In the Hoosier State, people take the treatment of animals very seriously. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health details several laws regarding the neglect or cruelty toward furry, feathered, and scaly-skinned beings, including prohibitions on abuse and less obvious laws regarding punishment for attendance at animal fighting contests.
In 2019, the Indiana Humane Society—the sole open-door shelter in IN provided services to more than 10,000 dogs and cats, achieved a live release rate of 99 percent and offers services like low-cost vaccine clinics to make procedures accessible to all pet owners. It’s clear that this state is home to many animal-lovers and luckily for those seeking a high-growth career with only two years of postsecondary education, there are many accredited veterinary technician schools in Indiana.
O*NET (2019)—a data organization sponsored by the US Department of Labor—details some of the responsibilities for vet techs across the country which include monitoring the health condition of animals; assisting veterinarians with common dental, diagnostic, surgical, and laboratory procedures; administering medical treatments; keeping inventory of veterinary supplies; educating pet-owners on animal health conditions; sterilizing surgical and lab areas; and performing common procedures such as enemas, wound-cleaning, catheterizations, ear flushes, and gavages. Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA 2020) outlines some state-based restrictions on the scope of practice in this profession which for Indiana, reports:
In an emergency, in the absence of the licensed veterinarian employer, an employee of a licensed veterinarian may perform the duties it is lawful for the employee to perform under the direct supervision of the licensed veterinarian according to the rules of the board and the written authority of the licensed veterinary employer.
This allows for greater independence for vet tech practitioners in Indiana compared to many other states. Also, some vet techs in Indiana choose to specialize through coursework or advanced training in fields such as anesthesia, behavior, clinical pathology, dentistry, dermatology, critical care, equine nursing, nutrition, radiology, and zoology, to name a few.
Read on to discover the career outlook for veterinary technicians in Indiana, as well as to learn about accredited degree programs and how to register as a vet tech in the state.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|International Business College-Indianapolis||7205 Shadeland Station, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46256-3954||No||Yes|
|Purdue University-Main Campus||625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907||Yes||Yes|
Campus-based Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Indiana
For those seeking a career in animal healthcare with a relatively quick educational path, there are two veterinary technician programs in Indiana. Typical requirements to these two- to four-year programs include sending official high school transcripts with proof of having completed specific coursework (e.g., algebra, biology, chemistry, English); submitting test scores from the SAT, ACT, or TOEFL (for non-native speakers of English only); undergoing a background check; writing a personal statement; having proof of immunizations and health insurance; and paying an application fee.
At this stage, it also may be advisable to have volunteering or internship hours working in an animal care setting. Letters of recommendation or interviews may also be recommended, particularly for competitive programs such as the one at Purdue University (see below).
Typical classes for these programs include animal nursing; medical math & terminology; anatomy & physiology; safety & public health; microbiology; pharmacology; parasitology; anesthesia; common surgical procedures; diagnostic imaging; veterinary dentistry; applied animal behavior; veterinary clinic management; and clinical toxicology.
Aspiring vet techs in Indiana are urged to seek out programs accredited by American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the main accrediting body for vet tech programs nationwide. In Indiana, there are two CVTEA-accredited, campus-based programs in addition to a prestigious online program at Purdue. Please reference the section below for more information about accreditation.
It’s important to note that at this time, a majority of vet techs around the US choose to pursue associate degrees. As proof of point, O*NET (2019)—an affiliate of the US Department of Labor—reports that 68 percent of its vet tech respondents from around the country held associate degrees. That said, attending one of the select bachelor’s programs around the country can enhance a person’s job candidacy and earning potential.
Purdue University in West Lafayette offers both on-campus and online programs in veterinary technology at varying levels. The on-campus program offers an associate of applied science degree, bachelor of science degree, and a bachelor of science completion option for those with an associate’s degree. The 70-credit AAS degree offers classes to be taken in a specific order, covering pharmacology, microbiology, parsitology, large animal nursing, clinical pathology, small animal nursing, and more. Students also complete clinical rotations and practicum experiences, having the option of an international practicum.
The 127.5-credit bachelor’s degree at Purdue University combines the AAS degree and BS options into a four-year curriculum including classes such as physiology; parasitology; clinical pathology; dentistry; principles of anesthesia; pharmacology; small and large animal well animal nutrition; diagnostic imaging; and more. Students also complete general education requirements, clinical rotations and practicum experiences, again having the option for an international practicum.
The bachelor’s completion program has the same requirements of 127.5 credits, and students who have already obtained an AS or AAS degree in veterinary technology may apply. Eighty-seven percent of Purdue’s on-campus program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2016 and 2019.
International Business College-Indianapolis offers an AAS degree in veterinary technology. Courses include animal anatomy and physiology; veterinary pharmacology; large animal theory; animal technology; clinical medicine; radiography; surgical nursing; and more. In addition, students complete a VTNE preparation class for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
Students gain a plethora of hands-on experience through labs and mandatory kennel duty, as well as serving in an eight-week externship. Students learn in a simulated veterinary clinic. Between 2016 and 2019, 59.7 percent of graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Online Vet Tech Programs in Indiana and Other States
For some prospective vet techs in Indiana with time commitments based on family, professional, or other matters, attending a distance-based program may be a more convenient option than learning to become a vet tech on campus.
