Deciding on a career path can be a challenge. Many people never manage to find a job that allows them to grow professionally, earn a comfortable living, and also pursue a passion. But those who have a passion for animals might consider a career as a veterinary technician. Veterinary technicians get to work with and help heal animals, while also entering into a growing and rewarding field. Further, the vet tech career requires significantly less training than becoming a veterinarian, meaning that you can start working and earning a living sooner.
Those looking to become a veterinary technician in Kansas (KS) can look forward to the potential demand in coming years, and have many educational opportunities to choose from. There are programs at three institutions in the state including Colby Community College, Independence Community College, and WSU Tech. Because a veterinary technician training program can take an average of two years to complete, there is no time like the present to begin applying to programs and heading down the path towards a new, challenging career.
Map of Vet Tech Schools 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|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Kansas
In order to earn a Kansas Veterinary Technician Registration, students must be a graduate of a program which has been 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 3 schools in Kansas which 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 both an on-campus program and a distance-based vet tech program. Located in Colby, Kansas, the 82-credit, on-campus AAS degree in veterinary technology was established in 1969 and is fully accredited by the AVMA. Students must complete 22-26 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).
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.
Independence Community College, in Independence, KS, may be 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 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.
Finally, WSU Tech (formerly Wichita Area Technical College) 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; veterinary diagnostic imaging with lav, veterinary pharmacology; and much more. Students also complete clinical practicums to meet AVMA required skills demonstration.
How to Become a Vet Tech in Kansas
While prospective veterinary technicians may take meandering paths on the way to becoming registered, there is really only one starting point for pursuing this particular career. That path begins with graduating from high school. In addition, prospective vet techs should expect to spend a minimum of 2 years in an approved vet tech program before beginning work.
Step 1: Graduate High School
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
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 technician in Kansas. Program graduates should earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology. Most AAS programs take two years to complete, depending on whether students enroll full time or part time.
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 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, as well as a photograph of themselves. A full application and requirements are available in a pdf online.
Occupational Demand for Vet Techs in Kansas
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall demand for veterinary technicians is expected to increase by 20% from 2016 to 2026 (BLS, 2017). The average growth expected for all jobs is 7%, making the vet tech statistics particularly encouraging.
There are currently 740 veterinary technologists and technicians employed in the state of Kansas. Vet techs in Kansas may be employed in private veterinary offices, shelters, hospitals, research facilities, or other veterinary environments. Kansas is not a densely populated state, meaning that the vet tech jobs are spread throughout the state, however these same statistics show that 550 vet tech positions are concentrated in the Kansas City, MO-KS area.
Although a veterinary career can be one that helps both animals and people, salary is still a concern. The salary for vet techs in Kansas can vary wildly depending on the region of the state where the tech is employed. As you will see below, some vet techs in Kansas can make significantly more than the national average, while some can make less.
Following is the salary range for national vet techs: $34,710 average annual salary (BLS, May 2017)
- 10th percentile: $22,880
- 25th percentile: $27,430
- 50th percentile: $33,400
- 75th percentile: $38,960
- 90th percentile: $49,350
This equates to the following hourly terms: $16.69/hour average
- 10th percentile: $11.00/hr.
- 25th percentile: $13.19/hr.
- 50th percentile: $16.06/hr.
- 75th percentile: $19.17/hr.
- 90th percentile: $23.73/hr
As a matter of comparison, here are the annual salary ranges for vet techs in Kansas: $31,850 average annual salary (BLS, May 2017)
- 10th percentile: $23,290
- 25th percentile: $27,150
- 50th percentile: $31,210
- 75th percentile: $36,220
- 90th percentile: $39,590
In hourly terms this is: $15.31/hour average
- 10th percentile: $11.20/hr.
- 25th percentile: $13.05hr.
- 50th percentile: $15.49/hr.
- 75th percentile: $17.41/hr.
- 90th percentile: $19.03/hr
Following are the average (mean) salaries, according to the BLS, throughout the state of Kansas:
- Topeka, KS: $30,970
- Lawrence, KS: $30,070
- Wichita, KS: $29,220
- Kansas City, MO-KS: $34,330
- Manhattan, KS: $34,600
- Northwest Kansas nonmetropolitan area: $27,650
- Southeast Kansas nonmetropolitan area: $30,740
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, 2018), KS is the eighth least expensive state in which to live in the US, boasting particular savings in groceries and housing costs compared to the rest of the nation.
Vet techs in KS should consider becoming a part of the Kansas Veterinary Technicians Association, or KVTA. Its website features resources that vet techs may find helpful, including job openings, news, and information on the continuing education necessary to maintain state registration credentials. Further, by joining the association, new vet techs can connect to veteran techs through the KVTA forum and on the association Facebook page.
|Veterinary Career||Kansas Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2017)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||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
After the candidate finishes schooling and receives his or her degree, it’s time to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which is an exam to test entry-level vet knowledge. After passing the test, the candidate can register with the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners. They should fill out the application and provide a copy of the diploma from the vet tech school. If students took the test in another state, they need to forward the scores to the board. If they took the VTNE in Kansas, the scores will already be there. They also need to include a recent photo. The exam work is not over yet. They also need to take the Kansas test law that covers jurisprudence.
Once they have their license, a licensed veterinary technician will pay their renewal fees each year. There are no continuing education requirements in the state, so they do not have to worry about CEs due each year. However, it’s always a good idea to keep up with changes that may occur in the industry.
|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||RVT||Yes||Yes||Applicants in Kansas must submit proof of citizenship and are required to pass an open-book written exam on the Practice Act with a score of at least 90%.||Kansas Veterinary Technician Association|