Not only does Idaho (ID) boast a startling array of wildlife, but it also has plenty of opportunities for people interested animal advocacy or providing veterinary care. For example, the Idaho Society of Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (ISVTA) provides education, professional development resources, and public awareness campaigns to facilitate relations between the community and the state’s veterinary professionals. The ISVTA distinguishes between veterinary assistants and technicians, stating that technicians are trained to be a “veterinarian’s assistant, laboratory technician, radiography technician, anesthetist, surgical technician and client educator,” finding employment in “veterinary practices, biomedical research, zoo/wildlife medicine, industry, military, livestock health management, and pharmaceutical sales,” to name a few possible places of employment. The Idaho Board of Veterinary Medicine adds that there are certified veterinary technicians (CVTs) and non-certified veterinary technicians (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? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA June 2016) offers a breakdown of the common responsibilities for veterinary technicians, including helping licensed veterinarians with various procedures (e.g., dentistry, vaccinations, anesthesia, diagnostic imaging); maintaining patient records and the sterility of the clinic; keeping inventory of pharmaceuticals; educating pet-owners about nutrition; and analyzing laboratory samples. 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 (2016) 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 restrict 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.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in Idaho
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|College of Southern Idaho||315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, Idaho, 83301||No||Yes|
Accredited Vet Tech Colleges 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 become 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 July 2017, there was one CVTEA-accredited vet tech program in Idaho. Note that two schools with previously accredited programs are no longer accepting new students, so this number has been reduced from three.
The College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls provides an accredited AAS program in veterinary technology, offering advanced training in radiology, anesthesiology, clinical pathology, surgical assisting, and hospital management. Notably, an impressive 80 percent of CSI’s graduates between 2012 and 2015 passed the VTNE on their first attempt, significantly higher than the national average during that time period (73.1 percent of US vet tech graduates).
Accredited Online Vet Tech Programs
In addition to the on-campus program at the College of Southern Idaho, there are also eight 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.
For example, San Juan College of New Mexico provides a Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program (VTDLP). This AAS program requires four-to-six hours of study per week, including classes such as veterinary business practices, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology & medical therapeutics, small animal diseases, clinical pathology, and anesthesia. In addition to online classes, students must enroll in Off-Campus Clinical Instruction (OCCI) sessions. Most notably, between 2013 and 2015, 86 percent of SJC’s graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
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 $79 per credit. With instruction in areas such as animal anatomy & physiology; veterinary office management; mathematical applications; medical nursing for veterinary technicians; pharmacology; and clinical pathology. Between 2013 and 2016, 67.75 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
As these are only two of the eight 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.
Career Outlook for Vet Techs in Idaho
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2015), veterinary technology is a relatively high-growth career. By illustration, the BLS projects that there will be 17,900 new vet tech openings nationwide between 2014 and 2024—a 19 percent increase—a finding much more robust than the average growth anticipated across all occupations during that decade (7 percent).
In the Gem State, there is a wealth of institutions which 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. As of September 2016, the Idaho Society of Veterinary Technicians and Assistants (ISVTA) posted job openings for vet techs at places such as the Indian Creek Veterinary Hospital, the College of Southern Idaho, Brown Mackie College, WestVet Emergency and Specialty Center, the Idaho Humane Society, and the Idaho Falls Veterinary Emergency Clinic. Additionally, more traditional job-hunting sites such as Indeed (2016) advertised opportunities at the Boise Cat Clinic, the Orchard Animal Hospital, Northwoods Veterinary Hospital, Ammon Veterinary Hospital, Prairie Animal Hospital, Eagle Animal Clinic, and the Panhandle Animal Shelter.
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 which 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 2016) 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.
Idaho Vet Tech Salary Data
Not only is there a bright career outlook for veterinary technicians in Idaho, but the salary prospects are promising given the relatively cheap cost of living in the state. To this point, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2016) found the ID was the third most affordable state in the US and enjoyed especially high savings in housing compared to the cost index for the entire country. Keep this in mind while evaluating the following figures.
