In the Pelican State, people take animal welfare seriously, particularly when it’s 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 and 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. 2020), 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 (2019) adds that the scope of practice in this profession varies by state. In LA, registered veterinary technicians (RVTs) have board-issued credentials 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 the 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.
|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||7067 Hwy 10, Greensburg, Louisiana, 70441||No||Yes|
|Northwestern State University of Louisiana||175 Sam Sibley Drive, Natchitoches, Louisiana, 71457||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, five-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 and 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. 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). Between 2016 and 2019, 74 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Delgado Community College of New Orleans provides a six-semester associate of applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology. This program features a combination of hands-on clinical practicums and courses such as animal anatomy and physiology; animal nursing skills; clinical pathology; pharmacology for veterinary technicians; veterinary office procedures and 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. At Delgado, 33 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2017 and 2019.
A third CVTEA-accredited program is offered through Northshore Technical Community College (NSCC) in 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 38.9 percent (2016 to 2019).
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 veterinary 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 2016 and 2019, 61.9 percent of Northwestern State’s program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Accredited Online Vet Tech Programs for Louisiana Students
For students living in more rural regions of LA or who have time commitments preventing them from attending an on-campus program, there are ten CVTEA-accredited online programs. These programs involve a combination of online coursework and clinical training 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 and immunology, animal nutrition of laboratory animals, animal pharmacology and toxicology, vet microbiology and parasitology, and anesthesia and diagnostic imaging. Among program graduates between 2016 and 2019, 67 percent passed the VTNE on their first attempt. Please note that clinicals must be completed 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 at 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 and skill with people, medical nursing for veterinary technicians, small and large animal medicine, anesthesia, pharmacology, surgical nursing, and clinical parasitology. Finally, 71 percent of Penn Foster’s vet tech graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2017 and 2020.
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 2020) reports that there will be 18,300 new jobs for vet techs nationwide between 2019 and 2029. This projected 16 percent increase is four times the average growth anticipated across all occupations during that same decade (4 percent).
Furthermore, according to the most recent data from CareerOneStop (2020)—a data group partnered with the US Department of Labor—veterinary technicians and technologists occupy the third fastest-growing career in Louisiana for people with associate degrees. Between 2018 and 2028, Projections Central anticipates a 7.1 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 Monroe Animal Health, VCA Animal Hospitals, LaPlace Veterinary Hospital, Broussard Veterinary Clinic, Quality Pet Care, Banfield Pet Hospital, Tulane University, Louisiana State University, Robinsons Rescue, and more.
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 2019) reported that there were 110,650 vet techs working across the country with an annual average salary of $36,670. In comparison, the 1,550 vet techs working in Louisiana made an average annual salary of $26,980. In more detail, the BLS (2019) found the following salary percentiles among vet techs nationwide and in Louisiana:
|Number of vet tech professionals employed||110,650||1,550|
|Annual mean wage||$36,670||$26,980|
|50th percentile (median)||$35,320||$25,900|
With salaries lower than the national average, future Louisiana vet techs may be comforted to know that the cost of living in Louisiana is lower than in many other states. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020), Louisiana is the 18th most affordable place to live in the U.S. In comparison to the national average, those living in Louisiana can anticipate spending significantly less on housing and utilities.
|Veterinary Career||Louisiana Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2019)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE)||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 and program finance management
- Organization and communications networks
- Quality of facilities
- Resources available for clinical training
- Libraries and other resources
- Admissions process
- Student outcomes
- Faculty and staff
To learn more 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 an 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:
- VetMed Team
- National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)