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Steps to Become a Veterinary Technician in Oregon

Working as a certified Veterinary Technician in Oregon can be a satisfying and oregonrewarding career. As a Veterinary Technician in Oregon you will have the opportunity to work with animals of all kinds including cats, dogs, ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs; farm animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, llamas; ranch animals including horses and cattle; wildlife and exotic animals, among many others. Oregon has strict requirements for certification as a Veterinary Technician to ensure that all care of sick and/or injured animals are taken care of according to the highest national medical standards.

Employment Prospects for Veterinary Technicians in Oregon

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013 states that the job growth for Veterinary Technicians will grow 52% nationally by the year 2020 with a 30% increase in veterinarian medical employment in Oregon.

Veterinary Technicians can find jobs in a variety of facilities such as medical specialty clinics, rescue shelters, exotic animal rescue and rehabilitation shelters, teaching colleges, research laboratories, non-profit organizations, the military and government.

Zoos, universities, large and small animal hospitals, specialized veterinary practices, pharmaceutical and biological research laboratories, feed companies and animal shelters also need to be staffed by certified Veterinary Technicians.

Vet-Tech Salaries in Oregon

Salaries for Veterinary Technicians in Oregon can range from $18,000 to $50,000 per year depending on the type and location of medical practice, any specialty education you may have, and your background experience. The average salary for a Veterinary Technician in Oregon is $28,000 per year.

What Veterinary Technicians Do in Oregon

Veterinary Technicians, unlike Veterinary Assistants, are specifically trained and certified to perform medical procedures on animals under the supervision of a licensed Veterinarian.

As a Certified Veterinary Technician in Oregon your tasks may include:

  • recording animal patients’ medical, case and treatment histories
  • preparing animals and equipment for surgery
  • assisting with surgeries and other medical procedures
  • collecting blood, urine or stool samples
  • developing radiographs
  • processing laboratory tests including blood and urinalyses
  • manage office records
  • providing treatment for routine problems
  • assisting the veterinarian with physical exams
  • developing x-rays and radiographs
  • performing anesthesia
  • administration of medications
  • recording temperature, pulse and respiration
  • dressing wounds
  • operating electrocardiographic equipment
  • sterilizing laboratory and surgical equipment
  • vaccinating animals
  • euthanizations when necessary
  • providing routine postoperative care
  • caring for companion animals
  • applying splints and other protective devices
  • conducting research
  • weighing animals
  • performing intravenous feedings
  • assisting veterinarians in surgery
  • maintaining treatment records
  • maintaining inventory of pharmaceuticals, equipment and supplies

Certification of Veterinary Technicians in Oregon

In order to become a licensed Veterinary Technician in Oregon you must:

  1. Successfully complete a Veterinary Technician degree from a Board-approved veterinary technology program (copy of diploma or transcript is required) or:
  2. On-the-job training and experience as a veterinary technician verified by an Oregon licensed veterinarian, plus completion of a 20-hour radiation safety training course.

In addition you must have received at least 6,000 hours of on-the-job training in the following technical procedures as verified by a veterinarian or veterinarians with valid Oregon veterinary licensure:

  1.  Medical Terminology
  2.  Basic Comparative Animal Anatomy and Physiology;
  3.  Veterinary Office Procedures;
  4.  Basic Pharmacology;
  5.  Practical Animal Nutrition;
  6.  Nursing Care and Handling of Animals;
  7.  Animal Behavior;
  8.  Applied Radiography;
  9.  Applied Anesthesiology;
  10.  Applied Clinical Laboratory Procedures;
  11.  Principles and Practices of Medical and Surgical Assistance;
  12.  Animal Diseases.

ALL applicants must pass the Oregon Juris Prudence Exam/Regional Disease Test, provided after all other requirements have been met.

You must also take the Veterinary Technical National Examination (VTNE). This exam evaluates your practical and academic knowledge. The VTNE exam in Oregon with certification costs $130.

You may request a waiver of the VTNE if:

1) you are actively licensed in another state

2) have at least 7,500 hours of verifiable clinical experience and

3) graduated from an accredited veterinary technology college prior to 1990.

If you have already passed the VTNE and are seeking to renew your license you must:

1) Complete and notarize the enclosed application form. Attach proof of required Continuing Education (see below).

2) If you took the VTNE elsewhere, have your VTNE scores transferred to Oregon.

3) Arrange for license verification letters to be sent to Oregon from states where you are or ever have been certified as a veterinary technician. NOTE: 2 and 3 may be accomplished by contacting the American Association of Veterinary State Boards at aavsb.org.

Accredited Oregon Veterinary Technician Programs

There are 3 Veterinary Technician Schools in Oregon accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Coursework can include handling, care and nursing of a variety of animals including cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs. You may also work with dairy cattle, horses, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, turkeys, rodents, reptiles, and birds. Depending on your career goals you may also care for lab animals including mice, rats and guinea pigs or zoo, exhibition and exotic animals such as eagles, lizards, snakes, owls, vultures, eagles, hawks and all sorts of wildlife.

 The Vet Tech can also specialize in:

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Pathology
  • Equine Medicine
  • Dental Technician
  • Emergency and Critical Care nursing
  • Anesthetist
  • Internal Medicine
  • Behavior Modification
  • Zoological and Exotic Animal Medicine
  • Some graduates pursue additional education, whether a four-year veterinary technology degree, or a degree in a related area such as animal science.

(List of Accredited Oregon Veterinary Technology Programs.)

Continuing Education as a Veterinary Technician

Oregon requires that you renew your Veterinary Technician certification every two years. To fulfill this requirement you must successfully complete 15 hours of continuing education to the Board for every even-numbered year beginning January 2008. The required hours may be satisfied with any combination of the following continuing education activities:

(a) Attendance at scientific workshops or seminars approved by the Board.

(b) Two hours for certified veterinary technicians reading approved scientific journals. One subscription to an approved journal is equal to one hour of credit.

(c) Three hours for certified veterinary technicians of workshops or seminars on non-scientific subjects relating to the practice of veterinary medicine such as communication skills, practice management, stress management, or chemical impairment.

Career Opportunities

The Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CACVT) has an active job posting page as does the Oregon Veterinary Technician and Assistant Association .

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), an organization that represents and promotes the profession of veterinary technician, also have career and job resources on their website’s Career Center page.

Potential Employers in Oregon for Veterinary Technicians

Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter (Hillsboro)

Dog Services (Clackamas County)

Oregon Humane Society (Portland)

Jackson County Animal Services (Jackson County)

MultCoPets (Multnomah County)
Oregon Tiger Sanctuary (Eagle Point)

Bend Veterinary Clinic – Exotics (Bend)

In Defense of Animals (Portland)

Wildlife Safari (Winston)

VIP Pet Transport (Portland)

Resources