For animal-lovers in Maryland–the Old Line State–there is a wealth of volunteering, educational, and advocacy opportunities to support creatures great and small.
In fact, the Maryland SPCA finds homes for roughly 3,500 needy pets annually and offers much-needed vaccinations, treatments, and surgery. The spay and neuter clinic provides low-cost services and performs 6,900 surgeries annually. Since 20 percent of the pets which arrive at SPCA annually have wandered away from their homes, the organization strives to locate pet-owners and ensure that microchips or ID tags are up-to-date. Finally, SPCA impressively offers a Kibble Collection program, which provides hundreds of meals-on-wheels and fresh kitty litter to clients in need with pets. With an incredible 95 percent live-release rate, this Baltimore-based agency is one of the most impactful animal welfare groups across the country.
One way to become involved in this important line of work is to become a registered veterinary technician (RVT). The Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners provides a detailed list of skills expected in vet techs, which include maintaining detailed medical records; actively communicating with clients; assisting with patient examinations, emergency procedures, and surgeries; collecting lab specimens to diagnose common conditions; analyzing lab specimens with scientific equipment (e.g., urinalysis, cytology, microbiology, hematology, blood chemistry); taking diagnostic images such as radiographs; monitoring anesthesia during treatments; performing basic first aid and nursing to a range of animal patients; possessing knowledge of animal nutrition; assessing dental health and assisting with treatments; recognizing strange animal behavior; and having a working understanding of pharmacology. Additionally, the Maryland Board details the scope of practice for veterinary technicians in the state.
Interestingly, Maryland (MD) has relatively strict rules of practice regarding the conduct of vet techs and specifies that vet techs may not diagnose, give prognoses, prescribe substances, perform surgeries, or give any treatments without instruction by a licensed veterinarian. They may provide some services under the guidance of a vet such as administering anesthesia; applying casts; extracting teeth; suturing surgical skin; and accessing Schedule II controlled substances. Also, in emergency conditions, MD vet techs may administer first aid or follow a vet’s written protocols.
To discover the bright career outlook for veterinary technicians in MD and to learn about accredited programs and professional certification, please read on.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|The Community College of Baltimore County - Essex Campus||7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland, 21237||No||Yes|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in MD
In the state of Maryland, to become a registered veterinary technician (RVT), a person must have graduated from a two or four-year program in veterinary technology or a related field, preferably one accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). The CVTEA is the main program approval body established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
To gain entry to an associate program in veterinary technology, typical requirements include sending official high school transcripts, completing of specific secondary school coursework (e.g., biology, chemistry, Algebra), submitting proof of health insurance and immunizations, writing a personal statement, passing a test (particularly the TOEFL for non-native speakers of English), and paying an application fee. Some programs may even call for candidate interviews, experience working with animals, or letters of recommendation.
There is currently one program accredited by CVTEA in Maryland: the Essex Campus of the Community College in Baltimore. Essex offers a 65-credit associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. Courses include veterinary medical terminology; veterinary anatomy & physiology; animal nutrition; companion animal disease & pathology; pharmacology & toxicology; veterinary imaging; and more. This rigorous program also includes general education coursework, laboratory sections, and an internship at local facilities to let the student experience some hands-on training and gain the skills needed to pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
Students in this program must have rabies immunizations, proof of health insurance, have a current Tetanus booster, and buy uniforms. The program begins in the Fall of each academic year. Essex graduates have an above-average first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 86 percent (2016-2020).
Online Programs for Vet Techs
Since there’s only one AVMA-accredited program in MD, some students may find it difficult to attend an in-state program. Others may have scheduling restraints due to familial or other types of commitments. Luckily there are currently several online, CVTEA-accredited vet tech programs. These programs generally offer coursework online and have students complete their clinical sessions at approved local facilities such as veterinary hospitals and private practice clinics. While there, a licensed veterinarian can progressively sign off on skills attained.
One distance-based vet tech program is offered through Dallas College (Formerly Cedar Valley College) of Lancaster, TX. Dallas College—which has had AVMA-accreditation since 1978—teaches students through multimedia coursework in a flexible schedule. Students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer and take one or more courses per semester as their schedule permits.
Courses are delivered through multimedia that combines videos, web assignments, textbooks, and in-clinic exercises supervised by a preceptor whose duty it is to verify completion of assignments, exercises, and exams. Preceptors act as mentors to help and tutor the student and must be a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or licensed as an RVT, LVT, or CVT. Some of the courses in this program include veterinary office management; anesthesia & surgical assistance; and veterinary technology. Between 2017 and 2020, 68 percent of online students passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) on their first attempt.
