A career as a veterinary technician can be both rewarding and challenging at the same time. Like any other career, veterinary technicians must undergo a great deal of training to perform their jobs at a very high level.
While there are a few distinctions between becoming a veterinary technician in Alabama compared to other states, the underlying, most crucial step remains the same - to enroll in a top-quality veterinary technician program and graduate successfully.
The following sections contain everything you need to know to do this smoothly and straightforwardly. We also include other key information such as potential salary, job outlook, certification, and licensing requirements for veterinary technicians in Alabama, among others.
Steps To Become a Veterinary Technician in Alabama
Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma or GED
The first step to becoming a veterinary technician in Alabama is to earn a high school diploma or GED. While the credential itself is important, its use is usually to secure admission into an accredited veterinary technician training program.
Most of these programs insist on candidates having either of these credentials because it shows a strong foundation in key areas that will prove invaluable once postsecondary training begins.
Step 2: Enroll in an Accredited Program
There are several accredited training programs in Alabama for veterinary technicians. Usually, students should seek admission only into programs accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s primary accreditation body for veterinary technician programs.
Those who receive education from a non-CVTEA accredited program may apply to the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (ASBVME) to have their education recognized.
Step 3: Complete an Externship and Work Experience Requirement
On-the-job training is crucial for veterinary technicians. For one, it provides the hands-on experience they need to finally put everything they have learned in classrooms to actual use.
Additionally, it is often a requirement for certification and licensing. For this reason, most aspiring vet techs enroll for externships after training.
To make this process easier, some schools already have partnerships with clinics and institutions where such hands-on experience can be acquired.
Step 4: Pass the VTNE
States have different certification and licensing requirements, but passing the VTNE is a common step for all vet techs.
The VTNE (short for the Veterinary Technician National Examination) is available for all new vet tech graduates three times a year. While passing the VTNE is enough in most states to start practicing, there are a few extra steps to get to this point in Alabama.
Related: If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the veterinary field but not yet ready for a full-fledged veterinary technician role, becoming a veterinary assistant in Alabama can be an excellent starting point. As a vet assistant, you’ll work closely with veterinarians and technicians to provide essential care to animals.
Alabama State Licensure and Certification Requirements
The Alabama Veterinary Practice Act mandates licensure for all practicing vet techs. Employers who hire non-licensed technicians would be found guilty of a misdemeanor.
To get licensed, vet techs in Alabama must have a high school diploma, graduate from an accredited program, pass the VTNE with a score of at least 70%, and apply for licensure with the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Examiners.
Candidates must submit two photos and documentation of citizenship and pay a $100 fee.
Top Veterinary Technician Schools in Alabama
1. Jefferson State Community College
Jefferson State Community College students may earn an associate of applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology. Classes include key topics such as diagnostic imaging, anesthesia, animal disease and immunology, and clinical procedures.
2. Coastal Alabama College
Coastal Alabama College allows students to pursue a career in veterinary technology through a hybrid arrangement where students complete classes online while attending practical sessions in the school environment.
Topics such as anatomy & physiology of mammals, diagnostic imaging, toxicology, clinical procedures, and animal pharmacology, among others, are emphasized in the program duration.
3. Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College students enjoy a flexible vet tech program that can be completed in three years thanks to its part-time structure. The program is web-based but does include a visit to the campus at least two times a semester.
Classes include mathematics for allied health, animal dentistry, clinical pathology, and animal pharmacology.
4. St. Petersburg College
Another notable option for aspiring vet techs in Alabama, St. Petersburg College also offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology, emphasizing surgical preparation, laboratory testing, radiology, and dentistry.
Related: Learn about the differences between a Veterinary Assistant and a Veterinary Technician if you want a rewarding career in the veterinary industry and have a passion for animals.
Alabama Veterinary Technician Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are around 1,060 veterinary technicians in Alabama, earning an annual average salary of $30,980. This figure is slightly lower than the national average of $37,860.
The Bureau also projects that the demand for veterinary technicians nationwide is set to increase by a 16% margin between 2019 and 2029. This will see an addition of about 18,300 new jobs in the field.