In addition to its on-campus programs, Purdue University offers a distance-based learning program in which graduates can earn an AAS degree in veterinary technology. The program consists of 35 classes and can complete the program at their own pace in as little as three years. Students complete 18 clinical mentorships at approved veterinary health care facilities.
Online students in the vet tech program report studying four to six hours per credit per week in their courses. Online courses include anatomy; physiology; pharmacy procedures; diagnostic imaging; animal agriculture; small animal nursing; microbiology for vet techs; management topics; and more. Notably, 93 percent of the distance-based program graduates between 2016 and 2019 passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
In combination with the Purdue online degree in veterinary technology mentioned above, there are currently eight online, CVTEA-accredited vet tech programs. Among them is St. Petersburg College based in Florida which offers two online veterinary technology programs: an associate of science (AS) and a bachelor of science (BS).
The AS program instructs students in animal anatomy, exotic pet medicine, pharmacology, and animal nursing. The BS program—offered to applicants with associate degrees looking to deepen their knowledge—has three specializations: advanced clinical applications, veterinary hospital management, and combined clinical & hospital management. As part of the requirements for both the AS and BS programs, students must volunteer for 20 hours weekly in a local veterinary facility.
For more information on web-based programs in this field, please check out the online veterinary technician programs page.
Strong Job Demand for Vet Techs in Indiana
For animal-loving Hoosiers and aspiring veterinary technicians nationwide, there’s excellent news: job openings in this field are expected to swell in in the coming decade. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) projects that positions for vet techs will increase 19 percent around the country between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the growth rate expected of all occupations during that time period (5 percent).
This expected addition of 21,100 vet tech jobs nationally is only part of the bright outlook in this field. By illustration, Hoosiers enjoy one of the most affordable states in the nation. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) found that Indiana is the seventh least expensive state in which to live with particular savings in housing and grocery costs relative to the rest of the country. Therefore, even though the state-based annual salaries for vet techs are somewhat lower than national averages, so too is the cost of living in the state.
In May 2019, the annual average wage for vet techs was $35,320. Here is a granular look at the annual salary ranges for vet techs nationwide (BLS May 2019):
- 10th percentile: $24,530
- 25th percentile: $29,080
- 50th percentile (median): $35,320
- 75th percentile: $42,540
- 90th percentile: $51,230
By comparison, the annual average wage for vet techs in Indiana was $32,740. Among the 1,950 vet techs employed in Indiana, the salary percentiles weren’t much lower despite the drastic savings in the cost of living (BLS May 2019):
- 10th percentile: $23,580
- 25th percentile: $27,790
- 50th percentile (median): $32,890
- 75th percentile: $37,350
- 90th percentile: $40,850
Vet techs in Indiana can seek employment across a wealth of institutions such as veterinary hospitals, private clinics, universities, government agencies, biomedical research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, zoos, farms, animal welfare organizations, and other facilities.
The Indiana Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA) maintains an active job board with opportunities at places including the MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets, the Downtown Veterinarian, St. John Animal Clinic, Rockville Road Animal Hospital, and the All Animals Veterinary Clinic. Additionally, the Northeast Indiana Veterinary Medical Association (NEIVMA) offers professional resources to vet techs in the area and an annual meeting for continuing education (CE) credits to maintain professional registration.
Lastly, while some vet techs in Indiana work regular business hours, others work weekends, holidays, and evenings due to the 24/7 nature of providing animal healthcare.
|Veterinary Career||Indiana Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2019)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Median Salary (50th %ile)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Becoming a Registered Vet Techs (RVT) in Indiana
To qualify for employment as a veterinary technician in Indiana, a person must register. The typical steps to becoming a registered vet tech in Indiana include:
- Graduate from high school, taking classes such as biology, chemistry, and math.
- Complete a veterinary technology program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) main program approval agency for vet techs.
- Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).
- Apply for registration through the Indiana Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
The application to the Indiana board requires the completion of a background check; sending official transcripts from a qualifying vet tech program; submitting official VTNE scores (or proof of five years of experience in the field); passing the Indiana-specific, 30-question jurisprudence exam with score of at least 75 percent; giving one passport-style photo; and paying a $30 registration fee.
The vet tech registration in IN must be maintained by completing 16 hours of continued education (CE) every two years to be submitted by January 1st of even-numbered years. In addition to CE opportunities posted through the Indiana Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, online learning opportunities are also available through:
- National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)
- VetMed Team
- Veterinary Support Personnel Network (VSPN)
Vet Tech Program Accreditation
As mentioned above, the primary programmatic accrediting agency for vet tech programs nationwide is the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The CVTEA weighs criteria such as institutional accreditation, curricula standards, student outcomes & progressing-tracking procedures, the effectiveness of facilities & equipment, student support services, and other measures of program quality. For a full overview of how programs are evaluated, please visit the CVTEA website.