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Veterinary technicians (also referred to as vet techs) are trained and licensed individuals who provide support and assistance to veterinarians in the care and treatment of animals. The work a vet tech does for a veterinarian is similar to the work a nurse does in support of a doctor. Vet techs are distinguishable from veterinary assistants by the fact that it requires an advanced amount of education to become a vet tech and consequently vet techs are licensed by their state to perform specific procedures, whereas vet assistants are not.

Vet Techs picture    Vet Techs image

Veterinary Technician Schools

Vet techs are distinguishable from veterinary assistants by the fact that it requires an advanced amount of education to become a vet tech, usually an associate degree or sometimes a bachelor's degree is required. The following five schools offer associate degree programs for veterinary technicians:

  • Cedar Valley College: This community college located just outside Dallas, Texas offers a veterinary technology program that prepares students to take their state board examinations.
  • Northern Virginia Community College: The Associate of Applied Science in veterinary technology offered by this community college prepares students for vet tech careers in a variety of settings.
  • Penn Foster College: This online school offers an associate degree program for students wanting to train to become a vet tech in a flexible format.
  • Purdue University: This university in West Lafayette, Indiana offers on-campus and distance learning associate degree programs in veterinary technology.
  • St. Petersburg College: This college in Florida offers both online and on-campus associate degree programs that provide students with the skills to enter the workforce.

Veterinary Technician Education Requirements

Preparing for veterinary technician school should include a strong background in math and sciences, especially natural sciences. Biology, anatomy and courses that give you practical laboratory skills are a good way to prepare for the rigors of a veterinary technician degree program. Most of the programs lead to a two-year associate degree, while some might lead to a four-year bachelor's degree.

Programs should be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and should include both clinical and laboratory elements with the use of live animals. Graduation from an AVMA-accredited veterinary technology program will pave the way for candidates to take a credentialing exam in any state in the nation. Schools offering accredited veterinary technology programs include junior colleges, community colleges, vocational schools, and distance learning facilities.

Clinical experience is required for all veterinary technicians. Those who choose distance learning can complete their clinical experience requirement by working under their local veterinarian while still taking all of the classes for their degree online.

Veterinary Technician Licensing

Requirements to become licensed vary by state; however, in addition to obtaining the necessary education, all states require candidates to take and pass some kind of certification exam regulated by the State Board of Veterinary Examiners or some other state agency. The exam will usually include a combination of oral, written, and practical sections. For most states, this exam is the National Veterinary Technician (NVT) test. States will generally accept transfer of passing scores from exams taken in a different state, provided the two states use the same exam.

In addition to state licensing, advanced credentials are always useful in this profession, and in some cases, necessary. Those seeking employment in a research facility should pursue an American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) certification. The AALAS certification focuses on three specific areas of expertise: animal health and welfare, animal husbandry, and facility administration and management. In order to earn an AALAS certification, individuals must satisfy a combination of education and experience requirements before taking the AALAS exam. Work experience must be in a laboratory animal facility and must be directly related to the maintenance, health, and well-being of laboratory animals. The AALAS exam consists of multiple-choice questions whose quantity and difficulty depends upon the level of certification being sought.

Resources for Veterinary Technicians

Sources:

  1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-technologists-and-technicians.htm
  2. Cedar Valley College, http://www.cedarvalleycollege.edu/FutureStudents/DegreesandCertificatePrograms/TechnicalDisciplines/VeterinaryTechnology/default.aspx
  3. Northern Virginia Community College, http://www.nvcc.edu/catalog/cat2014/academics/programs/programdetail.aspx?prog_id=4400&subprog_id=0
  4. Penn Foster College, http://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/veterinary-studies/veterinary-technician-associate-degree
  5. Purdue University, http://www.vet.purdue.edu/vettech/
    St. Petersburg College, http://www.spcollege.edu/vt/

