The outlook is sunny for those interested in becoming a veterinary technician in the Empire State. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 50 percent of homes in the state of New York are home to one or more pets. In 2016, that translated to 3.7 million households, 2.9 million dogs, and 2.8 million cats. With robust livestock production in 2020, New York was also the home for 2.1 million cows, 31 thousand goats, and 69,000 hogs.
Both in the concrete jungle of NYC and in the vast wilderness of upstate, there are several zoos, aquariums, big game farms, state parks, education and ecology centers, and wildlife reserves. New York also has more than 300 animal shelters, human societies, and other animal rescue operations. Whether a vet tech is looking to help animals large or small, there are plenty of opportunities in New York City and New York State.
Vet techs are an essential part of any animal healthcare team. Trained to provide high-level and skilled assistance to veterinarians, vet techs provide a wide variety of services in animal care. Vet techs keep an eye on animals, provide emergency care, bathe and groom animals, restrain animals during procedures, administer anesthesia, take lab samples, perform diagnostic work including imaging, prep animals for and assist during surgery, administer medicines, do intakes, and educate animal owners on proper care. Vet techs may also do administrative or management work as well.
New York has a wealth of accredited veterinary technology programs to choose from, which is good news for prospective vet techs in NY. In the following sections, you will find information on vet tech schools, salaries, how to become a vet tech, accreditation, and licensing.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in New York
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|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-Buffalo||18 Agassiz Circle, Buffalo, New York, 14214-2695||No||Yes|
|Medaille College-Rochester||1880 S Winton Road, Rochester, New York, 14618||Yes||Yes|
|Mercy College||555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, New York, 10522||No||Yes|
|Suffolk County Community College||Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood, New York, 11717||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||454 Delhi Drive, Delhi, New York, 13753||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|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in New York
Vet techs must be licensed in New York to practice in the state, and this means they must attend an accredited program. The main accrediting body is the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), which operates through the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Students must attend a CVTEA-accredited program or one approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) or the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).
The state of New York currently has eleven schools offering CVTEA-accredited vet tech programs to students who want to enter the field, some of which are offered through the same system or at multiple campuses. The following provides a breakdown of each program in the state:
There are seven programs offered through the State University of New York (SUNY) system:
- Alfred State College of Technology
- Canton State University of New York
- Delhi State University of New York
- Genesee Community College
- Suffolk County Community College
- Ulster County Community College
- Westchester Community College
Alfred State College of Technology in Alfred, NY, features a two-year program that leads to an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. Courses in this program include an introduction to animal science; anatomy and physiology of animals; animal healthcare; farm animal management; radiography; principles of microbiology; anesthesia and surgical nursing; and more. Students also complete a preceptorship of 240 hours at an approved facility.
Notably, graduates may enter the four-year BTech or technology management BBA degree programs. The school had a 94.5 percent passing rate among its graduates on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) between 2017 to 2020.
Canton State University at New York offers an associate degree in applied science (AAS) for vet techs. Upon completion of the AAS degree, students can start their professional credentialing process or transfer into four-year bachelor of science in veterinary technology or bachelor of technology in veterinary services management programs.
The Canton program combines rigorous didactic instruction, small lab sections (~20 students), and state-of-the-art facilities. Two 120-hour preceptorships are required with hands-on experience taking place at a location of the student’s choosing and subject to the approval of the program supervisor. The program includes courses such as animal care institution management; veterinary practice management; veterinary business and financial management; the human-animal bond; fundamental veterinary nursing skills; and companion animal behavior. Canton State University boasted an 82 percent passing rate among its graduates on the VTNE between 2017 to 2020.
Delhi State University of New York is another SUNY system university that offers a two-year program that leads to an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. 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 every semester.
Courses in this program include small animal care and nursing; large animal care; introduction to research animal techniques; pathology and parasitology; applied clinical nutrition; farm animal nursing; and more. Students also complete two preceptorships.
The faculty consists of veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians with a wealth of experience in the field. Vet tech students who successfully complete the AAS can transfer into Delhi’s BS in veterinary technology program. The school also had an 80 percent passing rate among its graduates on the VTNE between 2017 to 2020.
Genesee Community College offers an AAS degree in veterinary technology. The program can be completed in two full-time years and includes three externships and several labs for hands-on training. Courses in this program include small animal pathology and nursing; large animal pathology and nursing; veterinary radiology and dentistry; veterinary parasitology; veterinary nutrition; and animal anatomy and physiology.
Students considering moving on to a four-year program should work with the Transfer Services Office as there are several programs available at other SUNY institutions. The first-time pass rate on the VTNE between 2017 and 2020 was similar to Canton and Delhi, coming in at 83.9 percent.
Suffolk County Community College is another good choice in the SUNY system, leading students to an associate degree in applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology at the Brentwood, NY campus. 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. This is a full-time, two-year, day program that begins in the fall. The program covers a wide range of areas including farm animal nursing; comparative physiology of domesticated animals; veterinary practice management; pharmacy and pharmacology; surgical nursing and anesthesiology; and more.
As in all accredited programs, students complete two 120-hour clinical internships to meet the 240-hour requirement. 72 percent of Suffolk vet tech graduates who took the VTNE passed on their first attempt (2017-2020).
