Vet Tech Programs in Florida

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Luckily for animal lovers in the Sunshine State, there’s an abundance of accredited veterinary technician (vet tech) schools in Florida (FL). According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)—the primary certifying body for veterinary colleges in the nation—there are eight quality, accredited programs for prospective vet techs, including a distance education option, offered by seven institutions of higher learning.

Two schools of note include the scenic Miami-Dade College, whose student reporters filmed an episode covering the essentials of the veterinary technology program (a video that’s available on iTunes); and Eastern Florida State College, which provides hands-on instruction with furry, feathered, and scaly-skinned patients through its on-campus veterinary center and externships in clinics nearby the main campus.

Not only are there a plurality of AVMA-accredited programs in Florida, but the state also offers one of the most favorable employment climates in the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2021) reports that FL employs 8,580 vet techs, the third most of all states in the U.S. The BLS (2022) predicts that openings for this occupation will swell 20 percent nationally between 2021 and 2031.

Read on to learn about how to become a vet tech in Florida, what programs are available, professional licensing information, and what the detailed job outlook is for the state.

AVMA-Accredited Vet Tech Schools in Florida

School Website main address online program Avma Accredited
City College-Gainesville 7001 NW 4th Blvd, Gainesville, Florida, 32607NoYes
City College-Hollywood 6565 Taft Street, Hollywood, Florida, 33027NoYes
Eastern Florida State College (formerly Brevard Community College) 1519 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, Florida, 32922NoYes
Florida A&M University 4259 Bainbridge Highway, Quincy, Florida, 32352NoYes
Hillsborough Community College 1206 N Park Road, Plant City, Florida, 33563NoYes
Miami Dade College-Medical Center Campus 950 NW 20th Street, Miami, Florida, 33127NoYes
Pensacola State College 5555 West Highway 98, Pensacola, Florida, 32507NoYes
St Petersburg College 12376 Ulmerton Road, Largo, Florida, 33774YesYes

How to Become a Vet Tech in Florida

Here are common steps to becoming a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in Florida:

Step 1: Graduate from a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (two to four years). The AVMA is the main accrediting agency for vet tech schools nationwide. It weighs factors such as quality of facilities, student outcomes, and comprehensiveness of curricula. This process ensures consistency of educational standards across the nation and graduating from one of these approved programs is a prerequisite to taking the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).

Step 2: Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). This examination, while optional for aspiring vet techs in Florida, is essential for these healthcare professionals who are seeking certification. It’s also advisable for people who may move to another state where licensure—and thus passing the examination—is required for practice. There is no state exam in FL as of October 2022.

Step 3: Get certified through the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA) or the Florida Veterinary Technician Association (FVTA). While this licensure is not essential for practice, as mentioned above, it may be advisable for several reasons. First, being a certified professional can indicate a certain standard of performance to future employers. Also, for people who may relocate to other states in the future, having a preexisting certification can make a transfer of employment or licensure less complicated.

Please note that CVTs need to renew their licenses every two years in FL on December 31st of odd-numbered years. This requires an application and 15 hours of continued education (CE).

 

Strong Outlook for Vet Tech Jobs in Florida

Florida has one of the strongest employment climates in the nation for aspiring veterinary technicians. The Sunshine State boasts the third-highest number of veterinary techs currently employed at 8,580 total (BLS May 2021). Furthermore, Projections Central (2022) found that demand for vet techs in Florida specifically is expected to grow 44.8 percent between 2020 and 2030, which means an additional 4,290 openings for these professionals. As mentioned above, there is a 20 percent increase in vet tech positions expected between 2021 and 2031—approximately 24,100 new jobs nationally.

In addition to a favorable employment outlook, the state of Florida offers professional networking and support for vet techs as well. The Florida Veterinary Technician Association (FVTA) is a non-profit organization established in 1975 that certifies vet techs and has a wealth of resources, including job postings, continued education (CE) opportunities, volunteer groups, and a quarterly newsletter.

Vet Tech Salaries in Florida – How Much Do Vet Techs Make?

On a national scale, the 118,670 vet techs across the U.S. made an average of $38,250 per year (BLS May 2021). In Florida, this yearly average is a touch lower, coming in at $35840. With that being said, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2022) finds that the Sunshine State is the 30th most affordable in the country, boasting particular savings in transportation and healthcare costs. Prospective vet techs should keep this in mind while evaluating the following state salary figures. Take a look at how Florida compares with the rest of the nation according to the latest BLS data (May 2021).

United States Florida
Number of vet techs employed 118,670 8,580
Average annual salary $38,250 $35,840
10th percentile $28,370 $28,340
25th percentile $29,810 $29,620
50th percentile (median) $36,850 $36,520
75th percentile $45,750 $38,040
90th percentile $48,100 $46,540

In addition, vet tech salaries in Florida vary widely by region, with a range of an average salary of $31,630 per year in Sebring, Florida to an average of $38,050 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL.

Here is a summary of salary data for vet techs and assistants in FL:

VETERINARY CAREER FLORIDA JOBS SALARY DATA (BLS May 2021)
LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE) MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE) HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)
VET TECH 8,580 $28,340 $36,520 $46,540
VET ASSISTANT 6,730 $22,880 $28,680 $37,390

AVMA-Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Florida

With eight vet tech programs in Florida accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as of October 2022, students have a wealth of options. Following is a list of schools in alphabetical order with some details about each program.

City College (Campuses in Gainesville and Hollywood)

City College offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology at both their Hollywood and Gainesville campuses. The program encompasses seven quarters of 10 weeks each, and students take eight to 16 credits per quarter. Courses include anesthesia and surgery for veterinary nurses; veterinary dentistry; laboratory skills for veterinary technicians; animal nutrition; disease problems in companion animals; and more.

Students complete 1,110 hours of lecture and lab in the classroom in addition to 300 hours of externship at an approved clinic. The total program consists of 101 credits. Please note that between 2018 and 2021, the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) first-time pass rates at City College were quite low, with a pass rate of 25.93 percent at the Gainesville campus and 55.10 percent at the Hollywood campus.

  • Location: Gainesville, FL; Hollywood, FL
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 70 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: $42,560

Eastern Florida State College

Eastern Florida State College (formerly Brevard Community College) in Cocoa, FL, offers an associate of science (AS) degree in veterinary nursing (formerly known as veterinary technology). Students complete at least two years of courses which include clinical practice under supervision both at the college and at external clinical sites. Graduates of this program will be qualified to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).

The curriculum of this 73-credit program includes courses such as principles of nutrition for veterinary technicians; small animal diseases and pharmacology; large animal clinical and nursing skills; animal physiology; veterinary surgical nursing; emergency medicine for animals; and much more.

The program is offered both full and part-time and there is a limit of 25 students accepted into the full-time program. EFSC boasted a first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 83 percent between 2019 and 2022. Notably, Eastern Florida State College also offers a three-semester veterinary assisting certificate program which can either be taken as a full-time, stand-alone college credit certificate or as part of the veterinary nursing AS program.

  • Location: Cocoa, FL
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($104 per credit); non-resident ($405.76 per credit)

Florida A&M University

Florida A&M University (FAMU) offers a four-year veterinary technology degree program that trains students to provide medical and non-medical support to veterinarians. The program emphasizes not only small animal medicine, but also large animal, food animal, and regulatory medicine.

During the first two years of the program, students concentrate on core science requirements. In the final two years, students will apply veterinary concepts at the FAMU Animal Health Complex in Quincy, Florida, and at local clinics and animal facilities. The FAMU facility is located on 260 acres and houses cattle, horses, pigs, chickens, and goats. In 2016, a new facility to house a new surgical suite, prep room, anatomy lab, and small animal holding was completed.

Courses in this 120-credit program include veterinary medical terminology; animal anatomy; zoonotic diseases; microbiology; veterinary radiology for tech; animal disease and prevention; and many more. The FAMU Veterinary Technology Program has strong affiliations with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Florida veterinary technician association, state diagnostic labs, and other regulatory agencies, which provide opportunities for FAMU students to gain knowledge in alternative careers in veterinary medicine, and opportunities to complete externships at these sites.

The FAMU Veterinary Technology program received initial accreditation from AVMA in October 2013. The VTNE first-time pass rate between 2018 and 2021 at FAMU was 80 percent.

  • Location: Tallahassee, FL
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($2,277 per semester); out-of-state ($8,250 per semester)

Hillsborough Community College

Hillsborough Community College of Plant City—just outside of Tampa—provides a two-year associate of science (AS) degree in veterinary technology that consists of 73 credits. The program is very hands-on and can be completed in two years (five terms). Hillsborough prepares students for work in a variety of environments such as private clinics, humane societies, and biomedical research labs, among others. Its mission statement summarizes the program outcome goals which include offering superior instruction, innovative technology, and plenty of empirical, hands-on experience for its students to prepare them for their careers.

