Veterinary Technician Schools in North Carolina

1
2

North Carolina (NC) is a state renowned for its educational programs. In fact, NC boasts the famous “Research Triangle” of cities—Raleigh (NC State University), Chapel Hill (University of North Carolina), and Durham (Duke University)—as well as two of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation (Raleigh and Charlotte). Among this bustling progress and development in the Old North State, there are several renowned, accredited veterinary technician programs for animal lovers offering rigorous curricula and abundant clinical opportunities.

According to NAVTA (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America), veterinary technicians nationwide play a vital role in the veterinary environment by maintaining veterinary patient records; educating pet-owners about best practices for animal healthcare; processing and analyzing biological samples; assisting licensed veterinarians with several procedures; keeping veterinary facilities and equipment sterile; and providing immunizations and first aid to animals.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are currently six accredited vet tech programs in NC, recognized for their challenging coursework, distinguished faculty, and positive student outcomes.

Not only are there several AVMA-accredited vet tech schools in NC, but there’s a healthy job outlook as well. There are currently 3,570 of these healthcare professionals employed in the state, although this figure is expected to rise significantly in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) reports that openings for veterinary technicians are poised to increase 15 percent nationally between 2020 and 2030, almost double the growth rate expected for all occupations (8 percent).

With ample educational programs and a growing job market, the opportunities are ripe for prospective vet techs in North Carolina. Read on to discover how to become a vet tech in NC, as well as the state-specific employment prospects and licensure process.

School Website main address online program Avma Accredited
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College 340 Victoria Rd, Asheville, North Carolina, 28801-4897NoYes
Cape Fear Community College 4500 Blue Clay Road, Castle Hayne, North Carolina, 28429NoYes
Central Carolina Community College 1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, North Carolina, 27330-9840NoYes
Gaston College 201 Hwy 321 S, Dallas, North Carolina, 28034NoYes
Miller-Motte College 3901 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27604NoYes
Nash Community College 511 N. Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, 27804NoYes

How to Become a Vet Tech in North Carolina

Here is one common path to becoming a veterinary technician in North Carolina:

  • Graduate from a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

The American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) is the primary accrediting body for veterinary technician programs in the U.S. Their process ensures quality control of teaching and practice throughout the country, weighing criteria such as facilities, student resources, and admissions standards.

  • Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)

The VTNE is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and gauges aspiring vet techs’ knowledge of concepts such as diagnostic imaging, anesthesia, and laboratory procedures. Passing this exam is a prerequisite for practice in nearly every state in the country.

  • Apply for licensure through the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board (NCVMB) and pass the North Carolina Veterinary Technician State Exam

After fulfilling all the licensure prerequisites, vet techs can apply for registration with the NCVMB and are offered licensure following the successful completion of the state vet tech exam. This test is offered three times annually, comprising 50 questions based on the “Practice Act,” the general rules governing veterinary medicine in the state. Aspiring vet techs must score at least 75 to pass and are given 30 minutes to complete the exam.

  • Renew license every two years with 12 hours of continuing education credits

In the state of North Carolina, only registered vet techs (RVTs) are allowed to practice, and therefore licensure and ongoing renewals are essential in this profession.

Promising Outlook for Vet Tech Jobs in North Carolina

In North Carolina and other states, there is a very bright career outlook for people in the veterinary technology field. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) expects vet tech openings nationwide to swell 15 percent between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average growth projected for all occupations during that time (8 percent).

Projections Central (2021) offers more granular data on the future of vet techs in NC. It found that openings for veterinary technicians and technologists are expected to increase at a much higher rate (26.1 percent between 2018 and 2028) than what’s anticipated nationally.

Where Do Vet Techs in NC Work?

Veterinary technicians in North Carolina may seek employment opportunities at several healthcare areas such as farms, veterinary hospitals, kennels, specialty animal clinics, food inspection organizations, sanctuaries, rescue centers, biomedical facilities, zoological research institutes, laboratories, aquariums, parks, wildlife centers, and governmental regulatory groups. While some vet techs in NC may work traditional business hours, others may be called to work holidays, weekends, or evenings to serve the needs of their veterinary patients.

One of the most direct ways to observe the strength of this industry in NC is by performing an online search for available jobs through various search engines. By illustration, Indeed (October 2021) posted job openings for vet techs at places such as NC State University, Cane River Veterinary Wellness Clinic, VCA Animal Hospitals, and Carolina Veterinary Specialists Matthews. Monster (October 2021) had additional postings in NC at Banfield Pet Hospital, Falconbridge Animal Hospital, and Heritage Animal Hospital.

