In the Pelican State, people take animal welfare seriously, particularly when it’s the hurricane season. In fact, the Louisiana SPCA urges the state’s citizens to incorporate their pets into their disaster evacuation plans, ensuring that their animal’s vaccinations and identification tags are current, as well as packing extra food and supplies. The organization plans a wealth of charity events throughout the year—including Dine Out 4 Paws, Jazzi Sunday Brunch, Frisky Felines Friday, and the Patriotic Pooches Walk—to raise money for various pet-loving causes. On August 1, 2018, the Good Samaritan law went into effect to help protect minors and animals who are unattended in a vehicle. There are specific requirements to carrying out a rescue but the law was enacted to protect children and animals from overheating in unattended vehicles. Additionally, the Louisiana (LA) SPCA holds courses and seminars on topics such as pet first aid & CPR, humane law enforcement, and dealing with feral cats. For Bayou State residents interested in promoting the well-being of furry, feathered, and scaly-skinned creatures, becoming a veterinary technician is one possible career path.
So what do vet techs in LA do? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA Nov 2017), vet techs fulfill an invaluable role in animal healthcare, taking on responsibilities such as assisting vets with common procedures (e.g., vaccinations, surgeries, dental cleanings, radiographic images); holding down animals during routine examinations; maintaining veterinary health records; keeping inventories of pharmaceuticals and other supplies; performing basic laboratory tests; and educating pet-owners about proper care. Depending on a vet tech’s training, they may also specialize in certain types of procedures (e.g., taking diagnostic images, animal dentistry, critical care) or animal populations (e.g., avian, equine, exotic animals). The AVMA (2017) adds that the scope of practice in this profession varies by state. In LA, a registered veterinary technicians (RVTs) have a board-issued credential and may perform the following procedures without direct supervision of a veterinarian: giving medications, taking impressions, teeth floating, developing dental diagnostic images, and taking records of dental pathologies. For a full list of the restrictions on scope of practice, please consult the AVMA’s chart or the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.
Read on to learn about the bright career prospects for vet techs in LA, what to expect from an accredited vet tech program, and how to register as a vet tech in the state.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in Louisiana
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Baton Rouge Community College||201 Community College Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70806||No||Yes|
|Delgado Community College||615 City Park Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70119||No||Yes|
|Northshore Technical Community College||1710 Sullivan Dr, Bogalusa, Louisiana, 70427||No||Yes|
|Northwestern State University of Louisiana||University Parkway, Natchitoches, Louisiana, 71497-0002||No||Yes|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Louisiana
In order to become a registered veterinary technician (RVT) in LA, candidates typically graduate from a two- to four-year program in veterinary technology accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) main approval body for educational programs. In order to gain entry, LA applicants typically must submit the following:
- Official high school transcripts with proof of having completed specific classes (e.g., biology, algebra, English)
- Personal statement
- Proof of health insurance and/or vaccinations
- Application fee
Please note that some programs call for letters of recommendation, experience working in an animal healthcare setting, test scores, measures of physical fitness (e.g., being able to lift 50 lbs.), or additional course prerequisites such as animal health careers. There are four CVTEA-accredited programs in Louisiana:
Baton Rouge Community College offers a full-time, 5-semester associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. Courses include animal nursing skills, general microbiology, exotic animal medicine, trends in veterinary technology, animal breeds & behavior, and imaging for veterinary technicians. Prerequisites to the program include English composition I, college algebra, biology I for science majors, biology I lab for science majors, and animal health careers. Competition for this program is competitive and includes evaluation of an applicant’s written communication skills, aptitude for the profession, and academic performance. Between 2014 and 2017, 69 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Delgado Community College of New Orleans provides an associate of applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology. This program features a combination of hands-on clinical practicums and courses such as animal anatomy & physiology; animal nursing skills; clinical pathology; pharmacology for veterinary technicians; veterinary office procedures & management; anesthesia; small animal medicine; and surgical nursing. Program goals include teaching attitudes of excellence, teamwork, professionalism, personal responsibility, and respect for animals and their owners. One measure of program effectiveness is the first-time passing rate among graduates on the predominant credentialing exam for vet techs: the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). At Delgado, 61 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2014 and 2017.
A third CVTEA-accredited program is offered through Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC) Greensburg, LA. This two-year program combines classroom teaching with labs and supervised clinical externships. The program is a hybrid of online learning through Canvas and hands-on instruction at the Florida Parishes Campus and at local farms and horse stables. Courses include human animal bond; lab animal medicine; parasitology for veterinary technicians; veterinary office and hospital procedures; animal nursing; animal anatomy and physiology; understanding animal behavior, handling and care; and more. The NTCC first-time pass rate on the VTNE is 33.3% (2014-2017).