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Veterinary Technicians

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Veterinary Technicians jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 290 $31,890
Birmingham 290 $31,890
Huntsville 90 $23,660
Opelika 80 $31,140
Auburn 80 $31,140
Mobile 40 $31,440
Decatur 30 $29,790
Foley N/A $25,570
Daphne N/A $25,570
Fairhope N/A $25,570
Oxford N/A $29,260
Jacksonville N/A $29,260
Anniston N/A $29,260
Montgomery N/A $34,990
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 120 $43,520
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Mesa 1200 $31,770
Scottsdale 1200 $31,770
Phoenix 1200 $31,770
Tucson 670 $23,280
Prescott 100 $29,950
Flagstaff 60 $27,160
Kingman 60 $30,110
Lake Havasu City 60 $30,110
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 40 $29,300
North Little Rock 40 $29,300
Little Rock 40 $29,300
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 2520 $36,720
Anaheim 2520 $36,720
Long Beach 2520 $36,720
Hayward 1630 $41,270
San Francisco 1630 $41,270
Oakland 1630 $41,270
Roseville 1170 $30,150
Arden 1170 $30,150
Sacramento 1170 $30,150
Arcade 1170 $30,150
Carlsbad 830 $44,140
San Diego 830 $44,140
Ontario 580 $35,970
Riverside 580 $35,970
San Bernardino 580 $35,970
San Jose 330 $41,830
Sunnyvale 330 $41,830
Santa Clara 330 $41,830
Oxnard 310 $34,290
Thousand Oaks 310 $34,290
Ventura 310 $34,290
Stockton 210 $28,280
Lodi 210 $28,280
Fairfield 140 $34,000
Vallejo 140 $34,000
Watsonville 120 $37,220
Santa Cruz 120 $37,220
Bakersfield 110 $29,530
Modesto 110 $31,070
Salinas 90 $39,570
Santa Maria 90 $40,590
Santa Barbara 90 $40,590
Redding 80 $29,980
Chico 60 $37,420
Porterville 50 $28,730
Visalia 50 $28,730
Yuba City 40 $37,520
Fresno N/A $19,980
Arroyo Grande N/A $32,710
Paso Robles N/A $32,710
San Luis Obispo N/A $32,710
Santa Rosa N/A $44,840
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Denver 1640 $31,630
Aurora 1640 $31,630
Lakewood 1640 $31,630
Fort Collins 390 $27,190
Colorado Springs 340 $30,190
Grand Junction 80 $25,780
Greeley 60 $30,870
Pueblo 40 $20,920
Boulder N/A $27,800
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 610 $34,700
West Hartford 610 $34,700
Hartford 610 $34,700
New Haven 320 $35,060
Norwalk 320 $38,690
Stamford 320 $38,690
Bridgeport 320 $38,690
Danbury 130 $40,850
Waterbury 50 $39,370
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 2030 $33,590
Fort Lauderdale 2030 $33,590
Miami 2030 $33,590
Tampa 1360 $28,250
St. Petersburg 1360 $28,250
Clearwater 1360 $28,250
Kissimmee 830 $28,560
Orlando 830 $28,560
Sanford 830 $28,560
Jacksonville 670 $28,940
Tallahassee 350 $24,240
Bradenton 350 $31,940
Sarasota 350 $31,940
North Port 350 $31,940
Gainesville 320 $34,470
Port St. Lucie 310 $31,470
Cape Coral 280 $32,160
Fort Myers 280 $32,160
Deltona 230 $30,870
Ormond Beach 230 $30,870
Daytona Beach 230 $30,870
Ocala 210 $25,130
Naples 210 $35,640
Marco Island 210 $35,640
Immokalee 210 $35,640
Winter Haven 200 $27,440
Lakeland 200 $27,440
Palm Bay 200 $28,310
Melbourne 200 $28,310
Titusville 200 $28,310
Brent 180 $29,640
Ferry Pass 180 $29,640
Pensacola 180 $29,640
Fort Walton Beach 120 $29,430
Crestview 120 $29,430
Destin 120 $29,430
Vero Beach 80 $28,740
Sebastian 80 $28,740
Punta Gorda 80 $29,300
Panama City 60 $26,050
Homosassa Springs 60 $27,150
The Villages 50 $33,700
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 1430 $28,590
Atlanta 1430 $28,590
Sandy Springs 1430 $28,590
Savannah 150 $28,920
Athens 140 $29,220
Clarke County 140 $29,220
Gainesville 80 $26,500
Albany 40 $25,630
Macon 30 $22,420
Warner Robins 30 $24,300
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 280 $30,170
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 240 $29,070
Coeur d'Alene 60 $27,180
Idaho Falls 30 $25,500
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Champaign 140 $37,040
