Steps to Become a Veterinary Technician in Rhode Island

Rhode Island, the Ocean State, may be the smallest state with a population of rhode-island1,051,511 (year 2010) but it’s residents have a huge love for animals. As a Veterinary Technician in Rhode Island you may work with cats, dogs, ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs to farm animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, llamas to ranch animals including horses and cattle to wildlife and exotic animals. Rhode Island takes great pride in caring for its animals according to the highest national standards.


Employment Prospects for Vet-Techs in Rhode Island

According to , employment opportunities for veterinary technician in Rhode Island will see a rate of growth of up to 33%, while the rest of the nation can expect an approximately growth of 36% projected through 2016.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013 states that the job growth for Veterinary Technicians will grow 52% by the year 2020 meaning thousands of new jobs for trained Veterinary Technicians in Rhode Island.

Employment opportunities will also increase as more veterinarians hire trained Veterinary Technicians as they replace lower skilled veterinary assistants.

Veterinary Technicians can find employment in a variety of capacities such as medical specialty clinics, rescue shelters, exotic animal rescue and rehabilitation facilities, teaching colleges, research laboratories, non-profit organizations, the military and government as well as zoos, universities, large and small animal hospitals, specialized veterinary practices, pharmaceutical and biological research laboratories, feed companies and animal shelters.

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Veterinary Technician Salaries in Rhode Island

Salaries for Veterinary Technicians in Rhode Island can range from $17,000 to $47,000 per year depending on your education, background experience practice and specialty medicine. The average salary for a Veterinary Technician in Rhode Island is $27,000 per year, according to

(For example, a Veterinary Research Health Technician in Rhode island can make $38,000 per year)

What Veterinary Technicians Do in Rhode Island

 Unlike Veterinary Assistants, Veterinary Technicians are specifically trained to perform medical tasks with animals under the supervision of a licensed Veterinarian.

As a Licensed Veterinary Technician your tasks may also include:

  • recording a canine’s, or another animal patient’s, medical history;
  • assisting with surgeries and other medical procedures;
  • collecting blood, urine or stool samples;
  • developing radiographs;
  • preparing animals and equipment for surgery;
  • Processing laboratory tests.
  • Some veterinary technicians also serve as office managers for animal hospitals.
  • providing treatment for routine problems
  • assisting the veterinarian with physical exams
  • developing x-rays and radiographs
  • performing anesthesia
  • administration of medications
  • recording temperature, pulse and respiration
  • dressing wounds
  • operating electrocardiographic equipment
  • sterilizing laboratory and surgical equipment
  • vaccinating animals
  • euthanizations when necessary
  • providing routine postoperative care
  • recording case histories
  • caring for companion animals
  • preparing samples for laboratory examinations
  • applying splints and other protective devices
  • performing urinalysis and blood tests
  • conducting research
  • weighing animals
  • performing intravenous feedings
  • assisting veterinarians in surgery
  • maintaining treatment records
  • maintaining inventory of pharmaceuticals, equipment and supplies

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Certification of Veterinary Technicians in Rhode Island

In order to become certified Veterinary Technician in Rhode Island, you must take the Veterinary Technical National Examination (VTNE). This exam evaluates your practical and academic skills and is routinely updated to conform to the modern state of veterinary medicine. In order to pass the test, the candidate must obtain a score of 425 or higher.

After passing the VTNE, you must submit an application to the Rhode Island Veterinary Technician Association (RIVTA). You must also provide a letter of recommendation to the RIVTA and an application fee. Certification must be renewed annually, with proof that you have completed at least 12 continuing education units at a program that has been approved by the RIVTA.

The VTNE exam is given three times a year with a $300 exam fee. It is three hours long and has 150 questions.

Accredited Rhode Island Veterinary Technician Program

There is one Veterinary Technician School in Rhode Island accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Coursework can include handling, care and nursing of a variety of animals including cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs. You may also work with dairy cattle, horses, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, turkeys, rodents, reptiles, and birds. Depending on your career goals you may also care for lab animals including mice, rats and guinea pigs or zoo, exhibition and exotic animals such as eagles, lizards, snakes, owls, vultures, eagles, hawks and all sorts of wildlife.

Although Rhode Island does not require you to be certified to work in the state, students of the 2-year Veterinary Technician program will gain practical skills in veterinary technology classes, radiology and surgery, as well as areas such as patient reception and client education. Students can apply this knowledge and get jobs at places like; zoos, universities, nonprofit and government agencies, large and small animal hospitals, specialized veterinary practices, pharmaceutical and biological research laboratories, feed companies and animal shelters.

The Vet Tech can also specialize in:

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Pathology
  • Equine Medicine
  • Dental Technician
  • Emergency and Critical Care nursing
  • Anesthetist
  • Internal Medicine
  • Behavior Modification
  • Zoological and Exotic Animal Medicine

Some graduates pursue additional education, whether a four-year veterinary technology degree, or a degree in a related area such as animal science.

(For List of Accredited Rhode Island Veterinary Technology Programs click here.)

Rhode Island Vet-Tech Career Opportunities

The Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CACVT) has an active job posting page as does the Rhode Island Veterinary Technician Association

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), an organization that represents and promotes the profession of veterinary technician, also have career and job resources on their website’s Career Center page.

 Potential Employers in Rhode Island for Veterinary Technicians

For more information please refer to these resources: