Not only does Idaho boast an impressive array of wildlife, but it also has plenty of opportunities for people interested in animal advocacy or providing veterinary care. For example, the Idaho Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA), the second oldest association in the state of Idaho, is a professional, progressive organization known for social responsibility, innovative leadership, and a deep commitment to excellence. The purpose of this association is to advance the science and art of veterinary medicine elevating the standards of the veterinary profession.
Another important organization, the Idaho Board of Veterinary Medicine states that there are certified veterinary technicians (CVTs) and non-certified vet techs in the state, but that “any person who practices as a veterinary technician after the expiration of a certification and who fails to renew or reinstate the certification shall be practicing in violation of Veterinary Practice Act.” In other words, active certification is necessary for practice as a vet tech in Idaho.
So what do these animal healthcare professionals do? According to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), veterinary technicians nationwide play an important role in the veterinary environment by providing assistance to licensed veterinarians with several procedures such as laboratory tests, anesthesia, or post-surgical monitoring; maintaining patient records; educating pet-owners about best practices; processing and analyzing biological samples; keeping equipment sterile; giving immunizations to animals; and helping out with clerical duties.
An Idaho veterinary technician may choose to specialize in a procedure (e.g., radiography, dermatology, critical care, etc.) or patient population (e.g., avian, exotic, equine, etc.) in order to become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS), a process discussed below in the “career outlook” section.
Additionally, the scope of practice for veterinary technicians varies by region. The AVMA (2021) reports that under emergency conditions in Idaho, a veterinarian may delegate life-saving procedures to a vet tech to be performed under indirect supervision, assuming that the veterinarian is en route to the location of the animal patient. This is a much more generous scope of practice than in states which greatly restricts the abilities of vet techs to fulfill some functions of the profession.
Keep reading to discover the promising career outlook for ID vet techs, including the salary prospects, accredited vet tech programs (on-campus and distance-based), and how to become certified in the state.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|College of Southern Idaho||315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, Idaho, 83301||No||Yes|
Career Outlook for Vet Techs in Idaho
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021), veterinary technology is a relatively high-growth career. By illustration, the BLS projects that there will be 17,100 new vet tech openings nationwide between 2020 and 2030—a 15 percent increase—a finding much more robust than the average growth anticipated across all occupations during that decade (8 percent).
Projections Central (2021) offers more granular data on the future of vet techs in ID. It found that openings for veterinary technicians and technologists are expected to increase at a slightly lower rate (12.9 percent) than what’s anticipated nationally.
In the Gem State, there is a wealth of institutions that employ veterinary technicians such as vet hospitals, specialty clinics, kennels, farms, parks, universities, research institutions, zoos, kennels, advocacy groups, aquariums, food inspection organizations, pet stores, and sanctuaries. If the traditional job-seeking websites are any indication, there should be plenty of opportunities in this field in the coming years.
By illustration, Indeed (December 2021) advertised opportunities at the VCA Animal Hospitals, People, Pets & Vets, Idaho Humane Society, Petco, Twin Falls Veterinary Clinic & Hospital, and Palouse Animal Wellness & Surgery Center. Monster (December 2021) had additional postings in ID at Banfield Pet Hospital, Broadway Veterinary Hospital, River City Veterinary Hospital, and Companions Animal Hospital.
As mentioned in the introduction, one way for Idaho vet techs to enhance their earning and employment opportunities is to become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS), a niche occupation that hones in on one aspect of veterinary care. There are numerous societies and academies—some offering professional credentialing—which support vet techs in these subfield pursuits.
In fact, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA 2021) outlines some of the VTS areas of expertise, including nutrition, dentistry, avian medicine, critical care, zoological medicine, dermatology, equine nursing, and animal behavior.
To learn in-depth about how to join one of these vet tech subfields, check out the veterinary technician career page.
Vet Tech Salary in Idaho
Vet techs in ID make slightly lower salaries compared to national averages across the profession. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) found an average annual salary of $37,860 among the 109,490 vet techs employed nationwide. For the 660 vet techs employed in ID, this figure was $34,250.
It’s important to note that the cost of living in Idaho is also lower than in many other states across the country. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) reported that Idaho ranks twenty-fifth in affordability, with particular savings in utilities, grocery, and health compared to the rest of the country.
In more granular terms, how much do vet techs make around the country and in Idaho? The table below is a comparison of national and state salaries of veterinary technicians.
|Number of veterinary technicians employed||109,490||660|
|Annual mean wage||$37,860||$34,250|
|50th percentile (median)||$36,260||$32,520|
It’s important to note that these figures also varied based on the source of data. By illustration, Indeed (December 2021) found an average annual salary of $26,600 among Idaho veterinary technicians, and Payscale—a data aggregator of self-reported salaries in common occupations—found national figures which differed from the BLS.
By illustration, PayScale (December 2021), found the following percentiles nationally:
- 10th percentile: $28,000
- 50th percentile (median): $37,173
- 90th percentile: $51,000
Vet Tech Schools in Idaho
Fortunately for aspiring veterinary technicians in ID, there is a range of training options to join the profession. At this stage, Idaho vet techs are strongly encouraged to seek out two- to four-year programs in veterinary technology accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) program-approval organization.
Not only does graduating from a CVTEA-accredited program set a person up to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)—the predominant credentialing exam for vet techs nationwide—but it’s also a prerequisite to becoming a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in Idaho unless a person secures special permission from the Board.
To qualify for a CVTEA-accredited program in veterinary technology, Idaho candidates must submit the following:
- Official high school transcripts
- Proof of having completed course prerequisites (e.g., biology, algebra, chemistry, English, etc.)
- Personal statement (500-600 words)
- Proof of health insurance and/or vaccinations
- Application fee
Additionally, it behooves applicants to have some experience working with animals, and some programs may ask candidates for additional materials such as letters of recommendation, test scores, or candidate interviews.
As of December 2021, there is one CVTEA-accredited program in Idaho.
The College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls provides an accredited AAS program in veterinary technology providing motivated professionals with an opportunity to combine their interest in medicine and science with their love of animals. Students in this program will be prepared to work in a variety of veterinary medical-related settings and will be eligible to sit for the national examination for licensure.
The program offers advanced training in radiology, anesthesiology, clinical pathology, surgical assisting, and hospital management. Students in this program learn to administer oral, intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous medications; place IVs; prepare animals for radiography; monitor animals with blood pressure readings, ECGs & blood gas analysis; collect urine, blood & samples from feces for analysis; and much more.
Courses for this 68-credit program include animal nursing and restraint; animal health records systems; veterinary pharmacology; anesthesiology; applied radiology; animal diseases; and more. Notably, an impressive 79 percent of CSI graduates between 2018 and 2021 passed the VTNE on their first attempt, higher than the national average during that period.
- Location: Twin Falls, ID
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: In-district ($140 per credit); out-of-district ($190 per credit)
Accredited Online Vet Tech Programs for Idaho Students
In addition to the two on-campus schools for vet techs in Idaho, there are also ten CVTEA-accredited online programs. These programs involve both distance-based coursework taken at the convenience of a student as well as in-person clinical sessions completed at approved veterinary facilities close to a student’s home.
San Juan College of New Mexico provides a Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program (VTDLP). Students in this program learn about diagnostic imaging, clinical procedures, surgical, and pharmacology gaining the required business skills necessary for meeting the needs of the vet tech profession. Graduates of this program will be eligible to sit for the VTNE exam and similar regional board exams.
The program consists of 76 to 80 credits. This AAS program requires five-to-seven hours of study per week, including classes such as vet nursing care; small animal diseases; pharmacology & medical therapeutics; vet anesthesia & surgical assisting; vet diagnostic imaging; veterinary medical terminology; vet anatomy & physiology; and emergency and critical care medicine. In addition to online classes, students must enroll in Off-Campus Clinical Instruction (OCCI) sessions.
Most notably, between 2018 and 2021, 86.8 percent of SJC graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
- Location: Farmington, NM
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Expected Time to Completion: Six semesters
- Estimated Tuition: New Mexico residents ($52 per credit); non-residents ($164 per credit)
Penn Foster College—a school-based in AZ which has partnered with Banfield and VCA Animal Hospitals—also offers an affordable online program in veterinary technology at just $85 per credit. The program prepares students for an in-demand career in veterinary healthcare through online, self-paced courses allowing them to complete their study in their own time, using visual learning aids and interactive assessments. Graduates are prepared to sit for the VTNE exam.
Comprising 73 credits, the program includes instruction in areas such as animal anatomy & physiology; veterinary office management; mathematical applications; medical nursing for veterinary technicians; pharmacology; and clinical pathology. Between 2018 and 2021, 75.86 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
The program also includes two clinical externships where students will work alongside licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians to practice the knowledge and skills covered in the program.
- Location: Scottsdale, AZ
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
- Expected Time to Completion: 16 to 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: $85 per credit
As these are only two of the ten accredited online vet tech programs available, check out the full breakdown of distance-based training in this field on the online vet tech programs page.
Vet Tech Certification in Idaho
The Idaho Board of Veterinary Medicine is the main credentialing body for veterinary technicians in Idaho. To practice as a vet tech in the state, a person must have credentialing as a certified vet tech (CVT). In order to qualify, aspiring vet techs in Idaho must have the following:
- Proof of having graduated from an AVMA-accredited program (i.e., program approved by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities [CVTEA[) or other Board-approved training
- Passing score on the VTNE
- Background check and fingerprinting
- At least a 90 percent score on the Idaho Veterinary Technician Jurisprudence Examination
- Application fee
These CVT credentials are valid for two years and must be renewed following the completion of 14 hours of continuing education (CE). Four of these hours can be in practice management, and a maximum of ten hours can be earned in RACE-approved online courses through entities such as:
- VetMed Team
- National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)
Vet Tech Program Accreditation
Finally, vet techs are strongly advised to seek out college programs that have been accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the program-approval branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The CVTEA conducts a site visit and a thorough evaluation of factors including:
- College’s institutional accreditation status
- School & program finances
- Quality of facilities, resources, faculty, and curricula
- Resources available for clinical training
- Admissions processes
- Student outcomes (e.g., VTNE passing rates)
To discover how programs become CVTEA-approved, check out the CVTEA accreditation standards page.