Urbana 140 $37,040
Springfield 90 $27,500
Peoria 90 $33,300
Rockford 70 $27,830
Marion 40 $26,230
Carbondale 40 $26,230
Bloomington N/A $32,240
Kankakee N/A $35,650
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 520 $29,410
Indianapolis 520 $29,410
Carmel 520 $29,410
Fort Wayne 80 $35,140
Bloomington 50 $25,970
West Lafayette 30 $28,010
Lafayette 30 $28,010
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 120 $29,920
Des Moines 120 $29,920
Cedar Rapids 80 $29,370
Ames 70 $44,350
Waterloo 60 $28,010
Cedar Falls 60 $28,010
Dubuque 30 $28,860
Iowa City 30 $36,000
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Topeka 40 $23,150
Wichita N/A $28,720
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 370 $31,480
Lexington 370 $31,480
Fort Knox 30 $22,430
Elizabethtown 30 $22,430
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 720 $28,710
Metairie 720 $28,710
Lafayette 100 $23,750
Lake Charles 100 $24,420
Alexandria 40 $24,720
Baton Rouge N/A $22,780
Bossier City N/A $25,650
Shreveport N/A $25,650
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 290 $33,950
Portland 290 $33,950
Bangor 80 $33,020
Auburn 70 $35,810
Lewiston 70 $35,810
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 970 $31,000
Towson 970 $31,000
Columbia 970 $31,000
Lexington Park N/A $42,300
California N/A $42,300
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Leominster 70 $38,190
Gardner 70 $38,190
Barnstable Town 70 $41,540
New Bedford 40 N/A
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 1600 $30,800
Detroit 1600 $30,800
Dearborn 1600 $30,800
Wyoming 240 $30,140
Grand Rapids 240 $30,140
Kalamazoo 170 $24,070
Portage 170 $24,070
East Lansing 170 $36,940
Lansing 170 $36,940
Ann Arbor 160 $30,920
Flint 60 $28,930
Muskegon 30 $27,920
Niles 30 $31,510
Benton Harbor 30 $31,510
Saginaw N/A $31,610
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 110 $30,520
St. Cloud 60 $30,780
North Mankato 50 $28,500
Mankato 50 $28,500
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 130 $29,100
Hattiesburg 60 $24,460
Pascagoula 50 $25,000
Biloxi 50 $25,000
Gulfport 50 $25,000
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 100 $30,640
Springfield N/A $27,980
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 90 $34,760
Missoula 60 $24,790
Great Falls 40 $27,990
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 100 $31,590
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 430 $33,770
Henderson 430 $33,770
Las Vegas 430 $33,770
Reno N/A $31,360
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 150 $33,270
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hammonton 80 $28,570
Atlantic City 80 $28,570
Trenton 70 $32,600
Bridgeton 50 $29,740
Vineland 50 $29,740
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 350 $33,100
Santa Fe 80 $37,030
Las Cruces 30 $28,320
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 340 $38,820
Troy 340 $38,820
Schenectady 340 $38,820
Cheektowaga 280 $36,100
Niagara Falls 280 $36,100
Buffalo 280 $36,100
Syracuse 200 $36,550
Ithaca 200 $44,290
Utica 90 $25,120
Rome 90 $25,120
Kingston 70 $35,430
Binghamton 40 $34,080
Rochester N/A $35,210
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 680 $32,230
Greensboro 260 $30,670
High Point 260 $30,670
Wilmington 220 $26,240
Durham 220 $27,070
Chapel Hill 220 $27,070
Asheville 220 $30,760
Salem 170 $28,380
Winston 170 $28,380
Fayetteville 80 $25,760
Greenville 50 $27,670
Rocky Mount N/A $23,020
Morganton N/A $28,320
Hickory N/A $28,320
Lenoir N/A $28,320
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 1120 $32,190
Cleveland 430 $30,740
Elyria 430 $30,740
Toledo 220 $30,590
Dayton 180 $30,880
Akron 110 $29,970
Springfield 40 $26,490
Canton N/A $27,500
Massillon N/A $27,500
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 330 $33,920
Tulsa 260 $30,540