First, here’s a breakdown of vet tech salaries nationwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2015) reported that there were 95,790 American vet techs with an annual average salary of $33,280 and the following wage percentiles:
- 10th percentile: $21,890
- 25th percentile: $26,350
- 50th percentile (median): $31,800
- 75th percentile: $38,480
- 90th percentile: $47,410
In hourly terms, the BLS vet tech wages equated to:
- 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, these figures varied by source of data. Payscale (Sept. 2016)—a collector of self- reported wages in various occupations—found the following national salary percentiles among its 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
More vet techs chose to respond to Payscale (Sept. 2016) with their wages in hourly terms. Among its 3,152 vet tech respondents in this category, Payscale found the following hourly wage figures which were slightly lower than those from the BLS report:
- 10th percentile: $10.00/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12.00/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $13.68/hr.
- 75th percentile: $16.00/hr.
- 90th percentile: $18.00/hr.
In the state of Idaho, veterinary technicians had somewhat lower wages, but as mentioned above, the cost of living is substantially lower than most of the country. The BLS (May 2015) reported that there were 510 vet techs in ID with an average salary of $27,640 and these percentiles:
Idaho (510 vet techs employed)
- 10th percentile: $20,720
- 25th percentile: $23,650
- 50th percentile (median): $27,480
- 75th percentile: $31,160
- 90th percentile: $36,350
Translated into hourly figures, the Idaho vet techs made:
Idaho: $13.29/hr. average
- 10th percentile: $9.96/hr.
- 25th percentile: $11.37/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $13.21/hr.
- 75th percentile: $14.98/hr.
- 90th percentile: $17.48/hr.
Not surprisingly, these figures also tended to vary based on region of ID. The BLS (May 2015) designated six regions in the Gem State. Boise City boasted the highest employment in the profession and the highest salary figures for vet techs in the state. Here are the vet tech salaries among the six BLS regions in ID:
Boise City, ID (240 vet techs employed): $28,930 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $21,320
- 25th percentile: $25,750
- 50th percentile (median): $29,070
- 75th percentile: $33,470
- 90th percentile: $36,980
Coeur d’Alene, ID (60 employed): $27,700 avg.
- 10th percentile: $21,610
- 25th percentile: $24,200
- 50th percentile (median): $27,180
- 75th percentile: $29,990
- 90th percentile: $35,230
Idaho Falls, ID (30 employed): $25,460 avg.
- 10th percentile: $20,820
- 25th percentile: $22,580
- 50th percentile (median): $25,500
- 75th percentile: $28,560
- 90th percentile: $30,400
Panhandle of Idaho Nonmetropolitan Area (40 employed): $27,150 avg.
- 10th percentile: $20,470
- 25th percentile: $23,180
- 50th percentile (median): $27,130
- 75th percentile: $30,700
- 90th percentile: $35,750
Southcentral Idaho Nonmetropolitan Area (unknown number employed): $25,860 avg.
- 10th percentile: $20,600
- 25th percentile: $22,000
- 50th percentile (median): $24,330
- 75th percentile: $28,370
- 90th percentile: $32,940
Southeast Idaho Nonmetropolitan Area (40 employed): $24,110 avg.
- 10th percentile: $20,110
- 25th percentile: $21,250
- 50th percentile (median): $23,140
- 75th percentile: $25,860
- 90th percentile: $31,110
|Veterinary Career||Idaho Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2015)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Idaho Veterinary Technician Certification
The Idaho Board of Veterinary Medicine is the main credentialing body for veterinary technicians in Idaho. In order 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
- Personal references
- 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)
Accreditation Information for Vet Techs in Idaho
Finally, vet techs are strongly advised to seek out college programs which 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.
|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||CVT||Yes||Yes||In addition to passing the VTNE, Idaho CVTs must also pass the Idaho Veterinary Technician Jurisprudence Examination with a score of at least 90%; complete a background check and fingerprinting; and submit a notarized affidavit of moral character with two personal references.||Idaho Society of Veterinary Technicians|