In the Diamond State of Delaware (DE), there’s a long tradition of protecting animals and working to serve their interests. As proof of point, the Delaware Humane Association (DHA) boasts an abundance of services for furry and feathered creatures, including an affordable spay & neuter program, vaccination clinics, animal foster care, dog training & licensing, and a pet food pantry. They also have programs which tap into the mutually beneficial relationship between animals and humans such as Pets for the Elderly and Pets for Patriots. Additionally, the Delaware SPCA has various services for animals and pet-owners in the state, as well as a Community Cat campaign—a partnership with PetSmart Charities—to ensure that the thousands of feral cats in the state end the cycle of kitten overproduction and consequently, end cat homelessness.
One way for an animal-loving resident of Delaware to get involved is to become a licensed veterinary technician (LVT). In the Blue Hen State, licensure is necessary for practice as a veterinary technician (vet tech). According to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA 2016), these animal healthcare professionals take on varied responsibilities such as assisting veterinarians with surgeries; taking diagnostics images; restraining animal patients during routine examinations; taking biological samples (e.g., bodily fluids); testing them in a laboratory through various scientific processes (e.g., urinalysis, hematology, blood chemistry); giving first aid to animals; maintaining veterinary medical records and pharmaceutical inventories; keeping surgical rooms and equipment clean; and educating pet-owners on best practices for animal care. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA 2016) adds that the scope of practice in this profession varies by state. In DE, vet techs can perform the following additional procedures under the immediate supervision of a veterinarian: intubation; monitoring anesthesia levels during procedures; catheterizing arteries or urethras; performing cystocentesis; extracting teeth; and dispensing controlled substances. However, in emergency conditions, DE vet techs may apply tourniquets, give pharmaceuticals, and fulfill additional functions as long as a licensed vet is en route to the healthcare setting.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in Delaware
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Delaware Technical Community College-Owens||21179 College Drive, Georgetown, Delaware, 19947||No||Yes|
Accredited Veterinary Technician Programs in Delaware
In order to qualify for licensure as a veterinary technician in Delaware, a candidate must have graduated from a two- to four-year program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the predominant program-approval entity established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). A majority of vet techs nationwide hold two-year degrees. As proof of point, O*NET (2016)—a partner of the US Department of Labor—reported that 68 percent have associate degrees.
To get into an accredited veterinary technician program, admissions committees typically ask for the following from applicants:
- Official high school transcripts with proof of specific course prerequisites (e.g., chemistry, biology, algebra, English)
- Proof of health insurance and/or immunizations
- Personal statement
- Application fee
Some programs may call for additional requirements such as test scores, experience working with animals, letters of recommendation, or an interview (in-person or online).
As of July 2016, there was one CVTEA-accredited vet tech program in the Blue Hen State. Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC) provides an associate degree in veterinary technology, which features classes such as veterinary anatomy & physiology, animal breeds & behavior, vet anatomy & physiology, clinical pathology, microbiology, veterinary nursing, diagnostic imaging, and veterinary nursing. One of the main metrics for program effectiveness is the first-time passing rate among graduates on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), and DTCC students have performed very well. In fact, between 2012 and 2015, 91.7 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Online Programs for Vet Techs
Since there’s only one CVTEA-accredited vet tech program in DE, it may be more convenient to attend an online program. Particularly for residents of more rural regions of the state or those who have time commitments, enrolling in an accredited distance-based program may be ideal. These programs involve a combination of online coursework and in-person practicums which can be completed at approved animal healthcare facilities close to a student’s home. Throughout the clinical trainings, a licensed veterinarian (or another qualified supervisor) typically sign off as vet tech candidates attain skills progressively.
