Veterinary Technician Schools in Arizona


The Grand Canyon State not only boasts an incredible diversity of plant and animal life but also has a thriving culture of animal welfare. By illustration, the Arizona Humane Society offers a wealth of services to help furry, feathered, and scaly-skinned creatures. It provides adoption services, tips for pet-owners, volunteering, vaccination, charity events, and even advocacy for animal protection. The Humane Society also fights to strengthen legislation protecting the vulnerable pet populations dependent on humans for life.

One way for an animal-lover to apply their interests to a career is to become a veterinary technician. This job has a relatively low educational barrier to entry, and a fairly rapid timeline to work. 26 percent of these animal healthcare professionals hold an associate degree, 15 percent hold a post-secondary certificate, and 41 percent hold a high school diploma or equivalent (O*NET 2022). Vet Tech programs generally take just two years to complete, and many involve externships that provide practical and hands-on learning experiences.

So what do veterinary technicians do? Overall, vet techs assist licensed veterinarians in providing high-quality animal healthcare. On a more detailed scale, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides an extensive checklist of necessary skills needed for this occupation such as restraining animals during common procedures, administering anesthesia, maintaining medical records, fulfilling operating room duties & sterilization, assisting with dental procedures (e.g., floating teeth), giving pharmaceuticals, performing necropsies, and doing diagnostic imaging.

What is the scope of practice within the state of Arizona (AZ)? It’s important to note that professional restrictions for vet techs vary by state. In fact, the AVMA (2022) has a table of regionally authorized procedures. The AVMA defines a certified veterinary technician in Arizona as someone who either graduated from a two-year AVMA-accredited program and passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), or had been certified before 2010 according to former rules of the board.

Vet techs in AZ may provide emergency care or first aid under the telephone-based supervision of a veterinarian, demonstrating a relatively generous scope of practice compared to other states. Finally, any certified vet tech who provides emergency care in good faith is not liable for damages barring cases of gross negligence.

Read on to discover the career outlook for vet techs in the Copper State, as well as information about accredited programs (on-campus and online) and how to pursue professional certification.

School Website main address online program Avma Accredited
Mesa Community College 1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, Arizona, 85202NoYes
Penn Foster 14300 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260YesYes
Pima Community College 8181 E Irvington Road, Tucson, Arizona, 85709-4000NoYes
Pima Medical Institute-East Valley 2160 S Power Rd, Mesa, Arizona, 85209NoYes
Pima Medical Institute-Phoenix 13610 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix, Arizona, 85029NoYes
Pima Medical Institute-Tucson 2121 N. Craycroft Rd, Bldg 1Tucson, Arizona, 85712NoYes

Demand & Career Outlook for Vet Techs in Arizona

In Arizona, the future looks very bright for veterinary technicians. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) projects a 15 percent increase nationally in job openings in this field between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average anticipated growth for all occupations during that period (8 percent). With the expected addition of 17,100 positions for vet techs around the country, there are expected to be ample professional opportunities in this field in the coming decade.

How Much Do Vet Techs in Nevada Make?

What about the salary prospects for vet techs? According to the BLS (May 2021), the 118,670 vet techs around the country had an annual average salary of $38,250. This is slightly higher than the average $36,190 earned by vet techs in Arizona the same year.

Here’s is a comparison between the salary percentiles of veterinary technicians in the United States and in Arizona specifically (BLS May 2021):

United States Arizona
Number of vet techs employed 118,670 3,280
Average annual salary $38,250 $36,190
10th percentile $28,370 $29,110
25th percentile $29,810 $29,550
50th percentile (median) $36,850 $36,690
75th percentile $45,750 $37,650
90th percentile $48,100 $46,860

It’s important to look at a salary within the context of the cost of living. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2022) found that AZ was the 36th most affordable place to live in the United States. In terms of the cost of groceries, transportation, utilities, and health, the cost of living in Arizona is just about equal to the United States average.

