Veterinary technicians looking for work in the Sunflower State will find plenty of opportunities to put their passion for animals to work. On the domestic side of the animal world, Kansas is home to several animal adoption organizations like Great Plains SPCA in Merriam and the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) in Wichita. Great Plains is a no-kill shelter that found homes for 3,432 animals and reunited 1,016 animals with owners in 2019. KHS found homes for 8,281 dogs, cats, and rabbits, and reunited 614 pets with owners in the same year. Wildlife in Kansas is also abundant.
According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service of Kansas, there are 470 species of birds, 88 mammals, 30 amphibians, and 140 fish species in the state. As of 2020, 6.45 million cows, 2.1 million hogs and pigs, 73,000 sheep, and 4,500 colonies of bees call Kansas home (USDA 2020). In addition, the University of Kansas conducts animal research.
Vet techs have a wide range of responsibilities that include administrative tasks, hands-on animal care, and preparation and/or assistance for medical or surgical procedures. Each state offers vet techs different levels of responsibility and autonomy. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), vet techs in Kansas may complete tasks under indirect supervision if the supervising veterinarian has left them a treatment plan and/or if they’ve completed three years or more of veterinary school. Vet techs may also administer gratuitous aid, assistance, or relief in veterinary emergencies, so long as they don’t misrepresent their skills or claim to be a veterinarian.
According to predictions by Projections Central (2020), those wishing to become nurses of animal medicine in Kansas can anticipate a 21.2 percent rate of growth for the occupation between 2018 and 2028. Professional organizations like the Kansas Veterinary Technician Association (KVTA) and the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA) offer services and events that aid vet techs in finding employment, connecting to the veterinary community, and helping vet techs to stay well-trained through continuing education opportunities.
One way for aspiring veterinary technicians to tap into this growing job market is through accredited veterinary technology programs. Keep reading for a comprehensive look at accredited options for training, career and salary prospects, and how to become a vet tech in Kansas.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Colby Community College||1255 S Range, Colby, Kansas, 67701||Yes||Yes|
|Independence Community College||1057 West College Avenue, Independence, Kansas, 67301-0708||No||Yes|
|Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology||4501 E. 47th Street, South Wichita, Kansas, 67210||No||Yes|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Kansas
In order to earn their Kansas Veterinary Technician Registration, students must graduate from a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the program approval branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)–the main accrediting body for veterinary technicians. There are three schools in Kansas that offer CVTEA-accredited programs for veterinary technicians, one of which offers both online and on-campus programs. Following is a breakdown of each of these programs.
Colby Community College (CCC) offers an on-campus program and a distance-based vet tech program. Located in Colby, the 82-credit, on-campus AAS degree in veterinary technology was established in 1969 and is fully accredited by the AVMA. Students must complete 22 to 26 credits of prerequisites before beginning the program. Hands-on training is delivered through exposure to college-owned animals including guinea pigs, horses, cats, dogs, rabbits, rats, and more.
Besides the main campus in Colby, CCC runs a 60-acre agricultural center to the east of the city. The on-campus program is full-time and includes courses such as breeds of domestic animals; medical records and veterinary office skills; anatomy and physiology of domestic animals; VT pharmacology; animal facility management; large animal medicine and surgery; and many more. All students in the on-campus program become members of the Student Veterinary Technology Association which is a student chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). 80 percent of CCC’s graduates passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) on their first attempt between 2017 and 2020.
Colby Community College also offers a distance-based, online AAS degree in veterinary technology that is CVTEA-accredited. This is also an 82-credit program including the same curriculum as the aforementioned on-campus program. Students in this program gain hands-on experience by working in veterinary hospitals near where they live.
Courses are asynchronous and provide flexibility for online students. Students are not required to visit campus but may attend on-campus weekend mentorships that take place the fall semester including a microbiology mentorship, lab animal/exotic pet mentorship, and a large animal mentorship. During the program, students are required to work with veterinary hospitals to complete clinical hours and meet the hands-on skills required by the AVMA. In order to document proficiency in the required skills, students record videos of their demonstration of the AVMA essential skills while working under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian or credentialed veterinary technician. These videos will be reviewed by vet tech program faculty.
Online students must have a computer with a headset and microphone, webcam, and high-speed internet. First time VTNE pass rates for CCC distance learning graduates between 2017 and 2020 were 76.5 percent.