One way in which vet techs at NC can stand out is by becoming veterinary technician specialists (VTS). The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America recognizes several subfields of veterinary technology, including dentistry, laboratory animals, equine science, clinical pathology, dermatology, anesthesia, and zoological medicine. To this end, there are several academies and societies, some of which offer professional accreditation in the field, including the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians, and the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

To qualify as veterinary technician specialists, applicants need to have at least 1,000 hours of experience in their subfield and pass an exam. To learn more about the VTS pathways, check out the vet tech careers page.

In addition to the job openings for vet techs in NC, there are two notable professional organizations. The North Carolina Association of Veterinary Technicians (NCAVT) hosts conferences in spring and fall, as well as maintains a job board and professional resources (e.g., continuing education classes, seminars). The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board (NCVMB) provides not only licensure for vet techs but also up-to-date information on regulatory statutes and facilities.

Vet Tech Salary in North Carolina

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020), the 109,490 veterinary technicians nationwide had an annual average salary of $37,860 and the 3,570 veterinary technicians in NC had an annual average salary of $35,790.

The table below is a comparison of national and state salaries of veterinary technicians.

United States North Carolina
Number of Veterinary Technicians Employed 109,490 3,570
Annual mean wage $37,860 $35,790
10th Percentile $25,520 $25,750
25th Percentile $30,030 $30,090
50th Percentile (Median) $36,260 $35,470
75th Percentile $43,890 $40,210
90th Percentile $52,410 $48,310

Although the salary averages and percentiles for NC vet techs were slightly lower, it’s important to note that North Carolina is also more affordable than roughly half of US states. As proof of point, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) reported that NC is the 23rd most affordable state nationwide, offering savings in housing relative to the national index.

It’s important to note that these figures also varied based on the source of data. By illustration, Indeed (October 2021) found an average annual salary of $27,425 among NC veterinary technicians.

PayScale (October 2021) – a data aggregator of self-reported salaries in common occupations, found the following percentiles nationally:

10th percentile: $28,000
50th percentile (median): $37,173
90th percentile: $51,000

Not only do the salaries for vet techs vary based on the source of data, but also by region within North Carolina, for which the BLS keeps detailed figures. The BLS designated fourteen regions within NC for which employment data is available. Unsurprisingly, the 240 vet techs in Durham-Chapel Hill, NC earned the highest average salary in the state ($45,620) while vet techs in the Northeast Coastal North Carolina nonmetropolitan area had the lowest average salary at $25,000.

Accredited Vet Tech Programs in North Carolina (NC)

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are currently six accredited programs in North Carolina. Not only is graduating from an AVMA-accredited program essential for state licensure, but it’s also a prerequisite to sit for the national and state exams.

Here are the CVTEA-accredited vet tech programs in NC:

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College offers a six-semester associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. This competitive Asheville school teaches students essential skills for the occupation, including the preparation of animals, equipment maintenance, anesthesia administration, dental procedures, and laboratory techniques.

Courses in this 70-credit program include veterinary lab techniques; veterinary parasitology; veterinary pharmacology; professional research and reporting; veterinary diseases; veterinary anatomy and physiology; animal breeds and husbandry; and more. Students complete several clinical practices and work-based learning experiences.

This school, established in 1959, boasts a library of over 47,000 volumes and a diverse student body and faculty. The first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) was an outstanding 70.97 percent from 2019 to 2021.

Graduates of this program may be employed in research, pharmaceutical, or diagnostic laboratories; veterinary clinics; academic institutions; zoos; or other areas associated with animal care.

  • Location: Asheville, NC
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Six semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: $76 per credit

Cape Fear Community College

Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) in Castle Hayne, NC offers a 76-credit in-person veterinary medical technology program. This program aims to prepare vet techs to assist veterinarians in matters involving preparing animals, equipment, medications, examination and surgical rooms, and the appropriate husbandry of animals.

Upon completing this program, graduates are eligible to take state and national examinations given by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board and be employed in a variety of clinical settings including diagnostic, research, and pharmaceutical laboratories, academic institutions, and zoos. Applications for this program are accepted January through May and students begin their program in a cohort during the fall semester.

Sample courses include vet anatomy and physiology, animal nutrition, veterinary diseases, veterinary parasitology, veterinary medical terminology, veterinary zoology, general organic and biochemistry, and large animal practices. To pass each course, students must earn a grade of C or higher which equates to 76 percent on their grading scale.

The first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) was 59 percent from 2018 to 2021.