Vet techs in Arizona seek out employment in a wide range of environments such as animal clinics, veterinary hospitals, biomedical research facilities, universities, specialty practices (e.g., critical care, surgery, rehabilitation, small animal, etc.) clinics, humane societies, shelters, kennels, public health organizations, pet food companies, farms, and more.

In addition to traditional job-hunting services such as Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn, the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association (AzVMA) has an active job posting board with opportunities available at places such as Foothills Animal Hospital, Pima Medical Institute, and Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center. Joining the National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA) may also confer professional benefits, including the ability to network with others in the field, access to an academic journal, and opportunities for continuing education.

Finally, to enhance their job prospects, some veterinary technicians choose to specialize in fields such as critical care, dermatology, exotic animal nursing, equine medicine, dentistry, anesthesia, clinical pathology, surgery, animal behavior, and other subfields. For a detailed examination of how to join these growing specialties, please visit the veterinary technician page.

Veterinary Career Arizona Jobs SALARY DATA (BLS May 2021)
VET TECH 3,280 $29,110 $36,690 $46,860
VET ASSISTANT 2,090 $28,040 $29,780 $37,090

Accredited Veterinary Technician Programs in Arizona

In Arizona, there are six programs (five campus-based programs and one online program) accredited through the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the main accrediting body for vet tech programs in the country. Please reference the section below on program accreditation for more information.

To get into a two to four-year program in veterinary technology, admissions committees may call for official high school transcripts; proof of passing grades in specific classes (e.g., algebra, chemistry, biology, English); solid test scores (SAT or ACT, and TOEFL for non-native speakers of English); letter(s) of recommendation; documentation of immunizations, health insurance, or American citizenship; and an application fee.

It may also behoove applicants to have experience working (or volunteering) with animals in a professional setting to demonstrate one’s commitment to the field.

Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College is a CVTEA-accredited program located in Mesa. Ideal for people interested in a rigorous and challenging educational experience, this associate of applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology degree prepares graduates for vet tech careers that require skills and knowledge involving animal care and management, basic medical sciences, client communications and service, and veterinary medical care.

The program features coursework in principles of equine science; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary clinical pathology methods; animal nursing; animal diseases; veterinary anesthesia, surgery, & emergency nursing; and veterinary office management and client communication. Mesa also boasts an off-campus veterinary teaching lab extensively remodeled in 2011, and an on-campus large animal facility.

Along with general educational requirements, Mesa requires students to complete several hands-on, specialized vet tech internships at approved clinical sites close to the school. 85.37 percent of all program graduates passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) on their first attempt between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: Mesa, AZ
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 36 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $8500

Pima Community College

Pima Community College, in Tucson, offers a CVTEA-accredited associate of applied science (AAS) veterinary technician degree providing students with real-world clinical vet tech experience. Upon successful completion of this program, students will be prepared to take the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) and work as certified veterinary technicians for biological research workers, veterinarians, scientists, and businesses or organizations that provide care for animals.

The program features coursework in veterinary nursing procedures; clinical pathology; pharmacology; radiology & imaging techniques; and two supervised clinical externships. A conditional enrollment program, PCC requires that students complete one reading course and one algebra course with a grade of “C” or higher prior to applying. The program comprises 61 credits.

Although not specifically designed to transfer to a four-year university, these course credits may be used toward a bachelor of applied science (BAS) or other qualifying four-year degrees. Among Pima Community College’s program graduates, 83.7 percent passed the VTNE on the first try between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state resident ($89 per credit); non-resident ($310.50 per credit)

Pima Medical Institute

The other three CVTEA-accredited, on-campus AAS degree programs are offered through the Pima Medical Institute. These programs take place in Mesa (East Valley Campus), Phoenix, and Tucson. Pima teaches the first set of courses using a hybrid learning system with a mix of online and on-campus coursework. Courses include an introduction to veterinary technology; laboratory procedures for veterinary technicians; dentistry techniques; surgical nursing for veterinary technicians; exotic animal medicine and nursing; and more.