Independence Community College, in Independence, KS, can a good fit for some prospective vet techs. This program is also CVTEA-accredited and leads vet tech students to an associate of applied science (AAS) degree. The program has many different courses that prepare students for real-world work, including:
- Animal facility management
- Anatomy and physiology of domestic animals
- Large animal health care
- Small animal health care
- Principles of anesthesiology
- Veterinary surgical nursing and clinical skills
Students at Independence Community College also complete hands-on field experience and professional internships during the 81-credit program. Between 2016 and 2019, 35 percent of test-takers from Independence passed the VTNE on their first try.
Finally, WSU Tech offers a CVTEA-accredited associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology. Concepts covered in the program include clinical procedure assistance, patient management, and patient care.
Courses in this 68-credit program include veterinary nursing: large animal disease and medical care; veterinary emergency, critical medicine and hospital procedures; diagnostic imaging; veterinary pharmacology; and much more. Students also complete clinical practicums to meet AVMA required skills demonstration. Between 2018 and 2019, 71.5 percent of WSU tech graduates passed the VTNE the first time.
How to Become a Vet Tech in Kansas
Here is one pathway someone can take that will result in a high likelihood of employment:
Step 1: Graduate High School (Four Years)
In order to be eligible for a veterinary technician program, students must first be high school graduates. In order to give yourself the best chance at being accepted to a vet tech program, students should focus on classes in science, particularly biology and chemistry, as well as mathematics and statistics. Those who do not graduate from high school should be sure to earn a GED prior to applying to vet tech schools.
Step 2: Earn a Veterinary Technician Degree (Two to Four Years)
After graduating from high school, students are eligible to apply to veterinary degree programs. It is important to choose a program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA); otherwise, graduates may not be eligible to become registered veterinary technicians in Kansas. Most accredited programs offer an associate-level degree in veterinary technology. Associates-level degree programs take two years as a full-time student and three or more years for a part-time student.
Step 3: Pass the VTNE
Kansas veterinary technicians must sit for and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) prior to becoming a registered veterinary technician. The VTNE is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. The test is computer-based and evaluates a potential vet tech’s preparedness for entry-level positions in a veterinary office.
Step 4: Apply for a Kansas Veterinary Technician Registration
Those who pass the VTNE are eligible to apply for the Kansas Veterinary Technician Registration. The application for registration is available from the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Applicants will need to include a copy of their vet tech diploma, proof of citizenship, and a photograph of themselves
Occupational Demand for Vet Techs in Kansas
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall demand for veterinary technicians in the United States is expected to increase by 16 percent from 2019 to 2029 (BLS 2020). This growth rate is four times faster than the four percent growth rate predicted for all occupations in the U.S.
As of May 2019, the BLS reports that the average salary for the 110,650 vet techs in the US was $36,650. The 1,020 vet techs in Kansas earned an average annual wage of $34,200, just slightly less than the national average.
Here are how average vet tech salaries in Kansas compare to average vet tech salaries nationally (BLS 2019):
|Number of vet techs employed||110,650||360|
|Average annual salary||$36,670||$34,200|
|50th percentile (median)||$35,320||$33,230|
Although annual salary averages for vet techs in Kansas fall a bit below the national average, it is important to remember that the cost of living in KS is lower than in most of the country. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020), KS is the fourth most affordable state in the U.S., boasting particular savings in groceries and housing costs compared to the rest of the nation.
Vet Techs may find themselves working in private clinics, animal hospitals, laboratories, colleges, universities, or humane societies. iHireVeterinary (2020) has job listings where vet techs can find employment at organizations like Ceva Animal Health, PETCO, Bluepearl, Kansas State University Foundation, Alpha Consulting, Merk Company, and more.
|Veterinary Career||Kansas Jobs||Salary Data (BLS 2019)|
|LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE)||MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE)||HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)|
Vet Tech Licensing & Registration Information for Kansas
Students looking for vet tech schools in Kansas need to make sure they are choosing a school with an AVMA-accredited vet tech program. The accreditation process that a school goes through is quite intensive, and some of the program aspects the AVMA looks at include:
- Physical facilities
- Staff and faculty
Once graduating from an accredited vet tech program, students will sit for the VTNE. Once a program graduate passes the VTNE, they can apply for licensure by providing the following documentation to the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners:
- Photocopy of diploma
- Passport-style photo
- VTNE scores (only if the VTNE was taken outside of Kansas)
- $20 fee
Once these materials are submitted, license candidates will receive a copy of the Kansas Practice Act with a matching exam. Candidates must get 90 percent of exam questions right on the open book exam to pass. If they don’t, the exam must be retaken. Vet techs must renew licensure in March of each year for $10.
Although vet techs may want to engage in continuing education to stay on top of trends and breakthroughs in veterinary medicine, no continuing education is required for license renewal in Kansas.