Registered Vet Tech

Veterinary technicians are comparable to nurses in the medical field. Trained in all aspects of delivering care to patients, highly trained technicians are invaluable to veterinary practices and hospitals like ours. Technicians attend two or four-year accredited programs. The degree a technician obtains include RVT, Registered Veterinary Technicians, CVT, Certified Veterinary Technicians, and LVT or Licensed Veterinary Technician.


Responsibilities of a technician may include physical evaluations, obtaining patient histories and information, assisting doctors in procedures, collecting samples (blood, urine, skin, etc.), and performing laboratory procedures. They also provide nursing care such as wound treatments, bandaging, physical therapy, placing IV catheters, installing stomach tubes and critical care on newborn animals. Technicians will also assist in surgeries including anesthesia induction, maintenance and monitoring throughout the procedure and recovery. Other skills veterinary technicians may develop include radiography, dental procedures, and the care of surgical equipment and instruments. The list of technician's responsibilities varies widely depending on the type of practice and below is a list of some areas of opportunities for trained technicians.

Career opportunities include:

  • General Practice
  • Specialty Practice
  • Biomedical Research
  • Diagnostic Laboratory Positions
  • College or Veterinary Schools
  • Veterinary Supply Company or Sales
  • Zoo Practice
  • Humane Societies
  • Nutrition or Feed Companies
  • Military Positions

Education: For a career in veterinary medicine and veterinary technology you should focus on math, general sciences and biology. Experience: This is usually required for entry into a veterinary technician program. Experience can be obtained by volunteering or working at a local veterinary hospital, grooming or boarding facility, or stable. The St. Louis Zoo and Humane Society also offer classes that provide students with opportunities to volunteer and gain experience. A veterinary technician is a graduate of an AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) approved technology program. This is most commonly a two year (Associate in Applied Sciences) degree. There are 108 such programs in the United States. There are three colleges in Missouri that offer these programs: Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City and Sandford Brown College in St. Peters. In Illinois programs are offered at Parkland College in Champaign and Joliet Junior College in Joliet.

An externship is required between the first and second year. After completion of the veterinary technology program the student takes the national board exam and additional state testing as required by each individual state. Upon successful completion of this exam a veterinary technician license is awarded. Technicians are referred to as licensed, registered or certified, depending on the nomenclature of each specific state. Yearly continuing education (going to a state or national meeting on veterinary medicine) is required by most states to maintain licensing. A veterinary assistant assists the technician or veterinarian. The AVMA does not accredit veterinary assistant programs and these graduates are not eligible to take the national board exam or for licensing as a technician.

It is also possible for technicians to focus on areas of specialization. Currently there are specialty groups offering additional certification: emergency and critical care, anesthesia, dental, behavior and equine medicine.

The job market is very good for veterinary technicians. Opportunities are available locally and in many areas of the country. As medical technology advances into the veterinary field, so do the opportunities for technicians.

If you have any questions regarding become a RVT please send them to

Resources available:

Jefferson College
Veterinary Technology Program
100 Viking Drive
Hillsboro, MO 63050
2yr A.A.S. program fully accredited

Sanford-Brown College, St. Peters
100 Richmond Center Blvd
St. Peters, MO 63376

Maple Woods Community College
Veterinary Technology Program
2601 NE Barry Road
Kansas City, MO 64156
2yr A.A.S. program fully accredited

Sanford-Brown College, Fenton
1345 Smizer Mill Road
Fenton, MO 63028

Hickey College
2780 North Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63114
314.434.2212 or 800.777.1544
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