Finally, Northwestern State University of Natchitoches, LA, provides both an associate degree program and a bachelor of science (BS) in biology with a concentration in veterinary technology. Courses for the veterniary portion of these degrees include veterinary medical terminology; animal care and health; veterinary anatomy and physiology; diseases of animals; veterinary hospital technology; veterinary radiology and imaging; and more. Students complete a host of labs and an internship to gain the hands-on skills needed to pass the VTNE and become a registered veterinary technician (RVT) in LA. Between 2014 and 2017, 60 percent of Northwestern State’s program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Accredited Online Vet Tech Programs
For students living in more rural regions of LA or who have time commitments preventing them from attending an on-campus program, there are eight CVTEA-accredited online programs. These programs involve a combination of online coursework and clinical trainings at approved local sites close to students’ homes. For example, Jefferson State Community College of nearby Alabama offers an online associate program in veterinary technology with classes such as animal diseases & immunology, animal nutrition of laboratory animals, animal pharmacology & toxicology, vet microbiology & parasitology, and anesthesia & diagnostic imaging. Among program graduates between 2014 and 2017, 70 percent passed the VTNE on their first attempt. Please note that clinicals must be completed at in Alabama, and therefore this program may be ideal for LA residents who live close to the state border.
A more flexible online vet tech associate program is available Penn Foster College, a vibrant distance-based college boasting affordable tuition ($79 per credit), renowned faculty, and individualized attention. With clinical components of the program available at Banfield and VCA Animal Hospitals nationwide, Penn Foster offers didactic classes online such as veterinary office management & skill with people, medical nursing for veterinary technicians, small & large animal medicine, anesthesia, pharmacology, surgical nursing, and clinical parasitology. Finally, a 63.3 percent of Penn Foster’s vet tech graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2014 and 2017.
To discover other distance-based opportunities in veterinary technology, please visit the online vet tech programs page.
Job Outlook for Vet Techs in Louisiana
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2017) reports that there will be 20,400 new jobs for vet techs nationwide between 2016 and 2026. This projected 20 percent increase is nearly three times the average growth anticipated across all occupations during that same decade (7 percent). Furthermore, according to the most recent data from CareerOneStop (2018)—a data group partnered with the US Department of Labor—veterinary technicians and technologists occupy the fourth fastest growing career in Louisiana for people with associate degrees. Between 2014 and 2024, CareerOneStop anticipates a 25 percent increase in veterinary technology jobs in LA.
Where Do Louisiana Vet Techs Work?
While many vet techs in the Creole State work in veterinary clinics and hospitals, they are also employed by farms, aquariums, biomedical research labs, animal sanctuaries, zoos, kennels, humane societies, universities, pet stores, public policy organizations, and more. Some of these animal healthcare professionals work typical business hours, while others may be called upon to work nights, holidays, or weekends, depending on the needs of their patients.
In addition to iHireVeterinary—a job hunting site specializing in animal healthcare—Indeed boasts employment opportunities for vet techs at places such as Destrehan Animal Hospital, St. Gabriel Animal Hospital, MidCity Veterinary Hospital, Town and Country Veterinary Clinic, MedVet Medical & Cancer Center for Pets, and others.
Additionally, some LA vet techs choose to specialize their skills and become veterinary technician specialists (VTS). The National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) reports that there is an abundance of professional credentialing societies and academies in areas such as dentistry, dermatology, critical care, zoological medicine, nutrition, avian medicine, equine nursing, and animal behavior, to name a few. In order to become credentialed, candidates typically need to have documented experience in their subfield, proof of specialized education, and a passing score on an exam. To learn more about how to become a VTS, please check out the vet tech career page.
Vet Tech Salary in Louisiana
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2017) reported that there were 103,430 vet techs working across the country with an annual average salary of $34,710 or $16.69/hr. In more detail, the BLS (May 2017) found the following salary percentiles among vet techs nationwide:
- 10th percentile: $22,880
- 25th percentile: $27,430
- 50th percentile (median): $33,400
- 75th percentile: $39,860
- 90th percentile: $49,350
In hourly terms, these figures equated to:
- 10th percentile: $11.00/hr.
- 25th percentile: $13.19/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $16.06/hr.
- 75th percentile: $19.17/hr.
- 90th percentile: $23.73/hr.
Interestingly, these national figures tended to vary by source of of data as well. Payscale (July 2018)—a site which relies on self-reported salaries—found the following percentiles among its 463 responding vet techs:
- 10th percentile: $20,000
- 25th percentile: $25,000
- 50th percentile (median): $30,887
- 75th percentile: $39,000
- 90th percentile: $47,000
Even more veterinary technicians reported hourly salaries, and Payscale (July 2018) found the following hourly percentiles among 5,097 vet tech respondents around the country:
- 10th percentile: $10.00/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12.00/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $14.16/hr.
