Becoming a Veterinary Technician

Becoming a Veterinary Technician

Written by: Nicole Humphreys MBA, CVT
Clinical Education Coordinator/Professor
Bergen Community College

Veterinary Technicians perform valuable medical and non-medical services in clinical practices worldwide. Through a vast variety of skill sets, empathy and love for animals is usually at the top of the list. Many would say that these are the only two skills that are needed but we as professionals in this industry know that a technician is also composed of a specific articulate demeanor. There is confusion that surrounds the actual role of a veterinary technician but to the practice owners and their staff a veterinary technician is one of the most crucial roles in the clinic.

Veterinary Technicians and technologists are basically what one would call a “nurse” of the animal world. While their love for animals is very strong, they are also very detail oriented which helps with many tasks such as medical record keeping and the use of many different types of medical software. They talk to pet owners and can often be found taking vital signs and assisting the veterinarian in surgery. Many times, these tasks are done every single day! Let’s also not forget the kisses they receive as a thank you from a pet that gets to spend another healthy day with their owner!

Does all that is mentioned above sound really interesting to you? Do you want to become a veterinary technician? Check the information below for an overview about this professional role in the clinic.


An associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology or an Applied Science degree with a concentration in Veterinary Technology will ensure that the student gains a vast education in veterinary technology and practices of becoming a veterinary technician. Associates degree programs are usually about a 24-month time line from start to graduation. There are over 230 AVMA accredited programs throughout the United States. Currently, there are two schools in the state that have these programs on campus:

There are many other programs that also carry this accredited degree and many of them are based online. A quick search online can determine which one fits the needs of each student:

Much of the course work and study involves applying knowledge to many different species. Students will also spend time in a clinical setting working side by side with those who are already in practice through externships which are designed for students to get more hands-on learning outside of the academic clinical setting.

Licensing and Certification

Licensing and Certifications are different in each state. Currently, the state of New Jersey doesn’t require you to become certified in order to practice. Neighboring states however make it a requirement so a student or potential applicant should use this as a guide in regards to job placement and possible future requirements. To become certified in the state of New Jersey, one must sit for what is called the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam). Much like a nursing exam, the VTNE is designed for those who have obtained a college degree from an AVMA accredited program to ensure their knowledge and skill set with a specialized certification from the state. After passing this exam, a technician will also receive a certification number that can be used for all legal documents within their state.

Many states also have a state organization that is a great resource for their professional career. These organizations keep track of their licensing and credentials, hold annual meetings where technicians can learn more about disease processes and important information about their profession as well as continue to educate themselves through seminars, meetings and other resources that help them grow in their career. The NJVTA (New Jersey Veterinary Technicians & Assistants) is an excellent resource for technicians in our state and is completely run by certified or licensed technicians. To learn more about the process of becoming a veterinary technician visit