Vet Tech Programs in Minnesota


In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, animal populations—and by extension, the opportunities for veterinary technicians—are abundant. As proof of point, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that MN boasts the largest wolf and bald eagle populations in the lower 48 states. Additionally, it harbors groups of nine federally endangered and 197 state-listed threatened species. With black bears, moose, timberwolves, common loons, and a wealth of domesticated animals, Minnesota offers ample scaly, feathered, and furry patients across the spectrum of veterinary care.

Furthermore, this state has a unique history of animal welfare advocacy. By illustration, the Animal Folks of Minnesota—a research-based animal protection organization—provides services such as animal cruelty research, criminal justice work, lobbying efforts, educational events, and electioneering. One issue the group highlights is animal hoarding, a phenomenon where an individual accumulates too many animals to give each adequate care.

Some are simply overwhelmed caregivers or rescuers who might have the best intentions but still fail to meet the needs of their animals. Others are exploitative and collect animals for their own gain. The Animal Folks report that there are approximately 3,500 animal hoarders turned in to authorities annually. This is one of many situations where a veterinary technician can assist in returning animal captives to optimal health.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA 2020), a vet tech’s responsibilities vary by state, but typically include keeping medical records of animal patients; helping licensed veterinarians with medical, diagnostic, dental, anesthetic, and surgical procedures; maintaining clinic inventories of supplies; taking and analyzing laboratory samples to assist in diagnosis; and educating pet-owners and other laymen on proper care. They may take blood, place catheters, or provide medications, depending on the region’s scope of practice restrictions.

Although the Gopher State does not require its vet techs to become certified veterinary technicians (CVTs) prior to practice, it may be advisable not only to enhance one’s employment candidacy but also to ease the credential reciprocity process should the person relocate to a new state. The veterinary technician occupation is not included in MN’s Practice Act, according to the Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT), although this may change in years to come.

Read on to discover the high-growth career outlook for vet techs, as well as to learn information about vet tech schools in Minnesota, professional credentialing, and program accreditation.

Map of Vet Tech Schools in Minnesota

School Website main address online program Avma Accredited
Dakota County Technical College 1300 145th Street East, Rosemount, Minnesota, 55068NoYes
Ridgewater College 2101 15th Ave NW, Willmar, Minnesota, 56201NoYes
Rochester Community and Technical College 851 30th Ave SE, Rochester, Minnesota, 55904-4999NoYes
Vermillion Community College 1900 E. Camp Street, Ely, Minnesota, 55731NoYes

Accredited Veterinary Technician Programs in MN

Aspiring veterinary technicians in Minnesota are encouraged to seek out vet tech programs accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a program-approval body established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). There are currently four CVTEA-accredited programs in Minnesota. To discover how vet tech programs become accredited, please reference the relevant section below.

One CVTEA-accredited program in MN is at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount. Offering a 60-credit associate of applied science (AAS) degree, Dakota offers an academically rigorous program designed to prepare graduates to become a key component of an animal healthcare team. The program combines classroom, hands-on work, internships, and lab work to prepare students for work in clinical settings, research, or wildlife rescue.

Coursework in the program includes medical ethics, veterinary pharmacology, veterinary imaging, lab and exotic animals, and vet surgical nursing and dentistry. Dakota earned initial accreditation in 2018, and the three-year pass rates for the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) from 2020 to 2023 is 70.37 percent.

  • Location: Rosemount, MN
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)
  • Tuition: $27,673 total

Ridgewater College of Willmar offers a 75-credit, CVTEA-accredited AAS degree with specialized training in laboratory techniques, veterinary nursing procedures, and disease processes. Ridgewater has a 95 percent job placement rate among its graduates, low tuition, and a range of live animals on campus. Additionally, it has state-of-the-art surgical facilities and equipment used for digital X-rays and dental work. Residents of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin may apply for a reduced reciprocity tuition rate. Finally, Ridgewater had a 55.4 percent first-time passing rate on the VTNE among program graduates between 2020 and 2023.

  • Location: Willmar, MN
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)
  • Tuition: $203.77 per credit

Rochester Community and Technical College also offers an AAS degree in veterinary technology that includes general education courses as well as vet tech courses. The 75-credit program can be completed in two years on a full-time basis.

All students begin in the fall with the vet tech prerequisites. Those who complete these successfully are considered for advancement to the second semester and second year to complete the AAS degree. Courses include small animal care and management; veterinary surgical nursing and anesthesia; large animal procedures; veterinary office procedures; applied diagnostic imaging; and more. Rochester graduates had a 64 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE between 2020 and 2023.

  • Location: Rochester, MN
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)
  • Tuition: $212.71 per credit

Minnesota North College in Hibing offers the only AVMA-accredited program in the northern part of the state. An academically rigorous 75 credits, the AAS program at Vermillion can be completed in five full-time semesters.

Coursework in the program includes animal husbandry, animal behavior, veterinary hospital procedures, small and large animal nursing, kennel/shelter medicine, and parasitology. After the first two years of coursework, students have the opportunity to complete a hands-on summer internship. Vermillion earned its initial accreditation in 2019, and has a three-year VTNE first-time pass rate of 33.33 percent from 2020 to 2023. Current tuition rates are $173 (in-state) and $216 (out-of-state) per credit, excluding fees.

