to comprehend written instructions.

Professionalism is a “must” at all times. A certified veterinary technician must take responsibility for their actions. It is especially important to be on time for work and show respect for coworkers and pet owners alike–even in stressful situations.

Furthermore, vet techs must be organized. There’s no room for mistakes with patient’s records or critical instructions. Being a team player means helping out co-workers when the practice is overbooked, and everyone gets stressed.

Compassionate Care is the Priority

An essential attribute of a successful vet tech is that they love being around animals. Even more than a love for animals, the vet tech must have empathy for the pets in their care and their owners. They must have the ability to identify with the feelings of the pet, the thoughts of the owner, and always be kind and compassionate.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about becoming a certified bet tech interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

[shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="27427430"]