Internal Medicine Vet Tech Certification & Salary

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Veterinary medicine is a field that continues to experience significant demand for newly trained professionals. The wide variety of potential specializations within the field of veterinary medicine is one significant contributing factor to the high demand for this field. Also influential is the popularity of pets among families and individuals who experience therapeutic benefits from the presence of a support animal.

Specialization is a means by which practitioners may distinguish themselves from other qualified candidates. By their very designation, all certified or licensed vet techs are qualified to provide various services. Vet techs who go on to develop a specialization and become vet tech specialists (VTSs) develop a higher level of expertise that can ultimately lead to more opportunities, higher pay, and more potential for career advancement.

Those seeking to become veterinary technicians can specialize in several ways. One particularly valued specialization is internal medicine. An internal medicine vet tech must develop proficiency in many internal systems. The potential variety of duties an internal medicine vet tech may be expected to fulfill are thus quite numerous. They include the following:

  • Sampling of animals, such as blood and biopsy testing, for diagnostic purposes
  • Assessment of an animal’s various systems to determine their current function and causes of dysfunction
  • Administration of treatments to cure or manage illnesses of various forms and durations
  • Creating long-term treatment plans and educating owners in how to successfully follow such plans outside of the supervised care of a veterinarian
  • Supporting owners with the provision of end-of-life care for aging and sick pets (e.g., dietary and medication concerns)
  • Effectively communicate with a variety of individuals, including co-workers, supervisors, pet owners and others regarding several topics

Career Outlook for Internal Medicine Vet Techs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022) predicts the field of veterinary technologists and technicians will grow by 20 percent from 2021 to 2031. Some 15,500 new openings are expected within this field each year of this decade. Career transitions and retirement are forecast to drive much of the projected growth in opportunity in the next decade.

While this growth prediction is not specific to the work of internal medicine vet techs, the growth of the entire veterinary medicine industry should also benefit those seeking to pursue this specialization.

Internal Medicine Vet Tech Salary Data

Those seeking to specialize as internal medicine vet techs can often expect to be compensated better than those who do not seek this specialization. Salary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics specific to the job category of vet techs as a whole is provided in the table below.

The number of opportunities and quality of compensation and benefits varies by region and existing experience level. Like many professions, vet techs open to ongoing continuing education will typically have more success in their field. Internal medicine vet techs who sub-specialize in an uncommon niche need may find even higher compensation though such opportunities will tend to be few in number. Those considering this career pursuit should thus compare prospective salaries against the cost of living in a certain geographic market to determine what purchasing power they would ultimately have.

Source: U.S BLS (May 2021)
Average annual salary $38,250
25th percentile $29,810
50th percentile (median) $36,850
75th percentile $45,750
90th percentile $48,100

Education and Certification Requirements for Internal Medicine Vet Techs

Vet techs who practice within a certain specialization are called veterinary technician specialists (VTS). The National Association of Vet Techs in America (NAVTA) is the organization responsible for guiding the development and operation of training pathways vet techs use to become VTSs.

These training pathways are organized as academies. With NAVTA oversight, these academies develop curricula, skill requirements, practicums, and more for the express purpose of training vet techs in several specialties.

The Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT) is responsible for certifying internal medicine veterinary technicians. AIMVT also promotes interest in the work of internal medicine vet techs and their professional success through various activities, including continuing education for practitioners, client education, advocacy for quality patient care, and consumer protection.

Individuals seeking to become certified veterinary technicians specializing in internal medicine must complete the following sequence of steps:

  1. Become a certified, registered, or licensed veterinary technician.

  2. Accrue at least three years and 6,000 hours of direct experience within the specialty of veterinary internal medicine. Seventy-five percent of this time must be duties directly related to internal medicine.

  3. Hold at least 40 hours of continuing education (CE) from a qualified veterinary technician school. Such education must be in the field of internal medicine and must be completed within the five years immediately preceding the application for certification.

  4. Prepare at least 50 case logs that effectively demonstrate the tech’s skill in diagnosing and treating problems specifically related to the specialty of internal medicine. As not all case logs submitted by an applicant may be approved, applicants must complete more than a minimum of 50 case logs.

  5. Four of the aforementioned case logs must be further developed into deeper case reports. Case reports must provide more detail than a case log. These reports feature in-depth discussions of the cases and thereby demonstrate the applicant’s advanced knowledge of the conditions and treatments addressed in the report.

  6. Applicants must submit at least two effective letters of recommendation from veterinarians who have specialized in internal medicine. These letters confirm that the candidate will capably serve as an internal medicine vet tech.

  7. Applicants submit three exam questions to AIMVT. These questions are related to the chosen specialty within the field of internal medicine and are designed to demonstrate the applicant’s knowledge.

Once these steps are completed, applicants can take the comprehensive credentialing examination. Applicants who successfully complete the exam will become credentialed vet techs with a designated specialization in internal medicine.

As is true of the general field of veterinary technicians, those specializing in internal medicine should also be skilled in problem-solving, effective communication, and interpersonal relations. Compassionate interaction with both animals and their owners is critical as many pets are deeply loved by their owners and are considered members of families rather than simply animals. Successful practitioners must also have sufficient physical and emotional stamina and patience to effectively care for the variety of animals they will care for.

Additional Specialization Areas for Internal Medicine Vet Techs

As previously noted, the field of veterinary medicine allows for extensive specialization due to many existing conditions, diseases, and animal species. Within the particular field of internal medicine, an internal medicine vet tech may further specialize their skills within one of several sub-specializations. Sub-specialties include cardiology, neurology, oncology, equine internal medicine, production animal internal medicine, and small animal internal medicine, among others.

Internal medicine vet techs who wish to develop a sub-specialization will customarily need to complete additional education and training requirements. Requirements will vary according to the particular specialization and the position an applicant is seeking to fill.

Bernd Geels (Writer)

Bernd Geels is a Berlin, Germany-based freelance writer and artist. He holds an undergraduate degree in atmospheric science and two graduate degrees. He completed his most recent graduate degree in international environmental studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2011. He is interested in healthcare, climate change, marine conservation, indigenous science and refugee issues. You can reach him directly at [email protected]