For animal-lovers in 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 9,000 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 a 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.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in Maryland
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|The Community College of Baltimore County||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). Notably, the vast majority of working vet techs in the US have associate degrees. O*NET (2016)—a partner of the US Department of Labor—found that 68 percent of working vet techs around the country held these two-year degrees.
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 coursework in veterinary medical terminology, veterinary anatomy & physiology, animal nutrition, companion animal disease & pathology, pharmacology & toxicology, and veterinary imaging, to name a few. 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.
Online Programs for Vet Techs
Since there’s only one AVMA-accredited program in MD, some students may find it difficult to attend. Others may have scheduling restraints due to familial or other types of commitments. Luckily there are currently nine online, CVTEA-accredited vet tech programs. These programs generally offer coursework online and have students complete their clinical trainings 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 Cedar Valley College of Lancaster, TX. Cedar Valley—which has had AVMA-accreditation since 2001—teaches students through multimedia coursework in a flexible schedule. Some of the courses include veterinary office management, anesthesia & surgical assistance, and veterinary technology. This school also offers several scholarships including the Distance Education Veterinary Technician Program (DEVTP) Level 1-3 Scholarship and the DCCCD Veterinary Technology Scholarship. Notably, between 2011 and 2014, 78 percent of 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 technology. With 35 courses and 17 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. At Purdue, 94 percent of the brick-and-mortar students passed the test on their first attempt between 2012 and 2015. For online students, it was 79 percent.
For a detailed look at distance-based veterinary technician program, please check out the online vet tech programs page.
Occupational Demand for Vet Techs in Maryland
For veterinary technicians in Maryland (AKA Little America) and nationwide, there is expected to be an explosion of job openings in the decade to come. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2015) anticipates that opportunities in this field will swell 19 percent between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average growth projected in all occupations during that time (7 percent). It’s worth noting that according to CareerOneStop (2014)—a data organization sponsored by the US Department of Labor—veterinary technicians and technologists occupy the fastest growing career in Maryland for individuals with associate degrees. The most recent data as of April 2016 suggests that 420 positions for vet techs will be added in MD between 2012 and 2022.
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 Town & Country Animal Clinic, DocSide Veterinary Medical Center, VCA Animal Hospitals, Basin Run Animal Hospital, and Bush Veterinary Neurology Service, 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 2016). 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 MD
Wages for vet techs in MD are marginally higher than national salary averages in this field. In fact, the BLS (2015) found an annual average salary of $33,280 for the 95,790 vet techs working nationwide. In MD, the average jumped to $35,330 among the state’s 2,250 vet techs. In more detailed terms, the BLS (2015) reported the following salary percentiles among vet techs around the country:
- 10th percentile: $21,890
- 25th percentile: $26,350
- 50th percentile (median): $31,800
- 75th percentile: $38,480
- 90th percentile: $47,410
Interestingly, Payscale (2016)—an aggregator of self-reported salaries—found that its 327 responding vet techs from around the US had similar salary ranges:
- 10th percentile: $21,000
- 25th percentile: $25,000
- 50th percentile (median): $30,914
- 75th percentile: $40,000
- 90th percentile: $49,000
A majority of Payscale’s (2016) vet tech respondents actually provided hourly salary data. Among the 3,152 vet techs respondents, these were the hourly wage percentiles:
- 10th percentile: $10/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $13/hr.
- 75th percentile: $16/hr.
- 90th percentile: $18/hr.
By comparison, the BLS (2015) found the following salary percentiles among the 2,250 vet techs in MD:
- 10th percentile: $23,420
- 25th percentile: $28,270
- 50th percentile (median): $34,600
- 75th percentile: $40,130
- 90th percentile: $48,390
It’s important to note that while these figures are somewhat higher than the BLS (2014) percentiles, the cost of living in MD is also higher. As proof of point, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2015) reported that Maryland is the twelfth most expensive state in which to live, having especially steep housing costs and some savings in utilities and healthcare compared to the rest of the country.
The salaries for vet techs also tend to vary by region of Maryland, as well. Among the three designated regions of the Free State, the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area employed the most vet techs, while the Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville area generally boasted the most generous wages. Here are the salary ranges across the seven BLS-designated areas of MD (BLS 2015):
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD (970 vet techs employed): $33,230 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $21,950
- 25th percentile: $25,180
- 50th percentile (median): $31,000
- 75th percentile: $39,550
- 90th percentile: $48,440
California-Lexington Park, MD (unknown number employed): $39,420 avg.
- 10th percentile: $24,140
- 25th percentile: $32,610
- 50th percentile (median): $42,300
- 75th percentile: $46,530
- 90th percentile: $49,080
Cumberland, MD-WV (40 employed): $24,400 avg.
- 10th percentile: $17,230
- 25th percentile: $18,120
- 50th percentile (median): $19,620
- 75th percentile: $32,680
- 90th percentile: $36,790
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV (100 employed): $25,660 avg.
- 10th percentile: $20,210
- 25th percentile: $21,950
- 50th percentile (median): $24,830
- 75th percentile: $29,110
- 90th percentile: $33,130
Salisbury, MD-DE (100 employed): $30,880 avg.
- 10th percentile: $23,350
- 25th percentile: $26,150
- 50th percentile (median): $29,240
- 75th percentile: $35,200
- 90th percentile: $42,860
Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Metropolitan Division (820 employed): $39,780 avg.
- 10th percentile: $32,130
- 25th percentile: $34,130
- 50th percentile (median): $37,440
- 75th percentile: $42,980
- 90th percentile: $49,660
Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland Nonmetropolitan Area (40 vet techs employed): $27,880 avg.
- 10th percentile: $19,610
- 25th percentile: $22,850
- 50th percentile (median): $27,230
- 75th percentile: $31,580
- 90th percentile: $38,040
|Veterinary Career||Maryland Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2015)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Registration for Vet Techs in Maryland
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 official transcript from an associate degree program in addition to proof of certain coursework (6 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.
|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||No||Yes||Maryland Veterinary Medical Association|