There is a bright outlook for people interested in attending vet tech school in New York (NY). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2013), not only is the Empire State one of the top-employing states for vet techs in the country, but New York is one of the top-paying as well. The state currently employs 3,620 vet techs, the fifth most of any state, and with 19% growth projected for this occupation between 2014 and 2024 (BLS 2015), the number of open positions is expected to swell in coming years. Furthermore, across the nation, veterinary technicians and technologists can expect to earn an average salary of $31,760 annually. By contrast, these animal-loving professionals who live in New York rake in an average of $37,870, more than 19% more money per year. With the optimistic job market and salary projections in New York, it may be one of the top states for aspiring vet techs and brings credence to the state motto—Excelsior—ever upward!
How to Become a Vet Tech in New York
One of the advantages of becoming a vet tech is the relatively accelerated pace of the curriculum. Compared to the more costly and time-consuming eight years a veterinarian can expect to spend in postsecondary school, vet techs in New York can complete their programs in as little as 18 months. Here are the typical steps to become a vet tech in New York:
- Graduate from a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or a program registered by the New York State Education Department. Vet tech schools in NY offer programs which typically take two years to complete, but some can be completed in as little as 18 months. Some of the typical prerequisites for these programs are high school-level math and science classes (e.g., algebra I/II, geometry, trigonometry, biology, and chemistry). These associate of science (A.S.) or associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree programs teach skills such as animal nursing care, laboratory analyses, anesthesia, nutritional management, dental hygiene, and radiographic imaging. Some students may seek more advanced training in electives which can prepare them for various specializations, including veterinary behavior, clinical pathology, and zoological medicine.
- Pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The VTNE, a test offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), is the primary exam necessary for licensure in New York. The exam is offered during three one-month windows per year. Please note that students may register for this exam up to six months prior to graduation from an approved vet tech school.
- Apply for New York State licensure or a limited permit. In order to practice as a veterinary technician in New York, candidates must have a valid license. In addition to graduating from one of the accredited vet tech schools in New York and passing the VTNE, these aspiring veterinary professionals must complete the application, submit $177, and send their test scores. In the state of New York, a candidate who has not completed the VTNE may apply for a limited, one-year permit to practice under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Check the New York Office of the Professions website for details.
For animal-lovers eager to get their careers started in as little as 18 months, attending one of the accredited veterinary technician schools in New York can be a great first step.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in New York
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Alfred State College||10 Upper College Dr., Alfred, New York, 14802||No||Yes|
|CUNY Bronx Community College||2155 University Ave, Bronx, New York, 10453||No||No|
|CUNY LaGuardia Community College||31-10 Thomson Ave, Long Island City, New York, 11101||No||Yes|
|Genesee Community College||One College Rd Batavia, Batavia, New York, 14020||No||Yes|
|Medaille College||18 Agassiz Circle, Buffalo, New York, 14214-2695||No||Yes|
|Mercy College||555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, New York, 10522||No||Yes|
|Suffolk County Community College||533 College Rd, Selden, New York, 11784-2899||No||Yes|
|SUNY College of Technology at Alfred||10 Upper College Drive, Alfred, New York, 14802||No||Yes|
|SUNY College of Technology at Canton||34 Cornell Drive, Canton, New York, 13617-1098||No||Yes|
|SUNY College of Technology at Delhi||2 Main Street, Delhi, New York, 13753-1100||No||Yes|
|Ulster County Community College||491 Cottekill Rd, Stone Ridge, New York, 12484||No||Yes|
|Westchester Community College||75 Grasslands Road, Valhalla, New York, 10595||No||Yes|
Strong Outlook for Vet Tech Jobs in New York
The future looks very strong for veterinary technicians in New York. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2015) predicts that this profession will grow 19% between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average projected for all occupations (7%). With this growth in new jobs, the field of veterinary technology is strong nationally, but particularly in NY state. New York is one of the top-paying and top-employing states in the nation.
First, the BLS (2013) reports the following annual salary range for veterinary technicians and technologists across the country:
- 10th percentile – $21,270
- 50th percentile (median) – $30,500
- 90th percentile – $44,490
By contrast, the BLS (2014) reports that New York state is the third highest paying state for vet techs, at an average of $37,870 annually, and the salary range is significantly higher than the national data:
- 10th percentile – $25,670
- 50th percentile (median) – $36,070
- 90th percentile – $54,670
Those are impressive $4,400, $5,570, and $10,180 salary differences, respectively.
