Vet Tech School in Georgia: Become a Vet Tech
According to Athens Technical College, veterinarian technicians perform many of the same duties for animals that nurses perform. The school lists the following among the outcomes of veterinary technology study: providing basic animal nursing care, participating in client communication and record keeping, collecting specimens and performing basic lab tests, and assisting the vet with diagnostic imaging and medical and surgical procedures.
Georgia’s veterinary technicians are licensed as Registered Veterinary Technicians, or RVTs. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America characterizes the credential as compulsory (https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.navta.net/resource/resmgr/vn_initiative/VeterinaryNursingMap.html). This does not mean that unlicensed individuals do not assist veterinarians with clinical services. Some practices, in fact, utilize quite a few veterinary assistants. However, there is a distinction made between an assistant and a technician. Georgia has identified a scope of practice for each. In many cases, the difference is in the level of supervision required. Some things that a veterinary assistant is allowed to do only under ‘immediate supervision’, an RVT can do under a lesser form of supervision: ‘direct supervision’.
Top Vet Tech Schools in Georgia
Fort Valley State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology through its Veterinary Science and Public Health Academic Department. Fort Valley has stated that its students develop a high level of proficiency in equipment, devices, and computer technology as they relate to animal care. There are multiple career possibilities from animal nursing or surgical technology to zoology. Veterinary technology students sometimes choose to continue on to graduate school to study veterinary medicine.
Gwinnett Technical College offers an Associate of Applied Science program that can be completed over the course of five semesters. The school has a very high VTNE pass rate.
Athens Technical College also boasts an accredited AAS degree program with an examination pass rate well above the average.
Becoming a Georgia Vet Tech
Veterinary technicians qualify for licensure through education, examination, and demonstration of acceptable legal and professional history. They enroll in educational programs that have been approved by the American Veterinarian Association and later take the Veterinary Technician National Examination, which is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.
Georgia requires a criminal background check and verification of any licenses, past or present, held in other jurisdictions.
Georgia RVTs have a continuing education requirement. Licenses are renewed every other year.
Veterinary technician preparation is most often offered through associate’s degree programs, but is sometimes bachelor’s level. Georgia has one bachelor’s degree program. The timeline at the associate’s level is variable. It is typical to have some prerequisite course requirements.
Georgia Veterinary Technician Employment
Gwinnett Technical College has provided basic information about the veterinary technology profession in a fact sheet, which draws from information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most common job is working under supervision in a private veterinary practice. The most common patients are small animals like dogs and cats. However, some vet techs work in practices that treat large animals. Some work in other settings such as research facilities.
The following are among the Georgia veterinary practices that utilize vet techs:
Northeast Veterinary Hospital in Cornelia is a 7-day-a-week, full-service AAHA-accredited facility that spreads its reach across multiple counties. The hospital is high-tech and has the capacity to handle complex cases.
Case Veterinary in Savannah, also AAHA-accredited, is a six-day a week daytime clinic that offers complementary therapies (acupuncture, laser therapy) as well as a range of medical, surgical, and wellness services.
Hahira Veterinary Clinic is a full-service facility that does everything from providing wellness examinations and microchipping pets to delivering emergency and critical care treatment. It is among the practices that offers hospice services for pets at end of life.
Georgia Equine Veterinary Hospital and Services is a small practice located on a farm in Canton.
Faulkville Animal Hospital in Bloomingdale cares for large and small animals.
Savannah Veterinary Internal Medicine & Intensive Care provides 24-hour emergency care for small animals. Four RVTs provide support to a team of three veterinarians. Savannah Veterinary takes referrals and emergency transfers and is listed by some other vets as the place to go in case of true after-hours emergency.
Royston Animal Hospital lists fully ten veterinarians, along with a team with varied credentials and titles. This is another practice that sees a wide variety of animals: dogs, cats, horses, and ruminants, large and small. The website in 2019 includes an invitation to like-minded professionals to inquire about employment opportunities.
One can also find veterinarian technicians in locations like the Humane Society spay/ neuter clinic.
Some vet techs have specialized roles. One recent job posting with a particularly high estimated salary range was for a veterinary referral practice. The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia also utilizes experienced veterinary technicians in specialized roles; one 2019 posting was for anesthesia, another for emergency and critical care. At Trickum Ridge Animal Hospital, meanwhile, an RVT acts as lab manager.
The median full-time salary for a Georgia vet tech was $31,420 in 2018; this was based on an hourly rate of $15.11. The mid-range was $25,870 to$36,980.
Georgia’s veterinary technician occupation has been projected to see 23.2% growth across the 2016 to 2026 decade; this is a little above the national average.
Student and Professional Resources
Licensing is handled by the Georgia State Board of Veterinary Medicine. The Board has provided a video outlining the licensing process (https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/53). Application materials and frequently asked questions can also be accessed from the website.
The Georgia Veterinary Technician and Assistant Association is an additional resource (https://www.gvtaa.org/). Helping veterinary technicians access continuing education is a part of the organization’s mission. Members receive newsletters as well as updates about regulatory issues. Students enrolled at accredited veterinary technician programs can receive discounted membership.
The Georgia Veterinary Medical Association is a source of general information (https://www.gvma.net/current-rules-regulations/).