Maine (ME) has rocky coastlines and natural features, which are home to many types of wildlife. Even the most populous city of Portland, Maine has just under 67,000 residents, making it less than 1 percent of the size of New York City.
Despite the Pine Tree State’s relatively small population, there are two accredited vet tech programs available. Following graduation from an AVMA-accredited program, veterinary technicians in Maine can apply for licensure through the Maine Board of Veterinary Medicine.
Continuing education and specialization is also a possibility vet techs can pursue to further their careers. Information on those opportunities, as well as professional support and networking, is available through the Maine Veterinary Medicine Association, which also supports veterinarians in the state. Some specialty areas vet techs may pursue include emergency and critical care, anesthesiology, internal medicine, animal behavior, or dentistry.
Read on to discover accredited veterinary technician programs in Maine, including information on coursework, salary, and licensure.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|University of Maine at Augusta||46 University Dr, Augusta, Maine, 04330-9410||No||Yes|
|York County Community College||112 College Drive, Wells, Maine, 4090||No||Yes|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Maine
Finding the right school in Maine is vital to become a veterinary technician. For licensure purposes, students should attend a program that boasts American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accreditation. This accreditation ensures that a school provides a quality vet tech education to its students that prepares them to begin their professional lives. In Maine, there are two vet techs programs with AVMA accreditation.
The University of Maine at Augusta offers an AVMA-accredited bachelor of science (BS) degree in veterinary technology. The school has had full accreditation from the AVMA since 2002. Students gain training in many areas, including:
- Animal care and handling
- Mammalian anatomy and physiology
- Clinical lab techniques
In addition to labs throughout the program, students have two externships during their final semester. They can complete both at a clinic, or do one at a clinic and one at a laboratory. This gives graduates the hands-on experience they need to begin their careers, as well as important professional contacts for future employment. Facilities for hands-on learning include labs, kennels, a surgical suite, and a radiological suite.
The UMA has a traveling large animal laboratory that covers practice with equine, sheep, goats, bovine, and pigs. The program stresses values such as compassion for animals and their owners, as well as animal and client psychology. Graduates of this program had a first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) of 83.3 percent between 2016 and 2019.
The other Maine program that has been accredited by the AVMA is at York County Community College in Wells, Maine. The two-year YCCC program culminates in an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. Students may begin the program in fall, spring, or summer; however, entering in spring or summer may extend the length of the program.
Students learn through a combination of classroom instruction, labs, and external partnerships and clinical practicums. Courses include animal nutrition; veterinary pharmacology; clinical methods; laboratory animal medicine; large animal management; veterinary imaging and dental; veterinary clinical pathology; and more. Learning outcomes include effective oral, written, and electronic communication skills, knowledge of proper medical terminology, demonstration of ethical and responsible behavior, and a commitment to lifelong learning. Between 2016 and 2019 York County boasted an 87 percent VTNE first-time pass rate.
Accredited Online Vet Tech Programs for Maine Students
Some aspiring veterinary technicians in Maine may be unable to attend courses in person. Fortunately, technology makes online earning accessible, and some great online schools are ready to serve students in Maine.
One of the popular options is San Juan College. The college has full AVMA accreditation, and offers students an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. Vet tech courses are 12 weeks long, and general education courses last 16 weeks. Students can begin the program in January, May, or August of each year.
Courses include vet diagnostic imaging; vet business procedures; vet clinical pathology; vet anesthesia and surgical assisting; vet nursing care; small animal disease and medical therapeutics; and more. In order to demonstrate their knowledge of the AVMA requirements, students create video portfolios of learned skills completed under supervision of approved clinical and preceptorship. San Juan College vet tech graduates had an impressive 88.6 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE exam between 2016 and 2019.
Another option is Penn Foster. The school has full accreditation and also offers students an associate of applied science (AAS) degree. Students learn about animal anatomy, animal care for large and small animals, and more.