- 75th percentile: $16.00/hr.
- 90th percentile: $19.00/hr.
While the BLS found somewhat lower figures for vet techs in LA, it’s important to note that the cost of living in LA is also substantially lower than most states. By illustration, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2018) ranked LA nineteenth nationally for affordability. Residents of the Creole State enjoy savings particularly in housing and utilities relative to the rest of the nation. Please keep this in mind while evaluating the following salary figures.
The BLS (May 2017) reported that there were 1,150 vet techs working in LA with an average annual salary of $26,000 or $12.50/hr. In greater detail, here are the salary figures among LA vet techs:
- 10th percentile: $18,020 ($8.66/hr.)
- 25th percentile: $21,070($10.13/hr.)
- 50th percentile (median): $24,950 ($12.00/hr.)
- 75th percentile: $29,760 ($14.31/hr.)
- 90th percentile: $35,880 ($17.25/hr.)
Not surprisingly, these figures tended to vary by region of LA as well with the Baton Rouge and Northeast LA nonmetropolitan areas showing the highest salaries. Here were the numbers of vet techs working and salary percentiles among some of the BLS-designated regions of Louisiana (BLS May 2017):
Monroe, LA: (60 vet techs employed): $28,420 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $20,350
- 25th percentile: $21,840
- 50th percentile (median): $24,340
- 75th percentile: $35,540
- 90th percentile: $42,830
Baton Rouge, LA: (unknown number employed): $30,480 avg.
- 10th percentile: $22,400
- 25th percentile: $25,600
- 50th percentile (median): $31,380
- 75th percentile: $35,520
- 90th percentile: $38,010
Lafayette, LA: (unknown number employed): $24,410 avg.
- 10th percentile: $16,390
- 25th percentile: $18,090
- 50th percentile (median): $22,030
- 75th percentile: $27,730
- 90th percentile: $40,800
Lake Charles, LA: (80 employed): $25,000 avg.
- 10th percentile: $17,730
- 25th percentile: $20,680
- 50th percentile (median): $24,240
- 75th percentile: $28,940
- 90th percentile: $32,180
New Orleans-Metairie, LA: (420 employed): $24,950 avg.
- 10th percentile: $17,620
- 25th percentile: $20,560
- 50th percentile (median): $24,290
- 75th percentile: $28,540
- 90th percentile: $31,410
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA: (180 employed): $26,580 avg.
- 10th percentile: $19,950
- 25th percentile: $22,450
- 50th percentile (median): $26,810
- 75th percentile: $30,150
- 90th percentile: $33,680
Central Louisiana nonmetropolitan area: (40 employed): $24,330 avg.
- 10th percentile: $20,860
- 25th percentile: $22,050
- 50th percentile (median): $24,030
- 75th percentile: $26,550
- 90th percentile: $29,620
Northeast Louisiana nonmetropolitan area: (30 employed): $28,230 avg.
- 10th percentile: $16,040
- 25th percentile: $17,480
- 50th percentile (median): $26,910
- 75th percentile: $41,660
- 90th percentile: $47,600
|Veterinary Career||Louisiana Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2017)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Vet Tech Program Accreditation
For Louisiana residents interested in becoming vet techs, seeking out an accredited educational program is essential. Not only is graduating from an accredited program a prerequisite to becoming a registered veterinary technician (RVT) in the state, but it also can ensure a baseline of quality in terms of instruction, program resources, and student outcomes. Aspiring vet techs are encouraged to find programs accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the program-approval branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The CVTEA weighs several factors in its accreditation process such as:
- Institutional accreditation
- School & program finance management
- Organization & communications networks
- Quality of facilities
- Resources available for clinical training
- Libraries & other resources
- Admissions process
- Student outcomes
- Faculty & staff
To learn in depth about each of these factors, please check out the main CVTEA accreditation page.
Louisiana Vet Tech Registration Process
In order to practice as a veterinary technician in LA, candidates must first register with the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine (LBVM). The LBVM calls for the following in its registration process:
- Notarized application with references
- Two “reference of personal and professional character” forms
- Passport-style photograph
- Proof of graduation from an AVMA-accredited (i.e., CVTEA-accredited) program
- Application and certificate fees ($25 + $30)
- Passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
Finally, to maintain active registration, LA vet techs must renew their credentials annually and complete 10 hours of continuing education (CE), five of which can be completed online. There is a wealth of organizations which offer web-based CE opportunities, including:
|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||Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association|