Steps to Become a Veterinary Technician in Connecticut

connecticutEmployment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow significantly in the next decade, faster than most other occupations. The best path to becoming a veterinary technician in Connecticut is to attend a school with a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). To find a school with an accredited program, click here.



What Does a Connecticut Veterinary Technician Do?

A veterinary technician performs the job of nurse to the animals in your care, and assistant in all the duties of the veterinarian. You will assist in every aspect of care, from admission of the animal to the facility in which you work until that animal is discharged. Most veterinary technicians work in private practice, but after graduation you will also be prepared for employment in many other fields: veterinary teaching hospitals, private and public research institutions, zoos and exotic animal facilities, military service, humane societies and rescue organizations, environmental and public health organizations, diagnostic laboratories, veterinary supply and pharmaceutical sales, and livestock and equine production.

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Veterinary Technician Specialization

Veterinary technologists and technicians can also specialize in these disciplines:

  • Dental Technician
  • Anesthetist
  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Behavior Technician
  • Zoological Medicine
  • Equine
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Clinical Pathology

(Click here for more information on these academic specialties.)

Veterinary Technician Education in Connecticut

Veterinary technologists attend school for four years and are graduated with a B.S. in Veterinary Technology. A veterinary technician attends school on average of two years and earns an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. Some of the course work to become a veterinary technician is transferrable should you want to progress toward a degree in veterinary technology, a veterinarian, or other similar fields.

You must have a high school diploma or GED to apply. Application can be done online, and there is usually a small fee. Some experience working in a veterinary clinic is recommended. A rabies vaccination for higher level courses is required. You will be interviewed by a program faculty member so that you can better understand the demands of the program and your suitability for it.

Some course work is required prior to admission: basic biology, chemistry, math, and introductory computer skills. General education requirements the first year of the program include courses such as communication, math, social science, behavioral science, and humanities. Your studies will progress to more specialized courses such as parasitology, radiology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, surgical nursing, large and small animal care, pharmacology, microbiology, and farm calls and field trips to enhance your clinical experience.

In your final semester, you will complete an externship in a fully functioning animal hospital or facility where you will round out your education, refine your skills, and gain valuable experience and insight into the day to day career of a veterinary technician.

You will be graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. You will be eligible to take the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) required to become a Connecticut veterinary technician. The exam is three hours long, has 150 questions, and costs $300. Once you graduate and pass the VTNE, you are qualified to begin work. Connecticut does not require veterinary technicians to be licensed.

Veterinary Technician School Costs

Tuition, fees and costs are variable. A school’s website lists tuition and fees and, importantly, financial aid available. To begin the application process of applying for financial aid, go to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website, where you can learn what types are aid are available and for which you qualify. All the traditional financial aid packages are available to students, including veterans’ benefits. Use the net price calculator to estimate your final cost of education. This is an online tool into which you enter basic information such as your age, your parents’ ability to pay out of pocket, your living arrangements, some financial aid information, and in a few simple steps your estimated tuition, costs and fees will be presented for your financial planning.

Veterinary Technology Jobs and Salary in Connecticut

Job prospects in Connecticut and around the country are encouraging. According to the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow 30% per year through 2022, with a higher expected rate in Connecticut. The average pay for veterinary technologists and technicians in Connecticut is $36,840 (BLS).

Regional average pay (click the radio button for One occupation for multiple geographical areas):

  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk                                   $34,170
  • Danbury                                                                      $33,630
  • Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford                      $37,130
  • New Haven                                                                 $36,100
  • Norwich-New London                                                $50,560
  • Springfield                                                                   $34,150
  • Waterbury                                                                   $37,750
  • Worcester                                                                    $37,040
  • Northwestern nonmetropolitan area                           $37,970

Resources After You Graduate

After you pass the VTNE, your best resource for finding a job and keeping current is the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association. The Association’s website has a page with listings for veterinary technician jobs. Two things to remember: 1) Your job search begins with your externship, as many employment contacts are made there; 2) Connecticut does not require veterinary technicians to be licensed.

Connecticut Veterinary Technician Technician Associations and Organizations

The websites listed below are excellent to keep your current, and have career centers or job postings.

Veterinary Career Network

National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America

Vet Tech Life, an online journal for veterinary technicians

Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association