It is important to note that students taking online courses will still need to demonstrate real world skills through externships and other clinical experiences in order to find employment. Penn Foster graduates had an average first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 67 percent between 2016 and 2019.
How to Become a Vet Tech in Maine
Here are common steps to become a licensed veterinary technician (LVT) in Maine:
- Step 1: Graduate high school (four years). According to CareerOneStop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, just 2 percent of veterinary technicians in the U.S. have less than a high school education. High school students that know what career they want to pursue should pay close attention to classes such as biology and chemistry, which will be helpful in further studies and future work. Students may also find it useful and inspirational to volunteer at a local animal shelter or veterinary office.
- Step 2: Complete an accredited vet tech program (two to four years). Vet techs in Maine must complete a vet tech program before they can apply for licensure. Approved programs must be “certified according to the standards adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities or an equivalent program, as determined by the board, and who has passed an examination prescribed by the board.”
- Step 3: Take the VTNE (timeline varies). The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) is a prerequisite for licensure as a vet tech in Maine. Exam scores should be sent directly to the Board of Veterinary Medicine and reported on the licensure application.
- Step 4: Apply for vet tech licensure in Maine (timeline varies). After completing steps one through four, vet techs are eligible to apply for licensure in the state of Maine. License applicants must submit a completed application along with an application fee of $35 and criminal background check fee of $21. Upon approval, the license will be emailed to the vet tech. Veterinary technicians must renew their license annually for a fee of $50.
Professional networking and development is important for veterinary technicians who are just starting out. Groups such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) and local organizations like the Maine Veterinary Medicine Association offer the opportunity for techs to meet other veterinary professionals, learn about continuing education training, and establish a sense of community within the profession.
Salaries and Demand for Vet Techs in Maine
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maine currently employs 780 veterinary technicians (BLS May 2019). Vet techs in Maine work in private veterinary practice, animal shelters, and educational facilities.
In the U.S., the overall demand for vet techs nationally is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average of all occupations (5 percent). Things are not quite as optimistic in Maine specifically, but demand in the state is still expected to grow by 6 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to CareerOneStop. This growth rate means an additional 60 jobs for vet techs in Maine.
According to the BLS (May 2019), here is how salaries in Maine compare to average vet tech salaries across the nation:
|Number of vet techs employed||110,650||780|
|Average annual salary||$36,670||$36,530|
|50th percentile (median)||$35,320||$35,920|
Something important to keep in mind when considering becoming a vet tech in Maine is cost of living. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Maine is the 41st most affordable state in the U.S. This may explain why entry level salaries for vet techs in Maine come in slightly higher than the average, as a response to helping vet techs afford the relatively high cost of living.
|VETERINARY CAREER||MAINE JOBS||SALARY DATA (BLS 2019)|
|LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE)||MEDIAN SALARY||HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)|
Requirements for Maine Vet Tech Licensure and Program Accreditation
Before veterinary technicians can apply for professional licensure, they need to meet certain requirements set forth by the Maine Board of Veterinary Medicine. They must first complete their degree at a school that has accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
After graduation, or when they are nearing graduation, students need to take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which is an exam that tests their basic vet tech knowledge, and have those results submitted to the licensing board. After passing the exam, they will apply to the board for their license. This license needs to be reviewed and renewed each year on September 30.
In Maine, there are no continuing education requirements for vet techs. However, it is still in the best interest of practicing vet techs to keep up with the latest changes and new technologies in the field in order to advance in the vet tech career. Vet techs can look for courses to take or seminars to attend throughout the country. Even reading veterinary journals and maintaining a professional network of other vet techs and veterinarians can help in this pursuit of knowledge.
As mentioned above, the vet tech schools in Maine chosen for training need to be approved and AVMA-CVTEA accredited. Before the AVMA grants accreditation, it looks at a school program to make sure it meets or surpasses expected requirements. Some of the variables the AVMA considers during the accreditation process include:
- Informational resources
|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||LVT||Yes||Yes||Applicants are required to complete a criminal background check.||Maine Veterinary Medical Association|