In the Magnolia State, the tradition of advocating for animal rights is strong. AAIM–Animal Advocacy Innitiative of Mississippi–is an organization dedicated to the lobbying for animal welfare issues in MS, and seeks to “protect and/or promote the physical and psychological well-being of animals” as well as other actions to that end. Mississippi (MS) also has a number of groups and businesses committed to animal-loving causes. By illustration, the Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM) is a non-profit working toward being a zero-kill shelter. With abundant adoption services and a 40,000 square foot facility modeled after a children’s museum, HSSM continues to be one of the leading organizations in promoting animal causes throughout the Hospitality State.
One way for people to turn their love of animals into a career is by becoming a veterinary technician. This career has a relatively quick entry-level education to get started—two years for most accredited vet tech programs—and it’s a high growth field in Mississippi. So what do veterinary technicians do? According to the Mississippi Veterinary Practice Act, vet techs must be professionally certified, and the state officially distinguishes between vet technicians and technologists. The former are typically graduates of a two-year post-secondary program, whereas the latter have graduated from a four-year program. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) reports that vet techs in MS have a wealth of important responsibilities in an animal healthcare environment, including restraining animals for veterinarians; assisting licensed vets with common procedures (e.g., dentistry, surgery, anesthesia, diagnostic imaging); performing laboratory tests on samples (e.g., animal bodily fluids); keeping detailed patient records; administering first aid; managing a veterinary clinic or office; maintaining pharmaceutical inventories; sterilizing equipment or surgical rooms; and giving pet owners information about proper animal care and nutrition.
Read on to learn more about the career and salary outlook for vet techs in MS, as well as to explore accredited educational programs and professional certification information.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Hinds Community College||501 East Main Street, Raymond, Mississippi, 39154||No||Yes|
|Mississippi State University||240 Wise Center Drive, Mississippi State, Mississippi, 39762||No||Yes|
Accredited Mississippi Vet Tech Programs
In the Hospitality State, veterinary technicians typically graduate from a two- to four-year program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) main program-approval body in the country. To learn more about the accreditation process, please reference the last section of this article.
In order to gain entry into a program in veterinary technology in MS, candidates typically need to submit the following:
- Official transcripts from secondary school with proof of having completed specific classes (e.g., biology, algebra, English)
- Proof of health insurance or immunizations
- Test scores (e.g., TOEFL for non-native speakers of English)
- Personal statement
Please note that some programs also call for experience working with animals, letters of recommendation, candidate interviews (e.g., phone, in-person, video-based), or additional college entrance exams.
There are currently two CVTEA-accredited programs in MS, located at Mississippi State University (MSU) and Hinds Community College (HCC).
Mississippi State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine offers one of the few bachelor of science (BS) in veterinary medical technology programs in the country. It takes four years to complete, and takes place in a collaborative learning environment combining both hands-on clinical experience and extensive coursework. Courses include applied anatomy & physiology for veterinary technologists; husbandry & nutrition; parasitology; small animal technician skills & nursing; pharmacology & toxicology; hematology & immunology; surgical skills; and a Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) preparatory class. The VTNE is the predominant credentialing exam for vet techs across the country, and programs are required to divulge their three-year passing rates among graduates. Impressively, 83.33 percent of first-time test-takers from MSU passed the VTNE between 2014 and 2017.
A second CVTEA-accredited program can be found at Hinds Community College (HCC) of Raymond. HCC offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. This two-year program includes coursework in animal restraint & medication; animal healthcare; principles of imaging; veterinary mathematics; surgical & hospital techniques; and several units of lab evaluations. Please note that this program has a hybrid option for students who want to learn in both online and in-person formats. HCC also requires a candidate interview and a minimum of 30 observation hours in an animal healthcare setting for applicants to the program. Once students graduate they are eligible for both the VTNE and the Assistant Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) certification exam. Between 2014 and 2017, 74.72 percent of graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Accredited Online Vet Tech Programs
In addition to HCC’s hybrid program in veterinary technology, there are currently several CVTEA-accredited, distance-based programs. Online and hybrid programs typically feature online coursework with supervised clinical sections in approved veterinary care settings. Licensed veterinarians and other qualified personnel sign off on skills learned at clinics located close to a student’s home.
