Vet Tech Programs in Massachusetts

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Question: What’s the state dog of Massachusetts?

Answer: Not surprisingly, the Boston terrier—a cross between an English bulldog and an English terrier—was designated as the official state dog in 1979.

Speaking of pets, Massachusetts has some of the strictest regulations regarding the possession of animals in the country. In an attempt to protect both the public and wildlife populations, the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs reports that there are three categories of animals for prospective pet-owners: domestic animals, wild animals that require a MassWildlife permit, and wild animals that do not. The only animals that may be taken from the wild as pets are certain species of reptiles and amphibians such as American bullfrogs, milk snakes, snapping turtles, and eastern red-backed salamanders.

Many other animals—including some sold at pet stores in neighboring states—cannot legally become personal pets in MA.

Given these extensive regulations, it makes sense that veterinary technicians in Massachusetts also operate under the scrutiny of state laws. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) outlines several regional restrictions on the scope of practice in this profession. In the Bay State, vet techs can administer controlled substances (e.g., anesthetics) only under the immediate supervision of a veterinarian.

Additionally, Massachusetts (MA) vet techs must have direct supervision while bandaging wounds; polishing teeth; placing catheters; and taking diagnostic images. These animal healthcare technicians can perform some duties without supervision, such as bandaging in emergencies; drawing blood samples; and processing laboratory samples.

So more generally, what do veterinary technicians do? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that vet techs have many responsibilities, including obtaining and recording patient case histories; collecting specimens and performing laboratory procedures; providing specialized nursing care; preparing animals, instruments, and equipment for surgery; assisting in diagnostic, medical, and surgical procedures; exposing and developing radiographs (X-rays); advising and educating animal owners; supervising and training practice personnel; and performing dental prophylaxis.

Currently, there is an optional certification for Massachusetts vet techs available through the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association (MVTA).

Read on to discover the career outlook for vet techs in MA, as well as to learn about accredited programs and professional certification.

Map of Vet Tech Schools in Massachusetts

School Website main address online program Avma Accredited
Holyoke Community College 303 Homestead Ave, Holyoke, Massachusetts, 01040-1099NoYes
Massasoit Community College 900 Randolph Street, Canton, Massachusetts, 02021NoYes
Mount Wachusett Community College 444 Green Street, Gardner, Massachusetts, 01440NoYes
North Shore Community College 1 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, Massachusetts, 01923NoYes
University of Massachusetts- Amherst 431A ISB Amherst, Massachusetts, 01003NoYes

Job Outlook for Vet Techs in Massachusetts

The future looks very strong for veterinary technicians in Massachusetts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) predicted that national openings in this profession will grow 20 percent between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the average projected for all occupations (5 percent). With 24,100 fresh vet tech positions expected in the coming decade nationwide, there should be ample opportunities for animal lovers seeking to break into this career.

With this growth in new jobs, the field of veterinary technology is strong nationally and in Massachusetts. According to Projections Central (2022), the anticipated growth rate for vet techs in the state between 2020 and 2030 is 17.9 percent.

For those who graduate from one of the accredited vet tech schools in Massachusetts, there are employment opportunities across a variety of environments, including small clinics, animal hospitals, universities, zoos, farms, biomedical research facilities, and more. According to Indeed (Oct. 2022), vet techs have opportunities to find jobs in Massachusetts at places like the Veterinary Emergency Group, Harvard University, Callanan Veterinary Group, Petco, and South Arbor Animal Hospital.

The Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association (MVTA) provides several services for people in this field such as continuing education (CE) opportunities, job postings, and professional networking.

Finally, there are several specialties for vet techs designated by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Some vet techs may choose to pursue these specialized skills and credentials in order to enhance their employment prospects and earning potential. Some of the popular subfields include anesthesia & analgesia, animal behavior, clinical pathology, dermatology, critical care, internal medicine, surgery, zoological animals, nutrition, and more.

To learn more about these specialties and how to become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS), please check out the main page on veterinary technicians.

Vet Tech Salaries in Massachusetts – How Much Do Vet Techs Make?

In addition to a strong occupational outlook, Massachusetts boasts salaries that are higher than the national average. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (May 2021), the 118,670 vet techs across the nation earned an average annual salary of $38,250. In comparison, the 3,470 vet techs working in Massachusetts earned $43,290 per year, roughly 13 percent more than the national average.

