Veterinary technicians have the privilege of working with animals all day. Depending on where a vet tech finds employment, he or she may work with people’s pets, keeping them healthy so they can live long and happy lives. But vet techs can also work in animal shelters, at schools of veterinary medicine, and even with large and/or exotic animals. Vet techs work alongside veterinarians, assisting with anything from administrative duties to animal surgeries. No day will be exactly the same as a veterinary technician, and for many people that is a recipe for a long career that will never be boring.
Being a vet tech is an ideal career path for an animal lover, and those looking for a new career in West Virginia would do well to investigate this particular profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for vet techs is increasing around the country. From 2014 to 2024, demand is expected to grow by a whopping 19%, which is much faster than the average demand for all jobs (that hovers around 7% for the same time frame) (BLS, 2014).
Becoming a vet tech in West Virginia does come with some prerequisites, including an education from an AVMA accredited institution. Luckily, there are a few options for aspiring vet techs in West Virginia who are ready to start down the path towards a new career working with animals.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in West Virginia
|Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited||Grads|
|Pierpont Community and Technical College||1201 Locust Ave, Fairmont, West Virginia, 26554||No||Yes||12|
|Bridgemont Community and Technical College||619 2nd Avenue, Montgomery, West Virginia, 25136||No||No||10|
|Carver Career Center||4799 Midland Dr, Charleston, West Virginia, 25306-6397||No||Yes*||10|
How to Become a Vet Tech in West Virginia
In order to become a veterinary technician and find a job in West Virginia, is it important that students follow the required steps to earn the right credentials as efficiently as possible. The follow path is the most common one for vet techs:
Step 1: Graduate High School
Duration: 4 Years
A high school diploma or GED is required as a stepping stone towards a vet tech career. High school students who want to pursue this path should be sure to aim for good grades in natural sciences, like biology, for the best chance at obtaining admission to a vet tech program down the line.
Step 2: Complete a Vet Tech Program
Duration: 2 Years
While vet tech programs are not uniform, most last only two years and result in an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. In West Virginia, in order to become registered as a veterinary technician, students must graduate from an AVMA-accredited institution.
Step 3: Take the VTNE
The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) is a computer-based exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). When a graduate is eligible to take the exam depends on when she finishes the vet tech program in which she was enrolled. The windows for the exam are available from the AAVSB website. Students must submit their transcript from their vet tech program in order to be eligible for the exam.
Step 4: Take the West Virginia State Jurisprudence Exam
To become a registered vet tech in West Virginia, you must also complete the West Virginia State Jurisprudence Exam, which covers the state’s WV Veterinary Practice Act and Rules and Regulations. The exam is offered on the first Monday in June each year, or alternate dates may be scheduled with the West Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine (WVBVM).
Step 5: Apply for West Virginia Registration
Once a vet tech has completed steps 1 through 4, she is eligible to apply for registration with the WVBVM. Along with transcripts and test scores, the new vet tech must submit a birth certificate and recent photo. More documentation may be required in the event that the applicant has had any name changes or is not a citizen of the U.S.
Step 6: Renew Registration Annually
West Virginia vet techs must renew their registration each year. In order to renew, vet techs must submit proof of at least 8 hours of continuing education units over the previous year, at least four of which must relate directly to veterinary science. Registration renewals are only available from October 1 to February 1.
Strong Outlook for Vet Tech Jobs in West Virginia
Anyone considering a career as a vet tech in the Mountain State will want to know what the outlook is like in terms of demand and expected salary. With a total population of less than 2 million, there are understandably not a huge number of jobs in West Virginia. In fact, as of 2015, there were just 350 vet tech jobs in the state (BLS, 2015).Keep reading for a breakdown of where most vet techs are employed in the state, and what kind of salaries expectations are reasonable.
Currently, the top employing areas of West Virginia for vet techs are Huntington-Ashland, with 60 vet tech jobs and the Northern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area with another 60 jobs. The state capital of Charleston likely also has a high number but unfortunately, data is not available for that region at this time.
When it comes to salary, West Virginia vet techs should keep their expectations low.