As of July 2016, there were eight CVTEA-accredited online programs. One of the more competitive online vet tech programs is available at Purdue University. This associate of applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology features 35 courses (45 credit hours) and 17 clinical mentorships. Classes include physiology for veterinary technicians; anatomy for vet techs; small animal nursing & health management; introduction to ophthalmology, dermatology & oncology; imaging for veterinary technicians; pharmacology; public & occupational health; and management topics. Interestingly, 94 percent of Purdue’s on-campus graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2012 and 2015, and rates for online students were slightly lower at 79 percent. Another online associate degree in veterinary technology is available through the Colby Community College (CCC) of Kansas. This school offers coursework in medical records & veterinary office skills; basic nutrition of domestic animals; veterinary immunology; hematology; parasitology; cytology; and small animal clinical procedures, to name a few. Between 2012 and 2015, 64 percent of CCC’s on-campus program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt. Finally, St. Petersburg College of Florida has an associate of science (AS) program in veterinary technology with classes such as animal nursing, medical terminology, veterinary office procedures, animal breeds & behavior, and avian & exotic pet medicine. This program begins in January, May, and August each year, and 75 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first try between 2012 and 2015. Also, credits from this program can also be applied to St. Petersburg’s four-year bachelor of applied science in veterinary technology.
To learn more about web-based programs in veterinary technology, please visit the accredited online vet tech programs page.
Job Outlook for Vet Techs in Delaware
In Delaware and nationally, the demand for qualified veterinary technicians is growing. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2015) anticipates a 19 percent increase in openings in this field around the country between 2014 and 2024, a figure that’s substantially higher than the average growth projected for all occupations in that time period (7 percent). Additionally, the most recent figures from CareerOneStop (2014)—a data organization partnered with the US Department of Labor—indicate that veterinary technologists and technicians occupy the fourth fastest growing career for people with associate degrees in Delaware.
Where Do Vet Techs in Delaware Work?
Luckily for aspiring vet techs in the First State, there is a variety of opportunities in this field. In fact, these healthcare professionals can seek employment in a wide range of environments such as animal clinics, veterinary hospitals, kennels, farms, biomedical research facilities, rescue centers, public policy organizations, food inspection facilities, zoos, aquariums, and universities. While some vet techs in DE work typical business hours, others may be called upon to work evenings, weekends, or holidays to serve the needs of veterinary patients.
iHireVeterinary (July 2016) reported that there were vet tech openings at DE facilities such as Talleyville Veterinary Hospital, VCA Animal Hospitals, Astrix Technology Group, Savannah Animal Hospital, Banfield Animal Hospital, VCA Antech, Inc., and Wildcrest Animal Hospital. Indeed (2016) posted additional openings at places including Governors Avenue Animal Hospital, Main Street Veterinary Clinic, and All Pets Medical Center. In short, there are ample opportunities in this field.
One way for a veterinary technician in DE to enhance his or her employment candidacy is to become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS). There are currently several academies approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA 2016) which offer professional credentialing in some of the subfields of veterinary technology such as critical care, anesthesia & analgesia, dentistry, equine nursing, zoological medicine, clinical pathology, dentistry, dermatology, animal behavior, and surgery. To qualify for credentialing, VTS candidates typically must submit the following:
- An application
- Proof of 1,000-10,000 hours in one’s specialty
- Proof of continuing education (CE) relevant to the subfield
- Letters of recommendation
- Skills assessment
- Portfolio with case logs
- Passing score on a specialized exam
To learn more about how to become a VTS, please check out the main veterinary technician page.
Vet Tech Salary in DE
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2015) found an annual average salary of $33,280 for the 95,790 vet techs working around the country. In more detailed terms, the BLS reported the following salary percentiles for vet techs nationwide:
United States (95,790 vet techs): $33,280 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $21,890
- 25th percentile: $26,350
- 50th percentile (median): $31,800
- 75th percentile: $38,480
- 90th percentile: $47,410
Notably, these figures differed by source. Payscale (July 2016)—a site which aggregates self-reported salary data—found the following salary percentiles among its 327 vet tech respondents:
United States (327 responding vet techs)
- 10th percentile: $21,000
- 25th percentile: $25,000
- 50th percentile (median): $30,914
- 75th percentile: $40,000
- 90th percentile: $49,000
Most of Payscale’s (July 2016) vet tech respondents actually reported their salaries in hourly terms. Here were the hourly percentiles among 3,152 additional responding vet techs around the country:
United States (3,152 responding vet techs)
- 10th percentile: $10/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $13/hr.
