Veterinary Technician Specialties

Vet holding lizard
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There are 11 veterinary technician specialty areas recognized by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Certification as a veterinary technician specialist usually requires a degree in the field, significant work experience, completion of case logs and case reports, and documented continuing education before a candidate is eligible to sit for the certification exam.

Clinical Pathology Vet Tech

Clinical pathology vet techs conduct laboratory analysis of an animal’s bodily fluids, such as urine or blood, to identify health concerns. Candidates for certification must have at least 4,000 hours (3 years) of experience in the field, a year-long case log, a skills log, five detailed case reports, and two letters of recommendation.

Clinical Practice Vet Tech

Clinical practice vet techs provide care to animals in one of three subspecialty areas: canine/feline, exotic companion animal, or production animal. To be certified as a clinical practice vet tech, a candidate must have at least 10,000 hours (5 years) of experience, 50 case logs, 4 case reports, and 40 hours of documented continuing education.

Emergency & Critical Care Vet Tech

Emergency & critical care vet techs are specially trained to provide intensive emergency care for animals that have suffered a severe trauma.

Technicians in this specialty may be required to work evening, overnight, and weekend shifts since most emergency clinics operate on a 24-hour basis. To be certified as an emergency & critical care vet tech a candidate must have at least 5,760 hours (3 years) of experience, a year-long case log with at least 50 cases, 4 in-depth case reports, and 25 hours of documented continuing education.

Equine Vet Tech

Equine vet techs assist equine veterinarians as they provide both routine and emergency health care for horses. Equine vet techs may work in a large animal hospital or travel from farm to farm with the vet that they assist. The American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians oversees the certification exam.

Internal Medicine Vet Tech

Internal medicine vet techs assist veterinarians working in a variety of subspecialties such as cardiology, neurology, and oncology. To be certified as an internal medicine vet tech a candidate must have at least 6,000 hours (3 years) of experience in the field, a case log with 50 to 75 individual cases, 4 case reports, 40 hours of continuing education, a completed skills checklist, and two professional letters of recommendation.

Veterinary Behavior Tech

Veterinary behavior techs are trained to assist with behavior management and modification. To be certified as a behavior tech a candidate must have at least 4,000 hours (3 years) of experience in the field, either a case log of 50 cases or 1 year of research experience, five detailed case reports, 40 hours of continuing education, a completed skills checklist, and two letters of recommendation.

Veterinary Surgical Tech

Veterinary surgical techs are specially trained to assist veterinarians with surgical procedures and oversee pre-operative and post-operative care. To be certified as a surgical tech a candidate must have at least 6,000 hours (3 years) of experience in the field, with at least 4,500 hours specifically in surgical work.

Vet Tech Anesthetist

Vet tech anesthetists are specially trained to assist veterinary anesthesiologists and surgeons with procedures, including monitoring ventilation and sedation. To be certified as an anesthetist a candidate must have 6,000 hours (3 years) of experience in the field, with at least 4,500 of those hours devoted to anesthesia. They must also document 50 cases during the year of application, 40 hours of continuing education in the last 5 calendar years, four case reports, complete a skills checklist, and provide 2 professional letters of recommendation.

Veterinary Dental Tech

Veterinary dental technicians provide dental care and cleanings for animals under the supervision of a veterinarian. To be certified as a dental tech a candidate must have at least 6,000 hours of experience as a tech with at least half those hours in dentistry. They must also keep case logs, write 5 detailed case reports, and complete 41 hours of continuing education.

Veterinary Nutrition Tech

Veterinary nutrition techs assist with the nutritional management of animals. To be certified as a nutrition tech a candidate must have at least 4,000 hours (3 years) of experience in clinical or research-based animal nutrition, 40 hours of continuing education, skills forms or documented research, a one year case log, five detailed case reports, and 2 letters of recommendation.

Zoo Vet Tech

Zoo vet techs assist zoo veterinarians as they work on exotic animal species. To be certified as a zoo vet tech a candidate must have at least 10,000 hours (5 years) of experience in zoological medicine, 40 case log entries, 40 hours of continuing education, completed skills checklists, 5 case reports, and two professional letters of recommendation.

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