  • Location: Hibing, MN
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)
  • Tuition: $179.13 per credit

Online Vet Tech Programs for Minnesota Students

For Minnesotans who have familial, professional, or other types of commitments that make attendance at a campus-based program difficult, there are currently several CVTEA-accredited, web-based vet tech programs. Typically these programs are suitable for people who have a clinic, shelter, or another type of veterinary office nearby where they can complete their experiential requirements under the guidance of a licensed mentor, fulfilling their skills checklists and doing coursework online.

It’s important to note that the eligibility for distance-based programs varies by state (i.e., often referred to as “state authorization”). In fact, Minnesota has strict requirements about who can provide online education to its residents and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) maintains a list of approved out-of-state online institutions. Aspiring vet techs seeking web-based classes are encouraged to check with program providers if Minnesota residents can enroll.

One distance-based option which does not mention Minnesota among its restricted states is at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). This online vet tech program requires two or three visits to the Loudoun campus per semester. Open to students employed in a vet office at least 20 hours weekly, NOVA offers online coursework in animal diseases, clinical practices, clinical pathology, and wildlife medicine.

Finally, NOVA notes that preference is given to Virginia residents, although enrollment is open to other states as well. Seventy-three percent of NOVA’s program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2020 and 2023. Current tuition rates can be found on their tuition and fees page.

  • Location: Annandale, VA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)
  • Tuition: $185.01 per credit

To learn more about online programs for veterinary technicians, please visit the online veterinary technician programs page.

Job Demand for Minnesota Vet Techs

For vet techs in MN and around the nation, opportunities are expected to explode in the coming years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) projects that job openings in this field will swell 21 percent around the country between 2022 and 2032, substantially faster than the growth anticipated in all occupations during that time (3 percent). With 3,430 vet techs currently working in MN and the expected addition of 25,200 positions in this field nationwide, these figures make for a very bright employment outlook in this field.

So how much money do vet techs make around the US and specifically in MN? According to the BLS (May 2022), here is how Minnesota vet tech salaries compare to vet tech salaries across the United States:

United States Minnesota
Number of vet techs employed 118,750 3,200
Average annual salary $40,770 $42,000
10th percentile $29,000 $32,930
25th percentile $34,510 $37,240
50th percentile (median) $38,240 $39,980
75th percentile $46,740 $46,340
90th percentile $54,680 $50,120

It’s important to note that while many states reported higher salary averages among their vet techs, these regions may incur a higher cost of living as well. In fact, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2023) found that MN ranks #23 nationally on affordability with particular savings in housing and utility costs relative to other states.

Veterinary technicians in Minnesota work in a gamut of environments, including veterinary hospitals, clinics, animal sanctuaries, national parks, zoos, wildlife refuges, laboratories, shelters, universities, farms, and more. Some of these animal healthcare professionals work typical business hours, whereas others may be called upon to work weekends, evenings, or holidays.

In addition to traditional job search websites such as Monster, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and SimplyHired, the Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT) maintains an active job board for vet tech openings in the state in addition to continuing education (CE) opportunities.

Aspiring vet techs in MN may choose to specialize to enhance their skills in one particular area of veterinary technology. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) designates many common specialties such as animal behavior, clinical pathology, zoological medicine, nutrition, dermatology, anesthesia, equine nursing, internal medicine, dentistry, surgery, and rehabilitation.

To learn how to become a vet tech specialist (VTS) in a particular field, please visit the main veterinary technician page.

Vet Tech 3,430 $32,930 $39,980 $50,120
VET ASSISTANT 1,180 $30,240 $36,610 $50,760

Vet Tech Certification in Minnesota

As mentioned in the introduction, veterinary technicians do not have to be certified to work in Minnesota. That said, the Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT) reports that there’s an ongoing effort to include vet tech credentialing under the MN Practice Act.

Furthermore, becoming a certified veterinary technician (CVT) can be advisable to enhance one’s employment candidacy and potentially make the person eligible for licensure, certification, or registration in other states.

The main credentialing agency in MN is a joint committee, comprising the MAVT and the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA). To become a CVT in Minnesota, candidates must graduate from a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), submit an application, and pay a $75 fee.

In order to maintain the credential, candidates must complete ten hours of continuing education (CE) annually. Here is a list of resources to fulfill CE requirements in MN:

  • Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) – annual meeting, seminars
  • Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT) – convention, lectures
  • University of Minnesota – seminars
  • National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) – resource list
  • VetMedTeam – online learning opportunities

Vet Tech Program Accreditation

As mentioned above, to be eligible for certification in MN and most American states, students must graduate from a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a program-approval body founded by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

The CVTEA weighs several factors in its accreditation process such as institutional accreditation, program finances, organization & communications, quality of physical facilities, resources for clinical work, admissions processes, and student outcomes. For a full examination of the program approval criteria, please visit the CVTEA accreditation procedure page.

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.