Ulster County Community College is another SUNY school that offers an AAS degree. The program consists of 64 credits and includes courses such as veterinary clinical calculations; chemistry for the health sciences; veterinary medical terminology; large animal diseases and nursing; small animal diseases and nursing; restraint and handling; and veterinary anesthesia and pharmacology.
Students attend a six-day Farm Camp at SUNY Delhi that counts as their large animal laboratory experience, as well as a two-day Research Animal Technology Camp at the same location. Similar to Suffolk, 74 percent of vet tech graduates from Ulster who took the VTNE passed on their first attempt (2017-2020).
Finally on the list of SUNY institutions is Westchester Community College which offers another AAS degree in veterinary technology. Students are only admitted in the fall and the program requires two years of full-time study and practice. This is a day program only and encompasses four semesters and one summer semester.
This 69-credit program includes courses such as clinical pathology; pharmacology for veterinary technicians; veterinary office practices; dental techniques; farm animal nursing; and laboratory and exotic animal medicine. Students complete two senior lab experiences and two veterinary technology internships. 87.1 of first-time test-takers from Westchester passed the VTNE between 2017 and 2020.
Another institution that offers programs in more than one location is Medaille College, which offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree at their Rochester campus and AS/BS degrees at their Buffalo campus. The AAS degree is offered both on-campus and has recently gained accreditation for the online program.
The AAS degree consists of 72 credits and takes 2.5 years to complete on-campus, and two years to complete online. The on-campus program is offered as an evening and weekend program to meet the needs of students with work and familial obligations, and students can begin in the fall or spring.
The AS/BS degrees are offered as regular daytime courses and consist of 72 credits and 120 credits, respectively. Courses in these programs may include animal parasitology; a basic introduction to horses; small animal diseases and nutrition; veterinary clinical lab techniques; handling and care of exotics; veterinary diagnostic imaging; and more. Students also complete two preceptorships that include observation as well as hands-on practice.
Sixty-nine percent of students in the Rochester AAS program passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2017 and 2020. Eighty-one percent of Buffalo AS/BS students passed the VTNE on their first attempt between 2016 and 2019. Newly accredited in 2018, there are currently no VTNE pass rates listed for the online program.
La Guardia Community College–part of the City University of New York system (CUNY)–offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology, located in Long Island City. Students complete 65 credits with classes that cover veterinary nursing, radiology, farm animal nursing, pathophysiology, pharmacology and toxicology, exotic animal medical care and more.
Students complete two, ten-week vet tech internships, as well as gaining hands-on knowledge through labs. La Guardia boasts small class sizes and an 87 percent VTNE first-time pass rate between 2017 and 2020.
Finally, Mercy College offers a 120-credit bachelor of science (BS) degree in veterinary technology at their Dobbs Ferry campus. In addition to general education requirements, program-specific courses include animal handling and restraint; physiology of domestic animals; principles of large animal medicine; applied clinical veterinary nursing; applied animal behavior; and more.
Students also complete several labs and two externships to meet hands-on requirements. Externship focuses include surgical nursing and anesthesia, small animal internal medicine, exotic animal medicine, zoo animal medicine and surgery, and more. Impressively, graduates of this program had a 98.8 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE from 2017 to 2020.
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 18 months to two years.
Here are the typical steps to become a vet tech in New York:
- Step 1: 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 that typically take two years to complete, but some can be completed in 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 (AS) or associate of applied science (AAS) 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.
- Step 2: 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.
- Step 3: 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 18 months, attending one of the accredited veterinary technician schools in New York can be a great first step.
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 2021) predicted that openings in this profession will grow 16 percent between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average projected for all occupations (4 percent). With this growth in new jobs, the field of veterinary technology is strong nationally and in NY state. According to CareerOneStop (2021), the anticipated growth rate for vet techs in the state between 2018 and 2028 is 20 percent.
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. According to iHireVeterinary, vet techs have opportunities to find jobs in New York at places like Banfield Pet Hospital, Rockaway Beach Vet Services, Valhalla Animal Hospital, Animal Medical Center, and Colonie Animal Hospital.
New York also 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.
Vet Tech Salaries in New York – How Much Do Vet Techs Make?
In addition to a strong occupational outlook, New York boasts salaries that are higher than the national average. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (May 2020), the 109,490 vet techs across the nation earned an average annual salary of $37,860. In comparison, the 4,350 vet techs working in New York earned $43,780 per year, roughly 15 percent more than the national average.
The following chart illustrates earning potential for vet techs in New York at various earning percentiles, compared to national figures:
|United States||New York|
|Number of vet techs employed||109,490||4,350|
|Average annual salary||$37,860||$43,780|
|50th percentile (median)||$36,260||$42,730|
When considering earning potential, the cost of living is a key piece of the puzzle. The higher salaries for vet techs in New York may be due to the higher cost of living in the state. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021), New York has the third-highest cost of living in the United States. While costs of utilities are average, the cost of everything else, especially housing, will be higher than average for New York residents.
|Veterinary Career||Jobs||Salary Data (BLS 2020)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Median Salary (50th %ile)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Program Accreditation and Licensing for Vet Techs in New York
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|
* A limited permit may be provided in order to enable the candidate to complete supervised on-the-job training or practice hours or to complete a licensing exam after an interstate transfer.
**Or a program approved by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.