One option is available at Cedar Valley College of Lancaster, TX which provides an online associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. Classes at Cedar Valley include surgical preparation & assistance; veterinary office management; laboratory & examination procedures; radiology & ultrasound; and pharmacy & pharmacology. The multimedia approach to learning about veterinary technology must be proving effective since it’s the only AVMA-accredited program also recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). All courses, except general education courses, are offered during every semester. Students can enroll in as many classes as fit their schedule–one, two, three, or even more–and courses are offered in the fall, spring, and summer. Notably, 74.59% of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2013 and 2016.
Colby Community College (CCC) of Kansas provides another online AAS in veterinary technology with classes such as zoology; principles of animal science; breeds of domestic animals; veterinary clinical procedures; and veterinary technician microbiology. This 82-credit program includes labs and work with veterinary hospitals to complete required clinical hours. Students can also attend optional weekend, on-campus mentorships covering microbiology, large animals, and lab animals/exotic pets. Sixty-four percent of CCC’s distance learning program graduates passed the VTNE between 2015 and 2018.
To discover more distance-based training in veterinary technology, please visit the online vet tech programs page.
Demand for Vet Techs in Mississippi
For people looking to become vet techs in MS, there is a lot of good news. First, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2017) projects that openings in this field will increase nationwide 20 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is nearly three times the average growth anticipated for all jobs during that time period (7 percent) and will result in 20,400 new openings across the country in this field. Second, although the wages for veterinary technicians vary in Mississippi between slightly lower than national averages to much higher than national averages, the cost of living in MS is also incredibly low and therefore those same wages exert more purchasing power.
Vet Tech Salary in MS
Impressively, although the Magnolia State is the most affordable state in the country, its average wages for veterinary technicians are similar to national averages. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2017) reported that the 103,430 vet techs working across the US had an average annual salary of $34,710. In MS, the mean annual salary in this profession was $34,580, almost identical to the national average. This is good news for vet techs in Mississippi which is the least expensive state in which to live in the nation according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2018). Mississippi boasts cost savings in all areas, but especially in housing at 68.5% of the national average.
In more detailed terms, the BLS (2017) found the following salary ranges for vet techs:
United States (103,430 vet techs employed)
- 10th percentile: $22,880
- 25th percentile: $27,430
- 50th percentile (median): $33,400
- 75th percentile: $39,860
- 90th percentile: $49,350
Mississippi (540 vet techs employed)
- 10th percentile: $21,090
- 25th percentile: $23,990
- 50th percentile (median): $30,540
- 75th percentile: $40,030
- 90th percentile: $58,550
For comparison, Payscale (July 2018)—a company which relies on self-reported salary data—found similar salary ranges among its 463 responding vet techs:
- 10th percentile: $20,000
- 25th percentile: $25,000
- 50th percentile (median): $30,887
- 75th percentile: $39,000
- 90th percentile: $47,000
In hourly terms, the BLS (May 2017) reported an average hourly wage of $16.69/hour for vet techs nationwide, and $16.63/hr. for those in MS. Here were the hourly wage percentiles:
- 10th percentile: $11.00/hr.
- 25th percentile: $13.19/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $16.06/hr.
- 75th percentile: $19.17/hr.
- 90th percentile: $23.73/hr.
- 10th percentile: $10.14/hr.
- 25th percentile: $11.53/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $14.68/hr.
- 75th percentile: $19.25/hr.
- 90th percentile: $28.15/hr.
Not surprisingly, these wages also tended to vary by region of MS. Interestingly, two areas of the state boasted much higher than average salaries for the state and nationwide: the Southeast nonmetropolitan area ($51,620 avg.) and Southwest nonmetropolitan area ($45,680 avg.). This is especially good news given the aforementioned fact that Mississippi is the least expensive state in the nation in which to live (MERIC 2018). Here are the number of vet techs working, annual wage averages, and percentiles among the six BLS-designated regions in MS (BLS May 2017):
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS (50 vet techs employed): $25,520 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $18,300
- 25th percentile: $21,630
- 50th percentile (median): $25,540
- 75th percentile: $29,460
- 90th percentile: $33,000
Jackson, MS (unknown number employed): $31,100 avg.