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 170 $34,060
Eugene 160 $33,880
Redmond 110 $34,550
Bend 110 $34,550
Corvallis 90 $36,900
Medford N/A $34,370
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 1130 $30,590
Lancaster 230 $34,240
Hazleton 170 $33,360
Scranton 170 $33,360
Barre 170 $33,360
Wilkes 170 $33,360
Carlisle 110 $32,940
Harrisburg 110 $32,940
East Stroudsburg 100 $33,970
State College 90 $30,330
Erie 80 $23,360
Gettysburg 30 $28,350
Lebanon 30 $29,690
Hanover N/A $33,650
York N/A $33,650
Reading N/A $34,530
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 200 $30,320
Carolina 200 $30,320
San Juan 200 $30,320
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
North Charleston 460 $32,140
Charleston 460 $32,140
Greenville 420 $31,100
Mauldin 420 $31,100
Anderson 420 $31,100
Bluffton 60 $23,950
Beaufort 60 $23,950
Hilton Head Island 60 $23,950
Spartanburg N/A $27,390
Columbia N/A $27,660
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rapid City 60 $27,900
Sioux Falls 60 $32,810
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Knoxville 470 $32,570
Johnson City 40 $24,840
Franklin N/A $29,570
Murfreesboro N/A $29,570
Nashville N/A $29,570
Davidson N/A $29,570
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Worth 2710 $31,200
Dallas 2710 $31,200
Arlington 2710 $31,200
Sugar Land 1860 $28,650
The Woodlands 1860 $28,650
Houston 1860 $28,650
Austin 1030 $27,660
Round Rock 1030 $27,660
New Braunfels 950 $28,230
San Antonio 950 $28,230
College Station 250 $30,640
Bryan 250 $30,640
El Paso 200 $23,570
Corpus Christi 170 $24,380
Temple 130 $26,390
Killeen 130 $26,390
Beaumont 120 $28,220
Port Arthur 120 $28,220
Harlingen 100 $24,220
Brownsville 100 $24,220
McAllen 100 $29,510
Mission 100 $29,510
Edinburg 100 $29,510
Amarillo 90 $25,000
Lubbock 80 $24,680
Waco 80 $25,780
Tyler 70 $24,520
Abilene 70 $27,070
San Angelo 50 $22,230
Sherman 30 $28,190
Denison 30 $28,190
Victoria 30 $33,020
Longview N/A $28,300
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 590 $25,470
Clearfield 160 $30,790
Ogden 160 $30,790
Provo 70 $26,350
Orem 70 $26,350
St. George 30 $28,650
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 180 $32,610
Burlington 180 $32,610
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charlottesville 90 $35,270
Christiansburg 60 $32,380
Blacksburg 60 $32,380
Radford 60 $32,380
Waynesboro 50 $30,040
Staunton 50 $30,040
Lynchburg 30 $29,010
Harrisonburg 30 $34,180
Richmond N/A $33,470
Roanoke N/A $33,740
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 1210 $35,800
Tacoma 1210 $35,800
Bellevue 1210 $35,800
Tumwater 90 $32,230
Olympia 90 $32,230
Silverdale 80 $37,480
Bremerton 80 $37,480
Spokane 60 $34,650
Spokane Valley 60 $34,650
Bellingham 50 $34,410
Yakima 40 $34,480
Richland 40 $35,410
Kennewick 40 $35,410
Mount Vernon 30 $36,670
Anacortes 30 $36,670
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston N/A $25,460
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Madison 470 $31,070
Milwaukee 390 $36,980
Waukesha 390 $36,980
West Allis 390 $36,980
Wausau 60 $25,580
Racine 50 $28,410
Neenah 50 $32,970
Oshkosh 50 $32,970
Eau Claire 40 $25,580
Janesville 30 $28,820
Beloit 30 $28,820
Sheboygan 30 $31,790
Appleton N/A $28,230
Green Bay N/A $31,490
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 30 $27,900

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Veterinary Technicians

To find out more about building a career as Vet Techs, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Veterinary Technicians

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 73,610 93% $28,610
Education 2,130 2% $34,280
Government 1,050 1% $40,570
Non-profit 940 1% $26,580
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Veterinary Technicians.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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