- 75th percentile: $16/hr.
- 90th percentile: $18/hr.
The BLS (May 2015) found substantially higher hourly salaries for vet techs nationwide:
United States (95,790 vet techs): $16.00/hour average
- 10th percentile: $10.52/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12.67/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $15.29/hr.
- 75th percentile: $18.50/hr.
- 90th percentile: $22.80/hr.
Interestingly, the 320 vet techs in Delaware had salaries which were lower than national averages. It’s important to note that Delaware’s cost of living is also lower than some states. By illustration, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2016) found that DE was ranked thirty-third nationwide in affordability, boasting particular savings in housing and transportation relative to the rest of the country. Please keep this fact in mind while evaluating the salary prospects in the state.
The 320 vet techs in DE had an annual average salary of $30,890 and the following percentiles (BLS May 2015):
Delaware (320 vet techs): $30,890 annual average
- 10th percentile: $22,110
- 25th percentile: $25,390
- 50th percentile (median): $28,950
- 75th percentile: $35,440
- 90th percentile: $44,450
In hourly terms, these equated to:
Delaware (320 vet techs): $14.85/hour average
- 10th percentile: $10.63/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12.21/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $13.92/hr.
- 75th percentile: $17.04/hr.
- 90th percentile: $21.37/hr.
Not surprisingly, these figures also tended to vary by region within DE. According to the BLS (May 2015), the Wilmington metropolitan area paid the most generous average salary to vet techs in the state. Here are the numbers of vet techs working, average salaries, and salary percentiles between the two BLS-designated regions of DE:
Dover, DE (60 vet techs employed): $26,130 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $20,870
- 25th percentile: $22,490
- 50th percentile (median): $25,130
- 75th percentile: $29,340
- 90th percentile: $33,970
Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division (unknown number of vet techs employed): $28,590 avg.
- 10th percentile: $17,980
- 25th percentile: $20,440
- 50th percentile (median): $24,430
- 75th percentile: $37,370
- 90th percentile: $45,350
According to the BLS (May 2015) these Delaware vet tech salaries equate to the following hourly figures:
Dover, DE (60 vet techs employed): $12.56/hour average
- 10th percentile: $10.03/hr.
- 25th percentile: $10.81/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $12.08/hr.
- 75th percentile: $14.11/hr.
- 90th percentile: $16.33/hr.
Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division (unknown number of vet techs employed): $13.74/hour average
- 10th percentile: $8.64/hr.
- 25th percentile: $9.83/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $11.74/hr.
- 75th percentile: $17.97/hr.
- 90th percentile: $21.80/hr.
|Veterinary Career||Delaware Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2015)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Vet Tech Licensure in DE
As mentioned above, prior to becoming a veterinary technician in DE, candidates must seek licensure through the Delaware Board of Veterinary Medicine. The application to become a licensed vet tech (LVT) in DE requires the following:
- Notarized application
- Official transcripts from an AVMA-accredited (i.e., CVTEA-accredited) veterinary technology program
- Official scores from the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
- Application fee ($87)
These licenses are valid for two years and expire on July 31 of every even-numbered year. Delaware LVTs can renew their state licenses by submitting a renewal application, which includes documentation of 12 hours of qualifying continuing education (CE). Please note that CE requirements are prorated in the first cycle of licensure.
Veterinary Technician Program Accreditation
Aspiring veterinary technicians in Delaware are advised to verify the accreditation status of their programs prior to enrollment. Not only does this process help to establish a baseline of program quality in terms of faculty, curriculum, and student outcomes, but graduating from an accredited program is also a requirement for vet tech credentialing in Delaware and most states.
As mentioned in the programs section, the main accrediting body is the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a program-approval entity established by American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The CVTEA evaluates a number of factors in its accreditation process, including:
- Institutional accreditation
- Student outcomes
- School finances
- Admissions processes
- Quality of facilities
- Availability of student support & resources
For the complete overview of how vet tech programs become accredited, please check out the CVTEA page.
|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|