According to the BLS, the expected salaries for vet techs across the state are as follows:
- 10th percentile: $18,200
- 50th percentile: $26,210
- 90th percentile: $33,040
Compare those salaries to the national data:
- 10th percentile: $21,890
- 50th percentile: $31,800
- 90th percentile: $47,410
The discrepancy is largest in the 90th percentile, where vet techs in West Virginia can expect to earn less than 70% of the national average.
While the region where a vet tech works can have an impact on how much they make, in West Virginia the range is not very large. Consider the following median salaries for the three reported areas in the state:
- Huntington-Ashland: $29,310
- Charleston: $25,460
- Northern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area: $27,670
Those vet techs who are committed to finding work in West Virginia should be advised that they may have difficulty landing the perfect job or earning a high salary, however it is possible to succeed in the career with enough perseverance. While there is no state group for vet techs to find camaraderie with their peers, vet techs may consider joining a national association such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA).
|Veterinary Career||West Virginia Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2014)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Choosing an Accredited Vet Tech School in West Virginia
Students who are looking for veterinary technician schools in WV will find a couple that have received American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation. This accreditation ensures a school provides a quality vet tech program and the needed instruction to its students. Read more about the AVMA accreditation process further down the page. Further, AVMA accreditation is required for graduates of vet tech programs who want to work as registered vet techs in West Virginia. The following programs are worth investigating, but aspiring vet techs should be sure the program meets their individual needs before applying.
Carver Career Center (joint program with the BridgeValley Community & Technical College), in Charleston, is one of the schools for potential vet techs to consider. The school currently has probationary accreditation from the AVMA, which they first received in 2009. Schools that are within their first five years of accreditation are given this provisional standing, so it should be updated soon. As of this writing they are in the process of another evaluation that could lead them towards full accredited status. The school offers an associate of applied science degree, which includes courses such as:
- Animal science
- Surgical techniques and nursing
- Veterinary medical terminology
- Veterinary pathology
- Veterinary pharmacology
Another of the veterinary technician schools in WV is Pierpont Community & Technical College. This school has been accredited through the AVMA since 1981. Students receive an associate of applied science degree when completing the vet tech program and take courses such as:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Animal diseases
- Animal care and handling
- Clinical procedures
Students have online options as well. One of the online vet tech schools to consider is San Juan College. It is fully accredited and leads students to an associate of applied science degree. This can be an ideal choice for those aspiring vet techs who want to work while they are in school or who are unable to attend campus courses due to scheduling or physical distance. It should be noted that online students will still have to complete a clinical practicum before they are eligible for registration with the state of West Virginia.
Certification and Accreditation Information and Requirements in West Virginia
The West Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine regulates and licenses those who work in the field of veterinary medicine, including vets, vet techs, and euthanasia techs. Students who want to work as registered vet techs in the state need to make sure they attend a school with AVMA accreditation. They will also need to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which tests their competency in the field. Afterward, they can apply for licensure through the board.
In West Virginia, vet techs need to renew their license annually. During the year, they need to have completed eight hours of continuing education. At least four of the hours need to relate directly to veterinary science, but techs should always consult the board to make sure the CE they are considering has board approval.
The AVMA accreditation process, which is done through the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), involves a self-assessment on the part of the school, as well as site visits from CVTEA members. Accredited institutions must have a curriculum in place that provides the education required for vet techs as well as faculty and facilities to support this curriculum. New institutions are put on a probationary accrediation for 5 years until they can be fully vetted.
Students considering the career should see if the vet tech schools in WV they are considering have AVMA accreditation. Only vet tech programs with this accreditation are guaranteed to meet or surpass the minimum requirements needed for a vet tech education. The AVMA looks at many different things when granting accreditation, including:
- Course of study
- Physical facilities
Students attending an AVMA-accredited school should be confident that they will be well prepared for a career following graduation.
|Vet Techs Must Be Licensed to Practice||Licensed Vet Techs Are Called||Licensing Requirements||Additional Resources|
|Graduate from an AVMA-Accredited Program||Pass the VTNE||Additional Requirements|
|Yes||RVT||No||Yes||West Virginia requires a written jurisprudence examination.||West Virginia Association of Veterinary Technicians|