Deciding on a career path is always 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 heal animals, while also entering into a growing and rewarding field. Further, the vet tech career requires significantly less training than become a veterinarian, meaning that you can start working and earning sooner.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall demand for veterinary technicians is expected to increase by 19% from 2014 to 2024 (BLS, 2014). The average growth expected for all jobs is just 7%, making the vet tech statistics particularly encouraging.
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. Some of the most popular programs in the state include Brown Mackie College, Colby Community College, and Independence Community College. 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|
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 most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2015), there are currently 560 veterinary technologists and technicians employed in the state of Kansas, which amounts to about 0.41 jobs per 1000 total jobs in the state. 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. Follow are the areas where most of the vet tech jobs are concentrated:
- Topeka, KS: 40
- Northwest Kansas nonmetropolitan area: 40
- Northeast Kansas nonmetropolitan area: 90
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:
- 10th percentile: $21,390
- 50th percentile: $31,070
- 90th percentile: $45,710
As a matter of comparison, here are the annual salary ranges for vet techs in Kansas (BLS, 2015):
- 10th percentile: $21,380
- 50th percentile: $28,520
- 90th percentile: $38,850
Following are the median salaries, according to the BLS, throughout the state of Kansas:
- Topeka, KS: $23,150
- Wichita, KS: $28,720
- Northwest Kansas nonmetropolitan area: $24,690
- Northeast Kansas nonmetropolitan area: $23,310
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, 2014)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Vet Tech Schools in Kansas
In order to earn a Kansas Veterinary Technician Registration, students must be a graduate of a program accredited by the AVMA. There are 7 schools in Kansas that have achieved some level of accreditation, although one has since closed and only one has full accreditation, meaning it has been fully evaluated for its curriculum, finances, physical facilities, resources, faculty and staff. Those institutions that have only initial accreditation have not yet been evaluated and approved, but they have been granted “reasonable assurance” that they will earn accreditation.
Colby Community College offers the only program in Kansas that has full accreditation from the AVMA. The school located in Colby, Kansas, also offers a distance-based, online veterinary technology program that has initial accreditation from the AVMA, and awards graduates of both programs an associate of applied science degree. The campus-based program started in 1969, making it one of the oldest programs in the country. Students who attend Colby will find many classes for classroom training as well as clinical training.
Brown Mackie College, has locations in both Kansas City and Salina, each of which has initial accreditation. At Brown Mackie, students combine clinical experience along with classroom instruction. The program covers:
- Lab procedures
- Large animals
- Small animals
- Surgical assisting
Independence Community College, in Independence, may be a good fit for some prospective vet techs. The school has initial AVMA accreditation, 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
Additional AVMA-accredited programs in Kansas include an active program at Heritage College in Wichita, and an inactive one at Wright Career College. The latter school ceased operating as of April, 2016, and no longer offers its veterinary technician program.
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, they 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|