Vet Tech School in Ohio: Becoming a Vet Tech
Ohio veterinary technicians carry out a wide variety of tasks under veterinary supervision: assisting with surgery, suturing incisions, monitoring anesthesia, collecting specimens, performing dental prophylaxis and even simple tooth extractions.
Ohio licenses its veterinary technicians. Though the word Registered appears in the title — Registered Veterinary Technician — the credential is mandatory for working in a veterinary technician capacity. There is no alternative pathway here. Individuals entering the field must enroll in accredited programs and achieve passing scores on a national examination. It’s still a relatively quick career path; most programs are associate’s level. Once credentialed, an RVT can compete for a wide variety of positions in settings ranging from small mixed animals practices to regional facilities and teaching hospitals.
Ohio is one of the key states in the Veterinary Nurse Initiative. It is recognized as having standards at the target level. The word ‘technician’ appears in the job title, but many would like to see it changed to ‘nurse’.
A poster on the Ohio Veterinary Technician’s website states “I am a veterinary technician” and goes on to self-identify as a nurse, a dental hygienist, a surgical assistant, a chew toy, and a face to lick (https://www.ohiorvt.org/).
Becoming an Ohio Registered Veterinary Technician
A person can begin the journey by enrolling in an AVMA-accredited veterinary technology program. Most programs are relatively short: the equivalent of two academic years. The Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board refers prospective RVTs to the AVMA website for information about accredited programs (https://www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Education/Accreditation/Programs/Pages/vettech-programs-all-programs-list.aspx).
Licensure is dependent on achieving passing scores on the Veterinary Technician National Examination. This is a computer-delivered exam, administered during three nonconsecutive months each year. Ohio candidates submit documentation of eligibility directly to the AASVB. Candidates can opt to have scores sent straight to the Ohio Board. They can find information about registration deadlines and testing windows on the AASVB website.
The prospective RVT will need to have state and criminal background checks. Instructions are available on the Board website (http://www.ovmlb.ohio.gov/vettech.stm).
Technician vs Assistant
In Ohio, there’s big difference between what a person can do as a registered technician and what they can do as an assistant. The state codifies the distinction between aide and technician. A number of aide or assistant duties are noted; among them are performing radiographic procedures and carrying out basic surgery prep (with some exclusions). Most aide tasks are noted as requiring either technician or veterinary supervision; this places the qualified RVT very squarely in the role of supervisor.
The list of RVT technical tasks is also much longer. Supervision requirements vary by task. Information was provided by the American Veterinary Association in 2019 and is subject to change.
Featured Vet Tech Employers
• Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center in Columbus is a teaching hospital that makes a wide variety of specialized services available to clients who are referred from other vets.
• Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital is a centralized hospital in Akron. Also considered a teaching hospital, Metropolitan is able to offer advanced services that people may not be able to get from their local veterinarian.
• Cats Only Veterinary Clinic in Columbus, a feline practice, tells the public they speak meow. They have a number of RVTs on board – also a feline who goes by Dr and reportedly consults on behavior cases.
• Napoleon Veterinary Clinic sees dogs, cats, and lots of little critters like teacup and potbellied pigs. The clinic employs some RVTs with third party specialty credentials (Veterinary Technician Specialist, Veterinary Dental Technician).
• West Park Animal Hospital in Cleveland is AAHA-accredited. It’s a large facility with a rehabilitation center, isolation ward, and surgical suite. One technician has the role of ‘Head RVT’.
Additional Ohio Employers
• Green Meadow Veterinary Hospital in Marietta
• Wellington Veterinary Clinic
• Harrison Animal Hospital
• Maple Run Veterinary Clinic in Mt Gilead
• Suburban Veterinary Clinic in Maple Heights
• Northridge Animal Clinic in Dayton
Ohio Vet Tech Salary and Career Outlook
The average Ohio vet tech salary was $33,170 in 2018. The vast majority had full-time salaries between $22,780 and $43,690 though 10% fell on either end.
Vet techs in the Columbus area had a higher average $$36,410, but here the range was very great with a 10th percentile salary of 25,120 and a 90th percentile salary of $61,510. Between the 75th and 90th percentile, there was a jump of more than $22,000.
Top Vet Tech Schools in Ohio
UC Blue Ash College in Cincinnati offers a 71-semester hour Associate of Applied Science program. The school has stated that 100% of their graduates are placed; this information is as of 2019. The program includes a preceptorship and multiple technical practicums. Students can opt to continue on for a Bachelor’s in Technical and Applied Studies; this degree is not discipline specific but can enhance leadership skills.
Columbus State Community College achieved AVMA accreditation in 1974. This places it among among the oldest accredited programs in the nation. There are many possibilities for clinical placement; the school boasts 160 clinic partner sites. Under current policy, students complete a total of 448 hours of practicum; this includes mini-rotations.
Cuyahoga Community College boasts an 85% 2015 – 2018 VTNE pass rate. Students move from practicum and seminar to extended fieldwork; the final term includes two internships.
Student and Professional Resources
Ohio veterinary technicians are under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board. Questions can be addressed to ‘info at ovmlb.state.oh.us’.
The Ohio Association of Veterinary Technicians is an active state professional association (https://www.ohiorvt.org). It is divided into nine districts, each with a representative.