Employment of veterinary technicians is increasing across the country, with excellent opportunities for a rewarding career. The best path to becoming a veterinary technician in Kansas 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.
Kansas has one of the oldest accredited programs in the country, and it has two schools that offer some or all of its programs through distance learning. If you are interested in distance learning, check out the requirements carefully, as there are some differences from on-campus learning.
What Does a Veterinary Technician in Kansas Do?
A veterinary technologist or technician fills the role of nurse practitioner in a veterinary clinic or animal facility. The technician assists the veterinarian, and has client contact during animal intake, discharge, and may even be involved with client education. Your education will prepare you to assist in surgery and emergency care, administer anesthesia and medications, perform dental procedures, take x-rays, and work in a laboratory.
Most veterinary technicians work in private practice, but employment opportunities exist in many other venues: 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.)
Applicants to an accredited program must have a high school diploma, a GED, or the equivalency. At least one school requires you to have worked for a veterinarian, volunteered at a facility, or observed a veterinarian for a minimum of eight hours. Transcripts and scores on exams such as ACT, SAT or COMPASS may be required. Enrollment is usually capped to a maximum number of students, not always on who applies first but based on a competitive evaluation of all students. Every school’s website has specific instructions and information on the application process.
What Will You Study on Your Way to Becoming a Vet-Tech
General education courses such as biology, English, math, psychology, and computer skills are prerequisites to most programs before the required course can be taken.
The required courses are heavily science-based. Not every program has the exact same curriculum, but in general you will study most of these courses: anatomy, physiology, terminology, pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, parasitology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, behavior, practice management, communication, and large and small animal medicine.
Many classes have a laboratory associated so you can practice the skills and techniques taught in the classroom. The final quarter or weeks of the semester focus on an internship in which you will work in a clinical setting learning new skills, refining the ones you learned in the classroom and labs, and observing the day to day job of a veterinary technician.
Most programs take two years if you proceed at the average pace.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition in Kansas is very affordable. Most programs can be completed in two years for under $20,000 including associated fees. Tuition for out of state residents is higher. Kansas has agreements with its border states of Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, with tuition rates slightly higher than for in-state students.
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 cost estimator, 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.
Click here to access the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to learn of the many veterans benefits available to college students. The state of Kansas has a program called KanVet, which provides direct access to the state’s resources and benefits for veterans without them having to navigate many different state agencies.
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 Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) required to become a registered veterinary technician in Kansas. 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.
To register as a veterinary technician in Kansas, visit the website of the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners.
Kansas Vet-Tech Job Prospects and Potential Pay
Job prospects for veterinary technologists and technicians in Kansas 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 $31,690.
Regional average pay (click the radio button for One occupation for multiple geographical areas, then find Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, 292056):
- Kansas City, MO-KS $32,480
- Manhattan $30,310
- Topeka $25,020
- Wichita $33,310
- Kansas, non-metro areas $35,720
Resources For Your Job Searches as a Veterinary Technician
After you graduate, pass the VTNE and register as a veterinary technician, you want 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. After you graduate, you can access several very good resources with job postings.
Vet Tech Life, an online journal for veterinary technicians
Vetcetera, a listing of national, state and specialty veterinary technician associations