Registered Vet Tech

two vets checking on dog

The Registered Veterinary Technicians Job Skills Certificate at Bakersfield College is a comprehensive program designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career as a registered veterinary technician (RVT).

The program covers a broad range of topics, including animal anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, surgical nursing, diagnostic imaging, and laboratory procedures. The coursework is taught by experienced faculty members dedicated to providing students with hands-on training in a real-world setting. Graduates of the program are prepared to take the California Veterinary Medical Board RVT Licensing Exam and become licensed RVTs, working alongside veterinarians in a variety of animal care settings, including veterinary hospitals, research facilities, and animal shelters.

What is Registered Veterinary Technician?

vet swabbing cows nose

A registered veterinary technician (RVT) is a trained and licensed professional who works alongside veterinarians to provide medical care to animals. RVTs typically perform a variety of duties, including administering medications, assisting with surgeries, collecting and analyzing lab samples, monitoring anesthesia, providing basic nursing care, and educating pet owners on proper animal care. To become an RVT, individuals must complete a formal education program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and pass the California Veterinary Medical Board (CVMB). RVTs are an integral part of the veterinary healthcare team and play a crucial role in ensuring the health and well-being of animals.

Is Registered Veterinary Technician right for me?

Individuals who are passionate about working with animals and have a strong desire to provide medical care to them would be well-suited for studying and becoming an RVT. It is important for RVTs to have excellent communication skills as they often work closely with pet owners, veterinarians, and other members of the veterinary healthcare team. Attention to detail, good organizational skills, and the ability to multitask are also important qualities for an RVT to possess as they often work in fast-paced and high-stress environments. RVTs must also be physically fit and able to lift heavy animals, as well as be comfortable working with a variety of species, including dogs, cats, birds, and exotic animals. Additionally, RVTs should have a strong foundation in science and be comfortable with mathematics, as much of their work involves calculating medication dosages and interpreting lab results.

Registered Vet Tech Certificate

BC students walking and talking on campus
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Registered Vet Tech Careers

Individuals who have earned a Registered Veterinary Technician Job Skills Certificate have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue a variety of careers in the field of veterinary medicine. Some common careers for RVTs include working in veterinary hospitals, clinics, or practices, as well as research facilities, animal shelters, and zoos. RVTs may also work in specialty practices such as dentistry, ophthalmology, or emergency and critical care.

With additional training and experience, RVTs may advance to supervisory or management roles or pursue careers in teaching or research. RVTs may choose to specialize in a particular area of veterinary medicine, such as anesthesia or dentistry, by obtaining additional certifications or pursuing further education. Overall, an RVT Job Skills Certificate provides a strong foundation for a fulfilling career in the field of veterinary medicine.

Registered Vet Tech License Requirements

The Registered Veterinary Technician program has two required aspects in order for a student to obtain an RVT license.

Requirement One

Students must complete the following nine required courses:

  1. Introduction to Veterinary Technology
    1. This course must be completed first before the student is eligible to take the subsequent required courses.
  2. Surgery, Dental, Anesthesiology
  3. Clinical Pathology
  4. Pharmacology
  5. Small Animal Diseases
  6. Large Animal Diseases
  7. Radiology, Ultrasound, Diagnostic Imaging
  8. Caged Birds, Lab Animals, Exotic Animal Medicine
  9. Emergency Medicine

Requirement Two

Students are required to complete 4,600 hours of work experience in veterinary hospitals.

The 4,600 hours of work experience and the nine classes outlined must all be completed within five years from the student beginning the first class. If the student is already employed in a veterinary hospital when they begin the program then they are able to start their work experience hours immediately after starting the first course, Introduction to Veterinary Technology.

Work experience hours must be collected and "signed off" by a licensed Veterinarian using the RVT Task List form. Multiple forms can be completed to list work done at multiple hospitals. 

The National Boards exam must be taken and passed for the student to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician and an application must be submitted to the State of California office in Sacramento.  In addition, applicants are required to pay the submission fees to receive a State of California Registered Veterinary Technician license.

Information and Resources

Career Education/Work Experience

Student’s needing assistance with searching for work experience hours to count for the State of California license exam, please contact the Bakersfield College Work Experience office at (661) 395-4402 or stop by the office located in the Family and Consumer Education (FACE) Building, Room 16.

College Counseling and Career Advising

Stay up to date by ensuring you're on track to completing your course requirements for Registered Veterinary Technician and get connected to resources by talking with an Educational Advisor or Counselor. Visit the Counseling Center and Career Education advising team to book an appointment today. 

Additional Resources

Visit the California Veterinary Medical Association for more information about its Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVMA CVA) program to accredited Registered Veterinary Technician programs in California.


Academic Department: Agriculture

Career & Learning Pathway: Agriculture, Nutrition, and Culinary Arts

Courses: Animal Science (ANSC) 


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