While there aren’t any wolverines remaining in Michigan, the Wolverine State still boasts plenty of veterinary services and career opportunities for animal-lovers. For example, the Michigan Humane Society provides services for tens of thousands of animals annually. In 2015, this estimable organization found homes for 100 percent of the healthy dogs and cats in its care and it aims to achieve guaranteed placement of all treatable animals as well. Established in 1877, this is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country, working to end pet homelessness, reunite lost pets with owners, and advocate against animal cruelty.
Becoming a veterinary technician in Michigan is a high-growth career prospect for people interested in animal healthcare. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), vet techs have a number of job responsibilities such as restraining animals during common procedures; assisting veterinarians with the administration of anesthesia, dental procedures, surgeries, or diagnostic imaging; processing laboratory samples; sterilizing medical equipment; and monitoring the health condition of animal patients.
Some vet techs choose to specialize and hone their skills in areas such as clinical pathology, equine medicine, dermatology, rehabilitation, behavior, livestock, marine animals, radiology, and other subfields of the discipline.
AVMA (2020) adds that the scope of practice for vet techs varies by state. In Michigan, the only regional restrictions specified for veterinary technicians and assistants is that they cannot diagnose, prescribe medication, or perform surgeries. Veterinary personnel aren’t liable for civil damages when things go wrong, barring special circumstances. The relatively relaxed governing of the profession in this state allows vet techs to take on greater responsibilities. That said, to practice as a vet tech in MI, a person must be a licensed veterinary technician (LVT).
So how does a resident of the Great Lakes State pursue this in-demand career? Here are the typical steps to becoming a vet tech in MI:
- Graduate from high school, completing courses such as chemistry, biology, and algebra
- Enroll in a two- to four-year veterinary technology program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) program-approval body
- Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
- Apply for state licensure through the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine and pass the Michigan Veterinary Technician Examination administered by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
Read on to discover the bright outlook for vet techs in MI and to learn about accredited programs as well as professional licensure.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Baker College of Cadillac||9600 E 13th St, Cadillac, Michigan, 49601-9600||No||Yes|
|Baker College of Clinton Township||34950 Little Mack Ave, Clinton Township, Michigan, 48035||No||Yes|
|Baker College of Flint||1050 West Bristol Road, Flint, Michigan, 48507-5508||No||Yes|
|Baker College of Jackson||2800 Springport Rd, Jackson, Michigan, 49202-1290||No||Yes|
|Baker College of Muskegon||1903 Marquette Ave, Muskegon, Michigan, 49442||No||Yes|
|Macomb Community College||14500 E Twelve Mile Rd, Warren, Michigan, 48088-3896||No||Yes|
|Michigan State University||220 Trowbridge Rd, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824||No||Yes|
Vet Tech Schools in Michigan (MI) with AVMA-Accredited Programs
Although application requirements vary for vet tech programs in MI, admissions committees generally call for official high school transcripts with proof of specific coursework (e.g., biology, chemistry, algebra, English); test scores (SAT or ACT, and TOEFL for non-native speakers of English); a background check; proof of immunizations and health insurance; and an application fee. At this stage, it also may be advisable to pursue volunteer or internship work at an animal healthcare facility as more competitive vet tech programs prefer candidates with some experience.
As of early 2020, there are seven campus-based vet tech programs in Michigan accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) main accrediting body for vet tech programs—five of which are offered through Baker College. These programs all have outstanding first-time pass rates on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which is an indicator of the quality of the program. For more information on accreditation, please visit the section below.
Baker College has five campuses* in Michigan with CVTEA-accredited associate of applied science (AAS) programs in veterinary technology. With specialized instruction to prepare students for both the VTNE and Michigan vet tech licensing exam, Baker’s curriculum includes 66 credit hours of coursework and labs. In addition, students complete a capstone/board review and an internship.
Courses in this program include microbiology; anatomy and physiology for veterinary technology; laboratory and exotic animals procedures and nursing; large animal procedures and nursing; veterinary diagnostic imaging; veterinary pharmacology; and more, as well as general education requirements.
Of those who take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), three-year, first-time pass rates (2016-2019) are as follows for the five Baker College campuses: Cadillac (96.2 percent); Clinton Township (90.2 percent); Flint (98.4 percent); Jackson (94.7 percent); and Muskegon (94.5 percent).
*At the time of this writing (March 2020), Baker College of Flint and Baker College of Clinton Township are no longer accepting new applicants.
Macomb Community College of Warren provides a full-time, CVTEA-approved associate of applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology. This 65-credit program includes courses such as small animal diseases; clinical pathology; radiology for veterinary technicians; laboratory & exotic animal techniques; assisting in veterinary surgery; veterinary practice and communications: and more. Many of the courses include lecture and lab components.
Prerequisites include general ed courses and math, chemistry, and psychology courses. Students also complete a capstone course and an internship. Macomb reports an impressive 92.6 percent passing rate on the VTNE between 2016 and 2019.