- 10th percentile: $21,420
- 25th percentile: $24,050
- 50th percentile (median): $30,710
- 75th percentile: $36,610
- 90th percentile: $39,600
Memphis, TN-MS-AR (120 employed): $34,430 avg.
- 10th percentile: $23,880
- 25th percentile: $28,060
- 50th percentile (median): $33,500
- 75th percentile: $37,730
- 90th percentile: $50,290
Northeast Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area (130 employed): $31,600 avg.
- 10th percentile: $20,890
- 25th percentile: $22,980
- 50th percentile (median): $30,980
- 75th percentile: $38,170
- 90th percentile: $46,060
Southeast Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area (unknown number employed): $51,620 avg.
- 10th percentile: $30,250
- 25th percentile: $51,780
- 50th percentile (median): $55,990
- 75th percentile: $60,200
- 90th percentile: $62,880
Southwest Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area (40 employed): $45,680 avg.
- 10th percentile: $24,950
- 25th percentile: $28,880
- 50th percentile (median): $49,920
- 75th percentile: $60,300
- 90th percentile: $64,770
Where Are MS Vet Techs Employed?
There is a wealth of places for vet techs to work in MS, including animal hospitals, private veterinary clinics, federal and state regulatory agencies, zoos, specialty practices (e.g., avian, equine, wildlife), laboratories, public health organizations, aquariums, shelters, humane societies, pet stores, pharmaceutical companies, livestock yards, farms, biomedical research organizations, universities, and kennels. Some MS vet techs work traditional hours, whereas others may have to work weekends, holidays, or evenings to address needs of animal patients.
There is a variety of resources for veterinary job-hunters in Mississippi. In addition to services such as LinkedIn, Monster, and CareerBuilder, iHireVeterinary offers continually updated listings at facilities such as the Desoto County Animal Clinic, Banfield Pet Hospital, PETCO, and Koch Davis. The Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) also provides a list of jobs with opportunities not only in MS, but in nearby states as well.
It’s important to note that vet techs in MS and beyond may choose to specialize their skills in order to enhance their employment prospects and salary potential. To become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS), candidates typically need to have advanced training in a specific area, years of experience in the field, letters of recommendation, and a passing score on an exam. These speciality academies and societies have been designated by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA), and include areas such as animal behavior, surgery, critical care, nutrition, dermatology, zoological medicine, equine nursing, and other subfields. To discover how to become a VTS, please check out the vet tech career page.
|Veterinary Career||Mississippi Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2017)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Vet Tech Certification in Mississippi
The Mississippi Veterinary Medical Board (MVMB) is the main organization that credentials certified veterinary technicians (CVTs), also referred to as certified animal technicians or technologists. Becoming a CVT is mandatory prior to practicing veterinary technology in MS.
To qualify, candidates must send:
- Official VTNE scores
- Copy of diploma or college transcript, ideally from an AVMA-accredited program
- Processing fee ($100)
- Passport-style photo
- Three letters of recommendation
To maintain this one-year certification, candidates must complete ten hours of continuing education (CE) annually and submit a renewal application. There is a wealth of resources available recommended by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) for online CE such as:
Vet Tech Program Accreditation
As mentioned above, graduating from a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)—the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) program-approval agency—is recommended for aspiring vet techs in the state of Mississippi. The CVTEA weighs factors such as
- Program organization & communications
- Quality of facilities & equipment
- Clinical training resources available
- Admissions processes
- Effectiveness of faculty & staff
- Curriculum comprehensiveness
- Student outcomes
Please check out the CVTEA accreditation page for more information about each of these factors and to learn more on the importance of the process.
|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||CVT||No||Yes||Candidates must submit three letters of recommendation.||Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association|