The program consists of 78.5 credits, including one externship. The total number of program hours is 1,775, and the degree takes 18 months to complete. Between 2018 and 2021, Pima’s first-time VTNE pass rates were 75 percent in Tucson, 74 percent in Phoenix, and 74.3 percent at East Valley in Mesa.

Graduates of this program will be able to apply their knowledge and skills in a wide variety of environments, such as hospitals, clinics, laboratories, zoos, ranches, wildlife facilities, biomedical facilities, animal control facilities, humane societies, wildlife facilities, and other professional veterinary settings.

  • Location: East Valley, AZ; Phoenix, AZ; Tucson, AZ
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $19,208

Online Vet Tech Programs for Arizona Students

For some aspiring veterinary technicians, attending a campus-based program may not be the most convenient option. There may be restrictions on someone’s availability due to familial, time-based, or regional commitments. Fortunately, there are currently ten CVTEA-accredited distance-based programs to meet the needs of these students. Web-based vet tech programs typically combine online didactic coursework with clinical instruction provided at an approved site under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian.

Penn Foster

Penn Foster has an AVMA-accredited distance-based AAS program in veterinary technology boasting dedicated faculty, interactive study materials, affordable tuition, and ample opportunities for hands-on clinical experiences through Banfield and VCA Animal Hospitals.

Courses in this program include information literacy; veterinary office management; medical mathematics; small and large animal medicine; animal nutrition, reproduction, genetics, and aging; anesthesia for veterinary technicians; surgical nursing for veterinary technicians; clinical parasitology for veterinary technicians; radiography for veterinary technicians; animal anatomy and physiology; and laboratory animal medicine and nursing. The program is made up of 73 credits and includes two externships.

Among the 642 program graduates between 2018 and 2021, 75.86 percent passed the VTNE on their first attempt. Penn Foster also offers a BS in veterinary technology that is designed specifically for students who have already earned an AVMA-accredited associate degree.

  • Location: Online
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Fast track (nine months); Average time (12 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: $85 per credit

For more information about distance-based vet tech programs, please visit the online veterinary technician programs page.

How to Become a Certified Vet Tech (CVT) in Arizona

In order to become a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in AZ, candidates typically follow this trajectory:

  • Graduate from high school with qualifying grades in courses such as biology, chemistry, algebra, and English
  • Graduate from a two- to four-year program in veterinary technology accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)
  • Successfully pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
  • Apply for certification through the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board (AZVMEB)

To qualify for certification through the Board, candidates must show proof of having graduated from an AVMA-accredited program, send official VTNE test scores, submit three character references, provide proof of US citizenship, give a resume with proof of two years of employment as a vet tech, pay a $150 fee, and pass a State Board Exam for certification. The Arizona-specific exam is offered three times annually.

Finally, to maintain active certification, CVTs must submit a renewal application and complete 10 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years. All certifications expire on December 31st of every even-numbered year. Also, Arizona has specific rules about the type of CE that qualifies, which are subject to change. For the most recent information, please check out AZVMEB’s continuing education page.

Vet Tech Program Accreditation

As mentioned above, prospective veterinary technicians in AZ are encouraged to seek out programs accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the approval organization created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

To qualify for licensure, certification, or registration in most states—including Arizona—graduating from an AVMA-accredited program is a requirement. Additionally, in order to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)—the predominant national credentialing exam for vet techs—a candidate must have completed a two to four-year AVMA-accredited program.

The CVTEA weighs many factors in its program approval process, such as institutional accreditation status, quality of physical facilities, student outcomes (i.e., VTNE first-time passing rates), faculty prestige, program curricula, student support services, admissions processes, and program financial management.

For a full examination of the criteria, please visit the CVTEA website.

Jocelyn Blore (Chief Content Strategist)

After graduating from UC Berkeley, Jocelyn traveled the world for five years as an English teacher and freelance writer. After stints in England, Japan, and Brazil, she settled in San Francisco and worked as a managing editor for a tech company. When not writing about veterinary technology, nursing, engineering, and other career fields, she satirizes global politics and other absurdities at Blore’s Razor.