Veterinary technology requires theoretical knowledge, hands-on skills, and an empathetic, compassionate heart. Those who have mastered all three can begin a successful career in the field and enjoy perks such as great demand, impressive salary, and the joy of saving lives.
Veterinary technicians in Florida can work in several institutions, such as animal clinics, wildlife sanctuaries, and research facilities. Regardless of where your work environment happens to be, the journey to becoming a veterinary technician always begins with the right education.
Below we provide an in-depth guide concerning everything you need to know about obtaining this education.
We also provide other essential information on certification and licensing requirements, potential salary, and job outlook.
Steps To Become a Veterinary Technician in Florida
The process for becoming a veterinary technician in Florida can be divided into four overarching steps:
- Possess a high school diploma or GED,
- Enroll in an accredited training program,
- Obtain real-world experience,
- Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination.
Possess a High School Diploma or a GED Equivalent
A high school diploma prepares students for the basic topics such as biology in mathematics and reading that will be built upon in the actual vet tech training program. For this reason, postsecondary institutions and state certification bodies often ask that students possess these credentials before they’re allowed to enroll in a program and get certified.
Enroll in an Accredited Vet Tech Training Program
Accreditation is the most important thing to look out for in a veterinary technician training program. Nationwide, the most recognized and respected accreditation body is the CVTEA or the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities.
The CVTEA is an American Veterinary Medical Association arm that approves vet tech programs.
Luckily, there is plenty of CVTEA-accredited programs in Florida.
Obtain Experience in a Clinical Environment
Veterinary Technology programs often focus on classroom topics, which are great for teaching students the underlying principles of the job. But once this stage is complete, students must also put their theoretical knowledge to use in a real-world clinical setting.
This is achieved through an externship program. It is not uncommon for schools to already make provisions for such programs in their curriculum.
Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination
Lastly, once an individual graduates from a veterinary technician program, the next step is to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination. This step is mandatory for all veterinary technicians everywhere in the country.
They can obtain a state license and begin the employment-seeking process after this stage is complete.
Related: As you explore the path to becoming a veterinary technician, why not consider the rewarding role of a veterinary assistant? Discover the steps, requirements, and abundant opportunities to become a veterinary assistant in Florida.
Florida State Licensure/Certification Requirements
Aspiring veterinary technicians in Florida are encouraged to seek certification from the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA) or the Florida Veterinary Technical Association (FVTA). The state mandates neither of these certifications.
However, professionals often apply for them because it allows them leverage to negotiate a higher salary and also opens up more employment opportunities.
To apply, interested candidates must submit a completed application form and a $75 fee. These certifications require renewal every two years through 15 hours of continuing education credits.
Top Veterinary Technician Schools in Florida
There are eight accredited veterinary technician programs in Florida. Below are some of the most notable.
1. City College
City College offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology on two campuses at Gainesville and Hollywood. Key topics include surgery for veterinary nurses, dentistry, animal nutrition, and laboratory skills.
To graduate, students must complete more than 1000 hours of lecture and 300 hours of externship at approved veterinary clinics.
2. Eastern Florida State College
The Eastern Florida State College, formerly Brevard Community College, offers an outstanding associate of applied science program in veterinary nursing. This program, consisting of 73 credits, can be completed in at least two years and is available part-time and full-time. The program covers many topics, including extensive animal nursing, minor animal diseases, and pharmacology.
4. Other Notable Mentions
Other notable mentions include:
- Florida A&M University,
- Hillsborough Community College,
- Miami-Dade College,
- Pensacola State College, and
- St. Petersburg College.
Related: Consider a career as a dog obedience trainer - many programs and certifications are available to help you succeed. It’s a great option to pursue in addition to becoming a veterinary technician.
Veterinary Technician Salary and Job Outlook in Florida
Veterinary technicians in Florida earn an annual average salary of $35,840. Entry-level workers just starting often make below this figure, at around $28,340, while the highest earners take home as high as $46,540 per year.
Sorting by location, vet techs in Sebring earn an annual average salary of $31,630, while those in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area earn an average yearly salary of $38,050.
There are currently around 8,580 veterinary technicians in Florida. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for vet tech nationwide is set to increase by 16% before 2029.