Additionally, Purdue University offers a competitive associate of applied technology (AAS) degree in veterinary nursing. With 35 courses and 18 clinical mentorships, Purdue’s program is arguably one of the most comprehensive. Some of the web-based classes include anatomy for veterinary technicians; small animal nursing and health management; introduction to ophthalmology, dermatology & oncology; and imaging for vet techs. Mentorships include large animal medical nursing, equine medical nursing, parasitology & microbiology, clinical pathology, and small animal diagnostic imaging.
Interestingly, the first-time pass rates on the VTNE differed between on-campus and online students in veterinary technology, but both were very high. At Purdue, 87.7 percent of the on-campus students passed the test on their first attempt between 2017 and 2020, while 95.2 percent of online students passed their first time.
For a detailed look at distance-based veterinary technician programs, please check out the online vet tech programs page.
Occupational Demand for Vet Techs in Maryland
For veterinary technicians nationwide, there is expected to be an explosion of job openings. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) anticipates that opportunities in this field will swell 16 percent between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average growth projected in all occupations during that time (4 percent). According to Projections Central (2021), vet techs in Maryland can anticipate occupational growth of 19.2 percent between 2018 and 2028.
These animal healthcare professionals are employed in a range of environments, including veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, clinics (general and specialty), kennels, farms, laboratories, biomedical research facilities, zoos, aquariums, universities, governmental organizations, and animal welfare agencies. While some may be called upon to work normal business hours, others may be asked to work weekends, holidays, or evenings according to the needs of their patients.
To secure employment in this field, aspiring vet techs are encouraged to use traditional job searching sites such as Monster, Simply Hired, and LinkedIn. Additionally, iHireVeterinary provides an active list of opportunities at local employers in MD such as the Veterinary Neurology and Imaging of the Chesapeake, Maryland SPCA, Kelly Services, Annapolis Animal Hospital, Doc Side VMC, and Bush Veterinary Neurology Serice, to name a few. Also, the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association provides job postings as well as continuing education (CE) opportunities and resources for those interested in veterinary occupations.
Finally, vet techs in MD who wish to specialize in a particular field would be well served to research the societies and academies—some with professional credentialing opportunities—of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA 2020). Popular subfields include nutrition, animal behavior, critical care, clinical pathology, zoological medicine, and anesthesia.
For more information about how to become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS), please visit the main veterinary technician page.
Vet Tech Salary in Maryland
Knowing that the need for vet techs is going to continue to climb in Maryland and nationwide, here are the salary prospects for vet techs nationally and in Maryland according to the BLS (2019):
|Number of vet techs employed||110,650||2,820|
|Average annual salary||$36,670||$37,770|
|50th percentile (median)||$35,320||$35,810|
Luckily for vet techs in Maryland, salaries generally come in equal to or greater than the national averages. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) this higher-than-average reality may be as a result of the relatively high cost of living in Maryland. Maryland is the seventh most expensive place to live in the United States, with housing being particularly costly.
|VETERINARY CAREER||MARYLAND JOBS||SALARY DATA (BLS 2019)|
|LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE)||MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE)||HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)|
Registration for Vet Techs in Maryland- How to Become an RVT
In the state of Maryland, there is some flexibility with how veterinary technicians get registered. To become a registered vet tech (RVT), candidates can take one of three routes with the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (SBVME), the main credentialing organization for this field in the state:
- For graduates of an AVMA-accredited program: send proof of having graduated from an AVMA-accredited veterinary technician program
- For graduates of a non-AVMA program: send an official transcript from an associate degree program in addition to proof of certain coursework (six college-level classes), work experience (10,000 hours), continuing education (24 hours), and a Technician Skills Assessment signed by a licensed veterinarian
- For residents of other states: send a vet tech certification, licensure, or registration from another state and a letter of good standing
For all three groups, candidates must also successfully pass not only the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) but also the Maryland State Board Examination—a jurisprudence examination regarding the local scope of practice within MD. Additionally, all candidates must complete an application, send a 2” x 3” photograph, and pay an application fee.
These registrations are valid for three years and to renew, vet techs must send a letter of good standing and a resume, as well as complete eight hours of approved continuing education (CE) annually. This is a total of 24 hours of CE per registration period.
Vet Tech Program Accreditation
As mentioned above, although graduating from an accredited program is not essential for vet tech registration in MD, it may be advisable. First, it is generally a prerequisite for credentialing in most states. Second, it can enhance the employment options of a vet tech. And lastly, it is typically a prerequisite to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), the main credentialing exam in this field nationwide.
The predominant program accreditation body for vet tech schools is the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a group established by American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The CVTEA evaluates many aspects of a school and program in its approval process, including institutional accreditation, student outcomes, admissions processes, curricula, quality of facilities, availability of student support, and other factors. For the details on vet tech program accreditation, please check out the CVTEA website.