Michigan State University (MSU) offers a CVTEA-accredited bachelor’s of science (BS) program in veterinary technology. This 120-credit, four-year program includes general education requirements as well as courses in veterinary technology such as comparative anatomy for veterinary technicians; hospital procedures and communication; applied biochemistry and nutrients for vet techs; small animal nursing; radiology; preventative health care for vet techs; surgical nursing and anesthesia management lab; and more. Students then complete 15 credit-hours of clinical clerkship electives in areas such as dermatology, ophthalmology, food animal medicine, oncology, and large animal anesthesia.
Please note that a minimum of 80 verifiable hours of veterinary experience is required to apply to the BS program. Additionally, MSU provides a five-semester certificate of completion option in veterinary technology for applicants who wish to earn an associate’s in applied science with a certificate of completion. Notably between 2016 and 2019, an astonishing 98.76 percent of MSU’s graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Some aspiring vet techs—particularly those living in rural regions of MI—may find it difficult to attend on-campus classes. Others may have familial or other types of time commitments which necessitate some flexibility in scheduling.
For these students, there are currently several CVTEA-accredited, distance-based programs. These typically involve the completion of web-based coursework in conjunction with approved local internships in veterinary settings.
For instance, the prestigious Purdue University based in Indiana hosts an online associate degree in veterinary technology. Students learn through a rigorous combination of 18 clinical mentorships and 35 targeted courses such as anatomy, physiology, lab animal health, principles of anesthesia, and imaging. From 2016 to 2019, 90 percent of Purdue’s distance-based students passed the VTNE on their first try, while 92 percent of the campus-based students passed on their first try.
For more information on distance-based programs in veterinary technology, please visit the online veterinary technician programs page.
Career Outlook for Veterinary Technicians in Michigan (MI)
Luckily for veterinary technicians in Michigan and beyond, this is a high-growth career. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) projects that openings in this field will swell by 19 percent across the US between 2018 and 2028, much more robust than the growth expected of all occupations during that time (5 percent). With the anticipated addition of 21,100 vet tech positions nationwide, there will be employment opportunities for these trained professionals in the years to come.
So how much do veterinary technicians typically earn annually across the country, and how do these figures compare with Michigan’s? according to the BLS (2018), vet techs nationwide have the following salary percentiles:
- 10th percentile: $23,490
- 25th percentile: $28,210
- 50th percentile (median): $34,420
- 75th percentile: $40,710
- 90th percentile: $50,010
The BLS (2018) found that the average annual salary for the 2,370 vet techs working in Michigan is actually slightly higher than the national average. Here is a more granular look at the salary percentiles among veterinary technicians in MI (BLS 2018):
- 10th percentile: $27,470
- 25th percentile: $31,960
- 50th percentile (median): $36,250
- 75th percentile: $41,010
- 90th percentile: $48,940
Vet techs in Michigan can seek employment in a range of environments, including veterinary hospitals, animal clinics, sanctuaries, kennels, research labs, farms, aquariums, zoos, and other facilities. Although some vet techs work regular business hours, due to the nature of providing animal healthcare, some may be asked to work weekends, evenings, or holidays according to the needs of patients.
The Michigan Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT)—a professional organization for vet techs in MI—offers a wealth of services such as a quarterly newsletter, access to continuing education, networking opportunities, mock exams for licensing, and scholarships. MAVT also maintains an active job post page with openings at places such as Davison Veterinary Hospital and the Creekside Animal Hospital.
Additionally, the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) provides a continually updated list of job openings at facilities such as Mattawan Animal Hospital, Arenac Bay Veterinary Services, Eastwood Veterinary Hospital, and Lake Lansing Road Animal Clinic.
|VETERINARY CAREER||MICHIGAN JOBS||SALARY DATA (BLS 2018)|
|LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE)||AVERAGE SALARY (MEDIAN)||HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)|
Licensing for Vet Techs in Michigan (MI)
As mentioned above, prospective vet techs in MI must apply for state licensure through the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine. Michigan’s Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs (LARA) reports that to qualify for state licensure, a candidate must submit official transcripts from a veterinary technology program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)—a branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)—as well as pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), pay a $105 application fee, complete a criminal background check, and take the Michigan Veterinary Technician Examination.
Initially, the Michigan vet tech license must be renewed within the first four months to one year. Thereafter it must be renewed every two years.
Finally, Michigan State University (MSU) offers a list of test-prep and professional resources to aspiring vet techs:
- VTNE Preparation Page
- Martindale’s Virtual Veterinary Center
- Zuku Review for Veterinary Technicians
- VetMedTeam Online Review Course
- Veterinary Information Network (VIN)
Vet Tech Program Accreditation
As mentioned above, to qualify for licensure as a vet tech in Michigan, a candidate must graduate from a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the program approval agency created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
This programmatic accreditation institution evaluates several factors in its process such as program finances, admissions procedures, program curricula, quality of facilities and equipment, student outcomes, and other relevant variables.
For a full description of how vet tech programs are evaluated, please visit the CVTEA webpage.