Why Did Chris Choose to Become a Licensed Veterinary Technician Before Applying to Any Vet Schools?
Christopher Moyer started out as a licensed veterinary technician, (LVT) and after applying to 2 cycles and 14 schools, he got into LMU. He loves the school and says “this program is designed to graduate competent, practice-ready veterinarians, and they take that seriously from day one”.
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Check out this book: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR) to help you navigate all of the requirements for each college.
Name, veterinary school attended, and year that you started.
Christopher Moyer, Lincoln Memorial University – College of Veterinary Medicine
Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?
State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi – Veterinary Science Technology
Cornell University – Animal Science
At what age did you first apply to vet school?
How many schools/application cycles did you apply to before being accepted?
First cycle – 8 schools
Second cycle – 6 schools
Were you waitlisted at any schools?
How many schools invited you for an interview?
How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?
One – LMU
Do you remember any specifically challenging interview questions?
(Not verbatim) Describe a situation you were in, that involved an ethical choice.
What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?
3.3 at SUNY Delhi
3.0 at Cornell
Did you attend grad school?
How many extracurricular activities did you list on your application?
16 – 17
Did you have exotic, large and small animal experience prior to applying to veterinary school?
What types of paying jobs did you have before going to veterinary school?
I am a licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT).
- I worked full time at the Cornell University Equine and Farm Animal Hospital for 3.5 years
- Full-time LVT at a mixed animal practice for 9 months, and part-time at that practice for 4-5 months total.
- Animal caretaker at a local pet and feed store – 5 years
(Note from editor: If you want to see what a vet tech has to learn check out:
McCurnin’s Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians. This book presents you with real life cases. Anyone enterering into the veterinary field who did not work in a vet clinic first should at the very least read this book, to become familiar with the vast array of knowledge and skill that a vet tech provides.)
What made you want to become a licensed veterinary technician?
My interest to become a licensed veterinary technician (LVT) was a part of my ultimate goal of becoming a veterinarian. Instead of pursuing a standard bachelor’s degree program with a potential minimal hands-on veterinary focused experience, I decided to take the licensed veterinary technician route. I knew it would give me a more in-depth and hands-on feel for the profession. The benefit of the professional license allowed me to further my skill level and I was able to make more money working as I was finishing a bachelor’s degree and applying to veterinary school. The other factor involved in becoming an LVT was finances. It was cheaper for me to attend LVT school than it was for me to attend other schools that I applied to.
Do you think the fact that you were working as an LVT first will give you an advantage during clinical skills classes or when you first enter a practice?
Yes, working as an LVT paid off in a huge way. My clinical skills labs are mostly all review and it is helpful to already have confidence in the more advanced technical skills. In addition, I can already apply skills and information we’ve learned to cases I’ve seen, or experiences I’ve had. Also, the license has given me the confidence to work at new clinics by ‘breaking the ice’ for me to show them I already have the skills and I am not above doing any grunt work.
Did you volunteer? If so, where?
At a small animal practice, 6-12 hours a month for three-four months
Bovine practice 6-12 hours a month for three months
How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?
When did you decide to become a vet or veterinary technician?
During my early teens
Were you a member of any clubs at your undergraduate school? If so, which ones?
- Varsity Lacrosse
- President -New York State Association for Veterinary Technicians (NYSAVT) student chapter
- Secretary/Founding member – Equine Club
- Resident Assistant
- Senior Resident Assistant
- Peer tutor – general chemistry
- Varsity polo team (equine)
- Co-President Varsity polo team
Did you join student clubs in your DVM program?
Did you apply to vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?
Immediately after graduation and again two years later
Who gave you your letters of recommendation?
Veterinarians (3), Polo Coach, and a farrier
Did you find the application process stressful? Why or why not?
Yes, having each school’s supplemental application along with the VMCAS it can be very daunting. I experienced an issue when they update their software. I lost all of the information I had in the system when I applied in 2015. I had to re-enter all of the information in 2017
Are you happy that you chose this career and started out as a veterinary technician? What makes you most happy about this career choice?
This career is definitely the right choice for me. The line of work is interesting, challenging, and rewarding.
Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?
Work hard, and think of the big picture. Take every day as preparation for becoming a competent veterinarian. Using a sports reference; take it upon yourself to practice as you would play. Only then will you be ready for game day.
Since you were a licensed veterinary technician first, I am guessing you will be able to relate to all of the work that an LVT does at a veterinary practice and have a better appreciation of the skills it requires. What do you think?
Yes, I completely agree. Knowing the amount of work technicians do, their skill levels and techniques they bring to the table is important. I have a lot of respect for what LVT’s accomplish in a day. For most practices, the licensed veterinary technicians are the true backbone of the operation. I will have that much more admiration for LVT’s I work with in the future because I know what they are capable of and how valuable they are to a well-functioning practice.
Any study tips?
Be open to different study techniques. There is no shame in asking for help in study methods. Think of it more not as a weakness to ask for help, but a strength to challenge yourself to become a better veterinarian. In addition, put away any electronic devices not required and focus. It is better to study efficiently for a short amount of time than it is for a longer time at half steam.
What has been the most challenging class, in your DVM program so far?
As a student, did you have to take out loans for your education? If so, are you concerned about the amount of debt you will have after graduation?
Yes, I have taken out loans and I am worried about the debt
Is there anything in particular about your DVM program or the school itself that you like?
The faculty, technicians, and students here are very nice, and the facilities are top notch. They also emphasize wellness and have a multitude of academic and personal counseling resources for students. In addition, this program is designed to graduate competent, practice-ready veterinarians, and they take that seriously from day one. It is very hands-on with a technical base, which I believe is one of the major keys to being successful.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about attending your University?
Work hard and prepare yourself. As the saying goes, the cream will rise to the top wherever you go. Work hard, put in the time, embody professionalism and it will all pay off.
At this point do you think you will have a specialty?
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
Work hard to become the veterinarian you would like to see yourself as. Once accepted, you have 4 years to practice. Work smart, efficiently, and don’t get bogged down by all of the gritty details. In addition, live a balanced life, which will enable you to work hard and decrease burn out.
How can people find you?
MORE INTERVIEWS WITH VET STUDENTS THAT STARTED OUT AS VET TECHS (LICENSED AND UNLICENSED)
- Dr. Sweitzer worked as an unlicensed vet tech before vet school, then during vet school at UC Davis, he became a licensed veterinary technician.
- Christine went to Western and worked as a veterinary technician at an ER.
- Dr. Young who also went to Western worked as a veterinary technician for 12 years before vet school.