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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Getting A Start...Foreign Graduates

For some reason I keep getting questions from vets outside of the US about getting licensed or work in the US.  I answer them as best as I can, but I'm not a policy or licensing expert.  Still, here's a question from Mehmet that I actually know!

I am a foreign veterinary graduate who is dreaming about being a licensed veterinary medicine in US. I will follow the steps of ECFVG but i am curious about if i can work as a veterinary technician before taking the practice exam or is there any way to improve my clinical skills in US before taking the practice exam.

It's actually very common for foreign (non-US to me) veterinarians to work as technicians prior to licensing. In fact, I've known a few vets who practiced outside of America, moved here and stayed working as techs because of the cost and hassle of getting their license. While working as an assistant or tech doesn't give you a big advantage in going through the ECFVG program, it does keep many of your skills honed and gets you experience with the common American practices of medicine.

There are a few things to keep in mind, though.  Even if you're a vet in another country, you don't get the designation of being a licensed technician or are even able to sit for that exam.  In some states you are very limited in what you can do unless you are licensed.  For a skilled veterinarian, this can be frustrating.  Also, without your veterinary license you can't make diagnoses or prescribe treatment, no matter how certain you are of what you're doing.  It can sometimes be difficult to sit back and let someone else do the work you know you can do.  Still, it's better than working a desk job if you like veterinary medicine.

Good luck with your dream, Mehmet!