Second, New York also boasts some of the highest paying metropolitan areas for vet techs. The Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown area was the second highest paying in the country, at an average of $45,140 annually. The top-paying areas within New York in 2013 for vet techs were the following:
- Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY – $45,140
- New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division – $41,540
- Nassau-Suffolk, NY – $38,970
- Ithaca, NY – $38,960
- New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA – $38,210
Finally, New York is one of the top-employing states for veterinary technicians in the U.S. The BLS (2013) reports that there were 3,620 vet techs employed in the state, the fifth-most of any state in the nation. The top-employing areas in NY for vet techs were the following:
- New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA – 3,170 vet techs employed
- New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division – 1,360
- Nassau-Suffolk, NY Metropolitan Division – 600
- Rochester, NY – 370
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY – 300
It should be noted that the BLS (2014) predicted especially robust growth for these professionals in smaller, rural areas in years to come.
For those who graduate from one of the accredited vet tech schools in New York, there are employment opportunities across a variety of environments, including animal hospitals, small clinics, zoos, universities, biomedical research facilities, farms, and more.
New York has several agencies and groups available for vet techs, including the New York State Association of Veterinary Technicians, (NYSAVT), and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Both of these agencies can be excellent resources for vet techs, both current and aspiring, offering student chapters, community bulletin boards, continuing education opportunities, job posts, events, and other useful material. Students at vet tech schools in NY may want to consider becoming members.
|Veterinary Career||Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2014)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Accredited Vet Tech Schools in NY
New York State has a number of schools offering quality vet tech programs to students who want to enter the field. Many of the state’s schools have received full or provisional accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or the equivalent from the New York State Education Department (NYSED). The following are some of the top accredited veterinary technician schools in New York:
Alfred State College, in Alfred, New York, features a two-year program that leads to an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree. This fully accredited college gives students the opportunity to learn about the theory and principles behind veterinary science, and offers hands-on experience with animals. The school also boasted a 73% passing rate among its graduates on the VTNE between July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2014. During the veterinary technician program, students can learn about:
- Animal care
- Exotic animals
- Restraint techniques
State University at New York at Canton is another one of the popular veterinary technician schools in New York, and offers an associate degree in applied science (A.A.S.) for vet techs. Associated bachelor degrees are also available (B.S. & B.B.A.). The school has full AVMA accreditation, and combines rigorous didactic instruction, small lab sections (~20 students), and state of the art facilities. A senior preceptorship is required, 240 hours of hands-on experience at a location of the student’s choosing and subject to the approval of the program supervisor. The program provides instruction in:
- Nursing and animal care
- Companion animals
- Equine and other livestock
- Lab animals
Suffolk County Community College is another good choice, leading students to an associate degree in applied science (A.A.S.). The school also has full AVMA accreditation, so students are eligible to sit for the VTNE and New York State Education Department licensure procedures once they complete their training. The program covers a wide range of areas including:
- Care for animals
- Classroom and practical field experience
- Dealing with pet owners
- Pre- and post-surgical treatment
Finally, Mercy College has four campuses in the NYC area and its Dobbs Ferry location provides a 120-credit bachelor of science (BS) in veterinary technology. This program includes instruction in advanced areas such as the anatomy of domestic animals, applied animal behavior, and veterinary management. Impressively, graduates of this program have enjoyed a 99 percent passing rate on the VTNE for over 20 years. Please note that this school also offers this program with a specialization in pre-veterinary medicine.
Students can find these and other vet tech schools in NYC and throughout the state.
Accreditation and Licensing for Vet Techs in NY
It is crucial to ensure that a program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medication Association (AVMA) or has achieved a valid program status from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) prior to enrollment. Graduating from an accredited program is a prerequisite for taking the VTNE.
In order to determine program quality and accreditation status, the AVMA evaluates some of the following areas at vet tech schools in New York:
- Quality of equipment and building
- Program outcomes
After completing an accredited program and passing the VTNE, candidates typically apply for licensure. The New York Board of Veterinary Medicine (NYBVM) provides guidelines for determining who is eligible to receive a license. Here is a checklist of requirements for getting a vet tech license in New York:
- Graduate from an accredited veterinary technician program
- Pass the VTNE
- Pay the $177 licensure fee
- Have school complete the “certification of professional education” form
The application package should be sent to the following address:
New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
PO Box 22063
Albany, NY 12201
It should be noted that some students who have not taken the VTNE exam may be eligible for a limited, one-year permit for $50. Also, for those licensed in other states, the Department can choose to “endorse” their license after ensuring they have met all of the New York vet tech licensure requirements. Be sure to check the NYBVM website for the full details.
Given the number of job opportunities and quality veterinary technician schools in New York, this can be an excellent state from which to launch a fulfilling career working with animals.
|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*||LVT||Yes**||Yes||The NYSED may endorse a license from another state if it meets NY’s education requirements and the candidate has passed a comparable licensing exam and meets all other state application requirements.||New York State Association of Veterinary Technicians|