The following chart illustrates earning potential for vet techs in Massachusetts at various earning percentiles, compared to national figures:

United States Massachusetts
Number of vet techs employed 118,670 3,470
Average annual salary $38,250 $43,290
10th percentile $28,370 $35,460
25th percentile $29,810 $36,810
50th percentile (median) $36,850 $44,210
75th percentile $45,750 $47,760
90th percentile $48,100 $56,350

When considering earning potential, the cost of living is a key piece of the puzzle. Vet Techs in MA fared much better than people in this industry nationwide. It’s important to note that the cost of living in Massachusetts is also significantly higher than in many other regions. In fact, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2022) found that MA is the fifth most expensive state in which to live, experiencing especially steep housing costs relative to the rest of the country. Please keep this in mind while evaluating the salary data within this region.

VETERINARY CAREER MASSACHUSETTS JOBS SALARY DATA (BLS May 2021)
LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE) MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE) HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)
VET TECH 3,470 $35,460 $44,210 $56,350
VET ASSISTANT 1,620 $29,360 $37,360 $49,880

CVTEA-Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Massachusetts

For prospective vet techs in Massachusetts, there are five programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the predominant accrediting body for vet tech programs nationwide. Graduating from a CVTEA-accredited program is a prerequisite to credentialing in most states in the US.

Also, according to O*NET (2022)—a data organization and affiliate of the US Department of Labor—26 percent of its vet tech respondents nationwide held associate degrees.

Here is a breakdown of the five CVTEA-accredited vet tech programs in Massachusetts:

Holyoke Community College

Holyoke Community College has a two-year, CVTEA-accredited AAS program to impart the fundamentals of the field such as how to handle animal patients, administer medications, collect and process laboratory samples, and carefully document records.

Holyoke expresses a wealth of objectives for their veterinary technician program graduates. In addition, they follow the code of ethics outlined by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), and veterinary students take an oath, promising to provide excellent care to animals, alleviate their suffering, and more.

Courses at Holyoke include veterinary practice management; anatomy and physiology of domestic animals; animal diseases; animal nursing; vet laboratory procedures; exotic pets; and veterinary radiology, among others. The program comprises 67 credits. Students complete two externships during the program. Holyoke graduates had a first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 78.13 percent between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: Holyoke, MA
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state student ($24 per credit); New England regional compact student ($36 per credit); out-of-state and international student ($230 per credit)

Massasoit Community College

Massasoit Community College also offers a two-year AAS degree in veterinary technology at their Canton Campus. This program also requires attendance at an information session to apply. Prerequisites include intermediate algebra, preparing for college reading; introductory writing; and biological principles.

Students are trained in vertebrate anatomy & physiology; veterinary microbiology; veterinary parasitology; veterinary clinical methods; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary imaging; large animal medicine & management; laboratory animals and exotics; veterinary anesthesia & surgery; veterinary management; veterinary pathology; and more. The program is made up of 64 credits. Massasoit graduates had a first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 80.65 percent between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: Canton, MA
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($24 per credit); out-of-state ($230 per credit)

Mount Wachusett Community College

Mount Wachusett Community College offers a two-year associate degree in veterinary technology for prospective applicants seeking a highly selective program. Courses in this 73-credit program include veterinary clinical nursing skills; anatomy and physiology of domestic animals; veterinary pharmacology; domestic animal behavior; domestic animal disease and nutrition; veterinary parasitology; farm animal medicine; laboratory animal medicine and management; veterinary clinical laboratory procedures; surgical nursing and dentistry; and veterinary radiology.

Students also complete two 120-hour internship rotations where they can intern in emergency and specialty medicine, wildlife, farm animals, aquatic medicine, and even exotic species! This program is recently accredited, so VTNE first-time pass scores are not available yet.

  • Location: Gardner, MA
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: Massachusetts residents ($25 per credit); New England regional student ($37.50 per credit); non-resident and international students ($230 per credit)

North Shore Community College of Danvers

North Shore Community College of Danvers offers a two-year associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology with classes such as canine and feline behavior; medical terminology; veterinary parasitology; ethics and law for pet care professionals; mathematics for veterinary technology; surgical nursing and anesthesia; theriogenology; and more. The program consists of 64 credits.

Because the admission process is selective, all prospective students must attend an information session in which they will learn about the program and admission requirements as well as import application dates. A certificate of attendance will be administered upon completing the information session which must be submitted with the application.

