Can You Take the VTNE Without Going to School? | Broadview University

Can You Take the VTNE Without Going to School?

Students studying for the VTNE exam

Do you have a passion for animals? Interested in becoming a vet tech but don’t think you have the time to go to vet tech school? Did you know that you can graduate from a vet tech school in less than two years? The vet tech program will teach you everything you need to know to take the VTNE exam and start working as a vet tech.

Can You Take the VTNE Without Going to School?

In order to sit for the VTNE exam in Utah, you must first graduate from an accredited school that offers a vet tech program. However, for some that are grandfathered in, they can take the VTNE if they meet special criteria that includes work experience. But if you are just starting out, the best way to prepare for the VTNE exam is to attend a vet tech program. Why? Both employers and certification associations need to know that you are committed to becoming a vet tech and are prepared to take care of animals in a veterinary practice. During a vet tech program, you will learn how to keep yourself and the animals you work with safe.

It is also important for you to complete a vet tech program because many jobs will focus on only a portion of the duties of a vet tech. Whether you work in an animal practice, animal emergency clinic or other animal care facility, you will only get a limited amount of experience on the job. By attending a vet tech school, you get a well-rounded education and have the ability to work in different roles and progress in your career. Maybe you want to work in a specialty area after you work at a traditional animal practice for a while. Having a degree from a vet tech school provides you with different options and career paths as you progress through your career.

What Do You Learn in a Vet Tech Program?

The vet tech program offers important knowledge to prepare you for a vet tech career. During a vet tech program, you learn about animal dentistry, imaging, and surgical assistance. You learn how to treat domestic pets, large animals, horses, farm animals, birds and many other animals that you might encounter in a zoo or animal sanctuary. The curriculum also includes animal anatomy, physiology, hematology, and anesthesiology. Ultimately, the vet tech program prepares you to take the VTNE exam and become a vet tech. What are some of the courses included in the vet tech program?

Veterinary Medical Terminology

It is important to know veterinary terminology when working as a vet tech. You will talk with colleagues and write reports using this industry jargon. You must also be familiar with word meanings based on the prefixes, root words and suffixes. Each procedure, treatment, diagnosis and medical supply will have unique terminology that you must become familiar with so you can give your patients the best possible care.

Office Procedures

As a vet tech, you will spend most of your time within an office setting, whether at a veterinary practice, clinic, emergency animal hospital or other animal care facility. It is important to learn the basics of animal identification, husbandry, grooming, animal behavior and physical examination. You will also need to be familiar with clerical duties including medical record management, word processing and client billing.

Animal Anatomy and Physiology

During the vet tech program, you will learn about the animal’s different body systems and how they relate to different diseases. The VTNE will test you on your knowledge of different body systems, how they work, the diseases that are associated with them and how to manage the health of those animal body systems. You will also learn how the animal body parts work and how cells function.

Veterinary Pharmacology

As a vet tech, you will learn about the development and regulation of animal drugs and vaccines used in the veterinary practice. You will learn about pain management, flea and tick control, or the uses of many other medicines and vaccines to treat and prevent diseases and disorders. You will also review Math skills including arithmetic of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. Math will help with drug dosage and water solubility with pharmacology. The VTNE will quiz you on your abilities to measure out drugs, putting the Math skills you learned during a vet tech program to the test.


Part of what you do as a vet tech, is take radiographic images of animals. Whether it be X-ray, cat scan or other imaging technology, it will be important to understand how to use the equipment, review the results and make sure that no artifacts skew the test results. During this vet tech program, you will also learn about radiation safety and imaging techniques to practice radiography.

Animal Care

During animal care courses you will learn about animal nutrition, medication, preventative care, and health management. Courses will focus on domestic pets like cats and dogs, large animals including horses and farm animals and exotic or pocket pets. You will learn how to take care of many different types and species of animal as you may encounter unique and exotic pets during your vet tech career.

Part of animal care includes learning how to properly restrain an animal during an examination, kennel management and sanitation, and animal nutritional requirements to prevent disease. You will also learn about preventative medicine and advanced nursing care.

The vet tech program will also include a course in Hematology, which is concerned with causes, treatment and prevention of diseases related to blood. In the lab, you will learn lab safety, OSHA regulations, medical asepsis, infection control, zoonotic diseases, specimen collection and microscopy. You will learn how to obtain blood samples from animals, prepare blood smears and analyze the blood samples.

Another course in animal care will focus on parasitology. This course focuses on internal and external parasitic organisms, their life cycles, how to identify them in an animal, and how to prevent these organisms from entering the animal causing disease.

Surgical Assisting

In addition to assisting the veterinarian during exams, you will also assist with minor surgical procedures like spay and neutering, first aid and dentistry. You will be responsible for the management of surgical instruments, preparation of the patient, and patient recovery.

Further, a course in anesthesiology and pain management will allow you to learn drug protocols, and how to use anesthesia equipment to respond to and monitor an anesthetized animal.

Animal Dentistry

As a vet tech, you will learn how to clean an animal’s teeth and gums to keep them healthy. You will use your imaging experience to find issues with the teeth, roots and overall oral cavity health. You will also learn how to manage dental instruments and equipment. This information will help you better educate pet parents on proper dental care in their animal.

VTNE Review

A vet tech program prepares you to take the VTNE exam. You will take practice tests, learn exam taking skills and become familiar with the exam’s questions and sections to build confidence when it is time to take the exam.

Vet Tech Externship

In addition to classroom lectures and lab work, you will go through an externship program. This externship allows you to obtain real world experience in a supervised veterinary setting. You will perform assignments at a clinic and participate in clinical rotations. When it comes time to apply for an entry-level job as a vet tech, you will already have experience on your resume.

Final Thoughts

Ready to take the VTNE and become a vet tech? Learn more about the vet tech program at Broadview University. Attending full-time, you can graduate in as little as two years. Once you graduate and pass the VTNE exam, you will be well on your way to helping animals stay happy and healthy. Become part of the animal care community and start caring for animals, one dog, cat or exotic animal at a time.

With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities 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.