Employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow significantly inthe next decade, faster than most other occupations. The best path to becoming a veterinary technician in Indiana 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.
Indiana Veterinary Technician Job Duties
A veterinary technician performs the job of nurse to the animals in the facility, and assistant in all the duties of the veterinarian. You will assist in every aspect of care, from admission of the animal 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.
Veterinary technologists and technicians can also specialize in these disciplines:
- Dental Technician
- Internal Medicine
- Emergency and Critical Care
- Behavior Technician
- Zoological Medicine
- Clinical Practice
- Clinical Pathology
(Click here for more information on these academic specialties.)
Admission Requirements and Application Process
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 type of Degree in Veterinary Technology.
Application can usually be done online. The admissions requirements for veterinary technician programs vary. Some schools require only that you have completed high school, earned a GED or the equivalent. Other programs also require an interview, an essay, ACT or SAT scores, math and English assessments, and experience working for a veterinarian.
Admissions for the fall semester may begin as early as January, so check each school’s website carefully for admission requirements and tuition.
What You Can Expect to Study When Becoming a Vet-Tech
One of the admission requirements of many schools is a C average or better in high school. Most require some general education courses after high school, such as biology, chemistry, English and math before you may begin the core curriculum of the program.
After the prerequisite courses are completed, the majority of the course work will be science-based. Most programs offer similar curricula, focusing on anatomy, physiology, terminology, parasitology, pharmacology, dentistry, diagnostics, microbiology, radiology, animal nursing, behavior, nutrition, and practice management. Many classes have a laboratory complement in which you will gain hands-on experience for that class. The final semester or quarter focuses on an externship (aka internship), in which you will be in a clinical setting where you will learn new skills, hone your acquired skills, and observe the daily life of a veterinary technician.
Most programs take two to three years. Some schools have a “one course a month” system in which you study only one course for an entire month, designed to allow you to manage your time better. These take no longer than other programs.
Tuition and Financial Aid to Become an Indiana Veterinary Technician
Tuition is listed on each school’s website (or is readily available by contacting the school), and is one of the most important variables between each school. Check the websites carefully for tuition and all the associated fees. Most programs cost between $22,000 and $32,000 including books, fees, and supplies. If you take longer than the minimum time, costs may rise because some tuition rates are based on credit hours taken per semester. Tuition for out of state residents is often two to three times higher than in-state tuition.
All the traditional types of financial aid available to college students around the country are available to students in veterinary technician programs. Nearly all financial aid applications begin with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website, where you can learn what types of aid are available and for which you qualify. Many websites have a handy 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, and some financial aid information. In a few simple steps, your estimated tuition, costs and fees will be presented for your financial planning.
Indiana has some state aid. Click here to learn more about the state’s financial aid packages and programs.
Many military benefits are available as well. Each school’s website has information on these programs. Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to learn more about the types of aid and what might be best for you. These include programs for dependents and family members of a veteran.
After You Graduate
You will be graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology (also called an Associate of Applied Science, depending on the school). You will be eligible to take the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) required to become a registered veterinary technician in Indiana. The exam is three hours long, has 150 questions, and costs $300. Only graduates from an accredited program are allowed to take the VTNE, which is why it is important you select an accredited school for your education.
If you pass the VTNE, you must register with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA). Part of this registration includes a background check. Once you do this, you are eligible to begin your career as a registered veterinary technician. To keep your license current, you must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years. Visit the PLA website for these requirements.
Job Prospects and Potential Pay as an Indiana Vet-Tech
Job prospects for veterinary technicians in Indiana are good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to grow 30% per year through 2022. Per May 2013 BLS data, the average pay throughout the state was $30,010.
Regional average pay (click the radio button for One occupation for multiple geographical areas, then find Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, 292056):
|Gary Metropolitan Division||$29,610|
|Louisville-Jefferson County KY-IN||$28,260|
|South Bend-Mishawaka IN-MI||$30,370|
|Northern Indiana non-metro area||$25,950|
|Central Indiana non-metro area||$31.400|
Resources for Your Vet-Tech Job Search
After you graduate, pass the VTNE and register with the state, you will search for a job. Your job search should be ongoing throughout your education. Contacts you will have made during your pre-education employment or volunteering at a clinic, during your on-site clinic visits, and during your internship serve as your initial job search. You can access several very good resources with job postings and means of keeping your current.
Vet Tech Life, an online journal for veterinary technicians
Vetcetera, a listing of national, state and specialty veterinary technician associations