Courses include general education credits as well as animal anatomy; animal physiology; large animal diseases; large animal clinical and nursing skills; medicine of laboratory animals; small animal nursing; small animal breeds and behavior; pharmacology for veterinary technicians; and more. Lab and work experience courses are abundant throughout the program experience. Hillsborough graduates enjoyed an 86 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE (2018 to 2021).

  • Location: Plant City, FL
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($104.39 per credit); out-of-state ($379.61 per credit)

Miami-Dade College

Miami-Dade College provides a scenic medical campus that hosts its six-semester associate of science (AS) program in veterinary technology. Students garner 400 hours of clinical exposure and enjoy comprehensive coursework in classes such as animal anatomy; large animal clinic and nursing skills; pharmacology for veterinary technicians; avian and exotic pet medicine; animal lab procedures; large animal diseases; small animal nursing; and several more. Some courses are available online and general education courses for the degree may be taken at the nearest Miami Dade College campus.

Program-specific courses for vet techs are then taken at their Medical Campus in Miami, FL. Miami-Dade College students had an impressive high first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 94.7 percent (2018 to 2021).

  • Location: Miami, FL
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months or more
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($82.78 per credit); non-resident ($331.11 per credit)

Pensacola State College

Pensacola State College located in Pensacola, FL, offers an AS degree in veterinary technology. This is a two-year, full-time degree program and includes both classroom instruction as well as labs and experiences at a clinical work site. Students can choose a three-year plan as well.

The program begins in August each year and students must have completed various general education courses prior to starting the program such as general zoology; principles of biology; English composition; and others. In addition, prior to entering the program students must have completed 30 hours of volunteer experience or observation at a veterinary clinic.

Courses in this 73-credit program include canine and feline behavior; large animal medicine; small animal clinical procedures; radiography; avian, exotic, small mammals, and fish; veterinary emergency medicine; and others. Graduates from Pensacola State College had an incredibly high first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 94 percent between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: Pensacola, FL
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($104.58 per credit); Alabama residents ($114.58 per credit); out-of-state ($419.76 per credit)

St. Petersburg College

For students who cannot or do not wish to attend an on-campus program, St. Petersburg College (SPC) in Largo, Florida offers a 73-credit online associate in science (AS) degree in veterinary technology and a 120-credit online bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree in veterinary technology. The AS program is also offered on-campus.

Before beginning vet tech programming in the AS program, students must complete at least 18 credits of general education courses outlined by the college such as courses in communications, social and behavioral sciences, humanities and fine arts, and others. In addition, students must complete 40 hours of observation in a veterinary clinic prior to entering the program.

To apply to the BAS program, students must have already completed an AVMA-accredited AS or AAS degree in veterinary technology. Classes include small animal breeds and behavior; animal physiology; animal nursing; avian and exotic pet medicine; introduction to dental techniques; and much more.

The programs begin in August, January, and May each year. Students are expected to work 20 hours weekly in an approved veterinary setting to fulfill clinical requirements. Eighty-one percent of SPC graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: St. Petersburg, FL
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: AS (24 months); BAS (48 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Lower division courses (Florida residents: $111.75 per credit; out-of-state residents: $386.90 per credit); upper division (Florida residents: $122.70 per credit; out-of-state residents: $425.79 per credit)

To learn more about accredited distance-based programs, check out the guide to online vet tech degrees.

AVMA Accreditation & Certification for Veterinary Technicians in Florida

To become a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in Florida, one needs to graduate from a training program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technicians Education and Activities (AVMA CVTEA). This organization weighs criteria such as school facilities, quality of instruction, and student outcomes (e.g., the first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam [VTNE], job placements). Graduating from an AVMA-accredited school is also a prerequisite to sitting for the VTNE.

Aspiring veterinary technicians are also encouraged to seek certification through the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA) or the Florida Veterinary Technician Association (FVTA). While being certified is not essential to practice in the state of Florida, it may help people secure employment and higher pay, as well as setting a vet tech up for licensure by reciprocity if (s)he relocates to another state. The application for newly certified vet techs (CVTs) must be completed within six months of passing the VTNE. The requirements include:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay a $75 fee

Please note that these certifications must be renewed every two years (on December 31st of odd-numbered years). This process involves the completion of 15 hours of continued education (CU) credit. Vet techs can find CU opportunities through the FVTA as well as through NAVTA.

In sum, the educational and employment landscapes are favorable for aspiring vet techs in Florida.

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
No CVT Yes Yes As of July 2022, Florida’s practical exam for CVTs has been suspended for review. Although becoming certified isn’t required for practice as it is not regulated by the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine, it may be advisable for those seeking to be employable in other states with reciprocity. Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine
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.