certified vet tech Archives | Broadview University

How Do You Become a Certified Vet Tech?

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:
  • Tests blood, stool, and urine samples
  • Administers anesthesia
  • Preps animals for surgery
  • Administers medications and vaccines
  • Monitors vital signs in surgery
  • Restrains animals during examinations
  • Performs dental cleanings and procedures

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:
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Management
  • Advanced Clinical Laboratory
  • Imaging
  • Large Animal
  • Small Animal Disease, Nursing, and Emergency Care
  • Veterinary Medical Terminology
  • Surgical Assisting
  • VTNE review courses and mock exams

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:
  • Anesthesia
  • Animal Dentistry
  • Imaging
  • Laboratory Procedures
  • Surgery
  • Pharmacology

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

  • Active Learning
  • Active Listening
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
  • Excellent Reading Comprehension
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Organizational Skills
  • Professionalism
  • Team Player
  • Time Management
  • Written and Verbal Communication

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.

How to Become a Certified Vet Tech

Certified vet tech holds dog

Do you have dreams of becoming a certified vet tech? One way animal lovers can pursue their goal of caring for animals as their career is to take classes through an accredited Veterinary Technician program like at Broadview University. Here, you’ll earn your degree to work as a vet tech. The duties and services a vet tech provides are:

  • Examines animals
  • Administers emergency first aid
  • Collects samples
  • Performs diagnostic tests

Vet techs have to be available to care for animals that are recovering from surgical procedures, are critically sick, or have severe injuries. Vet techs must also be able to manage hectic work schedules on top of their personal lives.

What’s Involved in a Vet Tech Program?

A future vet tech must complete an accredited program and earn an Associate’s degree. After this, the vet tech in training works under the supervision of an attending veterinarian.

Some common lessons in veterinary technology programs are:

  • Animal Anatomy
  • Animal Restraint
  • Exam Room Procedures
  • Lab Procedures
  • Office Etiquette and Hospital Procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Radiology
  • Small Animal Nursing
  • Surgical Nursing and Assisting

Vocational and Technical Schools with Vet Tech Programs

First of all, no matter where you go most tech programs at vocational and technical schools are career-ready. For example, a vocational school offers a variety of programs that are popular with professionals. Vocational schools design their programs to make it easier for students to earn their degree while they work.

A lot of vet tech schools offer different training programs and career paths for students. Some schools provide continuing education and career development courses.

Where Do Certified Vet Techs Work?

Certified vet techs most commonly work in private veterinary practices. Every veterinarian around the country needs assistance from qualified vet techs, so there are always excellent job opportunities available.

Emergency Veterinary Clinics

Emergency veterinary clinics also need certified veterinary technicians. As a result, certified vet techs must be willing to put in long hours and can handle more extreme cases. Because of the clinic’s hours, you may be called in to assist with emergency cases 24 hours a day.

Animal Shelters

Shelters always need certified vet techs to care for incoming animals and to conduct periodic examinations to ensure that the animals are well cared for. Animal shelters are also a great place to volunteer while you are in school to become a certified vet tech.

Zoos and Animal Sanctuaries

One of the most competitive settings in which a vet tech can work is a zoo. Zoo vet techs assist veterinarians with routine examinations and emergency care for animals housed in zoos. Additionally, research labs also hire vet techs to ensure that the animals in the labs are being cared for humanely.

The Work Environment of a Certified Vet Tech

The working environment for a vet tech is very similar to what you find in a doctor’s practice. The front desk staff greets clients and their pets when they arrive. The waiting areas are clean and spacious enough to give each pet and its owner some space, which keeps animals separated and helps to calm them.

The vet tech is also responsible for maintaining examination rooms, surgical suites, and kennel areas. The veterinary technician keeps the examining rooms clean and disinfects them between patient exams. Veterinary technicians must also keep all the surgical tools and equipment clean and germ-free.

Following surgeries, a certified vet tech collects all the surgical instruments that disinfects them. Afterwards, vet tech prepares the surgery for the next patient scheduled for a procedure.

How a Certified Vet Tech Communicates with Others

Interpersonal communication skills are vital in a veterinary practice. The vet tech must have excellent communication skills to talk to veterinarians, colleagues, and pet owners. Furthermore, it is important to have excellent communication between veterinarians, technicians, and staff to create a great client experience.

Communicating with Veterinarians

A tension-free working environment helps the veterinary practice run more smoothly and aids in providing the highest quality of care for patients.

The veterinarian’s instructions must be followed by the staff caring for animals at their practice. Because of this, the vet tech must understand all instructions regarding medications and care for the animals. It’s the responsibility of the vet tech to repeat back instructions if they aren’t clear.

Communication with Colleagues

Additionally, working in a veterinary practice means you’ll have to get along with people of varying personalities. Everyone won’t always agree about work-related issues. Still, it’s essential for the veterinarians in charge of the practice to see that they have a team that can work well together under the most stressful situations.

Be a Team Player

Excellent team players are sensitive to the needs and limitations of their co-workers. When someone is having a stressful day, pitching in and helping where needed can result in a positive outcome.

Show Appreciation for Your Team

Showing interest in the work of other team members lets them know they’re appreciated. It’s essential to handle constructive criticism gracefully and be open to accepting new ideas.

Be Open to Growth

It’s not easy for anyone to admit to mistakes, but there’s no room for error when caring for animals. Being honest with oneself about any limitations will help everyone and can prevent a stressful occurrence.

How a Certified Vet Tech Communicates with Pet Owners

For most people, pets are family and deserve the same consideration as humans in their families. For that reason, pet parents have a strong emotional attachment to their pets. This is also why it is important for a vet tech to communicate effectively with them.

The components to effectively communicating with pet parents include engaging the pet owner in the care of their cat or dog. For example, the vet tech should get them to divulge as many details as possible that may help in their pet’s care.

Encouraging Owners to Ask the Right Questions

The vet tech also encourages the owner to ask questions and provide the details they need to make informed decisions about their pet’s care. Through this, the vet tech picks up on the type of person the pet owner is. For example, some pet owners are detail-oriented and want to know about as many options as possible. By contrast, some pet parents want to know how to get the best results for their pet and want practical and brief explanations about treatment options, food choices, training, or grooming.

How a Certified Vet Tech Informs Pet Owners

Some pet owners understand information more easily when visual aids are involved, while others prefer detailed information that they can discuss with the vet tech. Some pet parents get angry or confrontational when their pet is ill or injured. Because of this, the vet tech must always be professional and informed of the pet owner’s feelings. Effective forms of communication make these scenarios easier for everyone, especially the pet.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how to become a certified vet 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.