Employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow significantly in the next decade, faster than most other occupations. The best path to becoming a veterinary technician in Louisiana is to attend a school with a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). To find a school with an accredited program, click here.
What Does a Veterinary Technician Do?
A veterinary technician assists in many of the duties and procedures a veterinarian does every day. You might assist in surgery, or perform dental procedures and laboratory tests such as blood counts or urinalysis , administer anesthesia or medications, set catheters, draw blood, or take x-rays. You will also be involved in patient contact and counseling, and record keeping.
Most veterinary technicians work in private practice clinics, but your education will prepare you for employment in private and public research institutions, military service, humane societies and rescue organizations, veterinary teaching hospitals, livestock and equine facilities, diagnostic laboratories, and zoos and exotic animal facilities.
The Application Process for Vet-Techs
The application process varies from school to school in Louisiana. All require that you have a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalency. Most programs require a minimum GPA of 2.0 in high school and preparatory courses, and reported scores on tests such as SAT, ACT, or Compass. Still others require placement tests in English, math or reading. Click here for a list of accredited schools in Louisiana and their admission requirements.
In accordance with state law, schools may require male applicants between the ages of 18 and 25 to submit proof of registration with military selective service.
Proof of current immunization against meningococcal meningitis, tetanus, rabies, and measles, mumps and rubella may be required.
What Will You Study to Become a Louisiana Vet-Tech
Veterinary technologists attend a four-year program and are graduated with a BS in Veterinary Technology. A veterinary technician attends school on average of two to three years (for 57 to 80 credit hours) and earns an Associate’s type of Degree in Veterinary Technology.
Some general education courses in biology, math, chemistry, English, and humanities are required prior to admission. Once in the program, your science-based education will include courses in anatomy and physiology, biology, radiology, anesthesia, large and small animal medicine, pathology, practice management, veterinary economics, exotic animals, surgery, pharmacology, and clinical skills. Some courses have associated labs to provide hands-on experience to complement what you learned in the classroom. The final semester or quarter focuses on an internship in a supervised clinical setting during which you will improve your skills and learn the day to day workings of a veterinary technician. Future job contacts are often made during your internship.
Rough Cost Estimate
Most programs have tuition rates of approximately $120 per credit hour, but additional fees such as insurance, lab costs, and uniforms can boost this cost as much as fifty percent. Out of state tuition is higher. Some schools have on their tuition and financial aid pages a “net price calculator,” a very handy tool to estimate your costs. In a few minutes, after entering your and your parents’ financial information, and your expected living arrangements, a close estimate of your tuition will be provided. Visit each school’s website for exact tuition and fees.
Louisiana Veterinary Technician Financial Aid and Opportunities
The traditional financial aid of grants, loans, scholarships, and veterans benefits for college students across the country is available to Louisiana veterinary technician students. Louisiana has a program called TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students), which offers state scholarships to Louisiana residents.
Nearly all financial aid applications begin with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website, where you can learn what types of aid are available and for which you qualify.
Many military benefits are available as well. Each school’s website has information on these programs. Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to learn more about the types of aid and what might be best for you. These include programs for dependents and family members of a veteran.
The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs has a website and offices in all of the state’s 64 parishes to assist you in obtaining veterans benefits of all kinds, including education.
After You Graduate as a Vet-Tech
You will have an Associate’s degree in Applied Science (AAS) in Veterinary Technology. You will be eligible to take the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) required to become a Louisiana veterinary technician. Only graduates of an accredited program may take the VTNE, which is why it is important that you attend an accredited school. Only people who have passed the VTNE may register for licensure with the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine.
(A veterinary technician must complete 10 hours of continuing education every year.)
Job Prospects and Potential Pay for Louisiana Vet-Techs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2013), employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow 30% nationally through the year 2022. Per May 2013 BLS data, the average pay throughout the state was $25,810. On average, veterinary technologists earn more than technicians, and pay is greater at institutions and research facilities.
Regional average pay (click the radio button for One occupation for multiple geographical areas, then find Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, 292056):
Resources for Your Job Search
After you graduate and pass the VTNE, you will search for a job. Your job search should be ongoing throughout your education. Contacts you will have made during your pre-education employment or volunteering at a clinic, during your on-site clinic visits, and during your internship serve as your initial job search. You can access several very good resources with job postings and means of keeping your current.
Vet Tech Life, an online journal for veterinary technicians
Vetcetera, a listing of national, state and specialty veterinary technician associations