Notably, NSCC ensures all animals used at the institution are handled, treated, housed, cared for, and transported in humane and ethical ways through their Institution Animal Care and Use Committee which is guided by the Animal Welfare Act. North Shore boasts a 74.35 percent first-time passing rate on the VTNE among its graduates between 2019 and 2022.

  • Location: Danvers, MA
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Massachusetts residents ($25 per credit); New England regional student ($37.50 per credit); out-of-state ($257 per credit)

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

The University of Massachusetts – Amherst (Mount Ida campus) is offering a new four-year bachelor of science (BS) program in veterinary technology. This rigorous program provides students with two years of intensive classroom and lab instruction at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, followed by two years at the dedicated veterinary technology facilities at the Mount Ida campus.

Coursework includes large animal clinical nursing; veterinary microbiology; small animal anesthesia and surgery; veterinary diagnostic imaging; veterinary management; cell and molecular biology; and even parasitology. UMass Amherst, Mount Ida vet tech graduates had a first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 60.5 percent between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: Newton, MA
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($674.50 per credit); out-of-state ($1,558.50 per credit)

Online Vet Tech Programs for Massachusetts Students

For some students with time or distance-based restrictions, attending an on-campus program can be difficult. Luckily there are currently several CVTEA-accredited online programs in veterinary technology. These programs typically involve a rigorous combination of online coursework and clinical mentorship, which can be completed close to a student’s home.

It’s important to note that Massachusetts has relatively strict regulations with respect to online education, and some programs acknowledge in “state authorization” disclosures that they’re unable to provide their program to MA-based students. Prospective students are encouraged to verify with program administrators that MA residents are eligible prior to applying.

Northern Virginia Community College

One CVTEA-accredited online program is offered part-time through Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), which requires two to three visits to the Loudoun, VA campus per semester. In addition, there are some required training activities and off-campus field trips.

This program—ideal for veterinary assistants working at least 20 hours weekly who want to advance their skills—includes general education classes and vet tech fundamentals such as animal diseases; clinical pathology; and wildlife medicine. Between 2018 and 2021, an impressive 76.99 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.

  • Location: Sterling, VA
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Full-time (24 months); part-time (36 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Virginia resident students ($180.40 per credit); out-of-state ($359.65 per credit)

For more information on web-based programs for vet techs, please visit the online veterinary technician programs page.

Massachusetts Vet Tech Certification

As of October 2022, professional credentialing is not necessary to practice as a vet tech in MA. That said, there are some advantages to being certified in MA. It can not only enhance one’s employment prospects within MA, but can also set up a vet tech for licensure, registration, or certification should he or she choose to relocate to another state.

Here are the typical steps to becoming a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in Massachusetts:

  • Graduate from high school
  • Enroll in a two- to four-year veterinary technology program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)
  • Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
  • Apply for certification through the Massachusetts Veterinary Technicians Association (MVTA)

To qualify for certification through the MVTA, candidates must submit an application, pass the VTNE with a score of at least 425, and send in an official transcript from a CVTEA-accredited program in veterinary technology (there are other paths to membership if the vet tech did not attend a CVTEA-accredited program), and pay a $65 application fee. Please note that for candidates without CVTEA-accredited degrees and extensive experience, there is some flexibility.

These certifications are valid for one year and can be renewed following the completion of 12 continuing education units (CEUs). There is a $50 fee to renew and a $25 late fee after December 31st of that year. The MVTA provides a list of approved continuing education (CE) resources such as:

Vet Tech Program Accreditation

As mentioned previously, those seeking a program in veterinary technology in Massachusetts are encouraged to pursue programs approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. The CVTEA evaluates several factors in its program-approval process such as institutional accreditation, curricula, admissions processes, student outcomes assessments, quality of physical facilities, and program finances.

For a detailed look at the criteria, please visit the CVTEA standards of accreditation on its 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
No CVT Yes Yes Massachusetts does not require its veterinary technicians to become certified with the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association (MVTA). At least two years of education in a vet tech program is generally a requirement for most employers. Taking the VTNE upon graduation may still be advisable for those candidates interested in being employable in other states. Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association
Jocelyn Blore (Chief Content Strategist)

After graduating from UC Berkeley, Jocelyn traveled the world for five years as an English teacher and freelance writer. After stints in England, Japan, and Brazil, she settled in San Francisco and worked as a managing editor for a tech company. When not writing about veterinary technology, nursing, engineering, and other career fields, she satirizes global politics and other absurdities at Blore’s Razor.