  • Location: Wilmington, NC
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($76 per credit); out-of-state ($268 per credit)

Central Carolina Community College

Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) offers a veterinary medical technology program that was established in 1974, was the first of its kind in North Carolina. This program is located in Sanford—45 miles southwest of Raleigh—and boasts state-of-the-art equipment as well as “bright and enthusiastic” students. This curriculum features guest lectures from one of the “Research Triangle” campuses (NC State) and is designed to be completed within two years.

Students in this program are exposed to a variety of animals such as rodents, dogs, rabbits, cattle, horses, and cats. The faculty of the program includes experienced professionals who are dedicated to teaching and animal healthcare.

Courses include veterinary diseases; veterinary anatomy and physiology; veterinary office practices; veterinary lab techniques; large animal clinical practices; veterinary pharmacology; and more. Students complete several clinical practices as well as work-based learning experiences with an approved employer. The first-time pass rate on the VTNE was 86.5 percent from 2018 to 2021.

  • Location: Sanford, NC
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Five semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($7,972); out-of-state ($21,412)

Gaston College

Gaston College offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. The program takes two full years to complete, including summers, and is a full-time program with classes offered during the day on weekdays. Beginning the 3rd semester, all students are assigned kennel duty each weekday morning and afternoon. The program is selective and limited to 40 students.

This 71-credit program includes courses such as veterinary diseases; animal nutrition; veterinary parasitology; veterinary zoology; animal breeds and husbandry; and more. Students complete general education requirements, clinical practice courses, and a work-based learning experience. The first-time pass rate on the VTNE was an impressive 92 percent from 2018-2021.

Students in this program will be prepared to assist veterinarians in preparing equipment, medications, and animals for surgery and examination; performing radiographic, laboratory, dental, and anesthetic procedures; collecting specimens; providing proper husbandry of animals; and assisting in surgery.

  • Location: Dallas, NC
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($9,238); out-of-state ($22,870)

Miller-Motte College

Miller-Motte College offers a 23-month veterinary technology program. The program encompasses 106 quarter credit hours and includes general education courses as well as vet tech-specific courses, labs, and an externship.

Courses may include husbandry and disease of small and large animals; veterinary radiology and diagnostic imaging; veterinary nutrition; law and ethics for the veterinary technology professional; advanced veterinary anesthesiology; principles of anesthesiology and surgery; veterinary dentistry; advanced animal medical techniques; and surgery; and more. The first-time VTNE pass rate for this program was 54 percent from 2018-2021.

Graduates may seek entry-level employment as management trainees, sales representatives, customer service representatives, assistant office managers, accounting clerks, assistant project managers, and other business-related roles in several industries and government agencies.

  • Location: Raleigh, NC
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: 23 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $30,740

Nash Community College

Finally, Nash Community College offers a veterinary medical technology program that can be completed in five semesters. The program prepares students for a career in veterinary medicine through laboratory, classroom, clinical, and work-based educational experiences. Graduates of this program are awarded an associate in applied science (AAS) degree and may be employed in research, pharmaceutical, or diagnostic laboratories; veterinary clinics; academic institutions; zoos; or other areas associated with animal care.

In this 71-credit program, students take courses in animal breeds & husbandry, vet medical terminology, veterinary parasitology, veterinary diseases, vet pharmacology, and vet lab techniques. Clinical practicum externships are also required and are organized by the college in the areas surrounding Nash Community College.

Graduates of this program may be eligible to take state and national exams administered by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board. No VTNE pass rate information is available for this program.

  • Location: Rocky Mount, NC
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Five semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($76 per credit); out-of-state ($268 per credit)

For information on distance-based vet tech programs, visit our online vet tech schools page.

Accreditation and License Requirements in the State of North Carolina

Before enrolling in a program, prospective vet techs in North Carolina are encouraged to ensure that their program has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (AVMA CVTEA). This organization uses the following criteria to ensure quality control among vet tech programs across the country:

  • School accreditation through other agencies
  • Institutional finances
  • Organization and communications
  • Facilities and equipment
  • Clinical instruction resources
  • Library and informational materials
  • Admissions
  • Faculty and staff
  • Curriculum
  • Student outcomes

As mentioned above, graduating from an AVMA-accredited program is a prerequisite for taking both the national and state veterinary technician exams in North Carolina.

Before practice, vet techs in NC must be licensed as registered veterinary technicians (RVTs). The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board (NCVMB) lists the application materials to register for the state exam:

  • Application
  • Copy of social security card
  • Official transcripts
  • VTNE Scores
  • Application fee

Upon successful completion of the state exam offered six times per year, the student is awarded the North Carolina veterinary technician licensure. Please note that NC vet techs must renew their licenses every two years following the completion of 12 hours of continued education (CE), only three of which can come from online coursework.

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.