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 a number of renowned, accredited veterinary technician programs for animal-lovers offering rigorous curricula and abundant clinical opportunities. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are currently four 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 3,070 of these healthcare professionals employed in the state, although this figure is expected to rise significantly in coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) reports that openings for veterinary technicians are poised to increase 20% nationally between 2016 and 2026, better than double the growth rate expected for all occupations (7%).
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.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in North Carolina
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Alamance Community College||1247 Jimmie Kerr Road, Graham, North Carolina, 27253-8000||No||No|
|Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College||340 Victoria Rd, Asheville, North Carolina, 28801-4897||No||Yes|
|Central Carolina Community College||1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, North Carolina, 27330-9840||No||Yes|
|Gaston College||201 Hwy 321 S, Dallas, North Carolina, 28034||No||Yes|
Four Accredited Vet Tech Programs in NC
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are currently four 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 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 program include veterinary lab techniques; 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 experience. 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 95.2% from 2014-2017.
Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) offers a veterinary medical technology program which 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. 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 72% from 2015-2018.
Gaston College offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. 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 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. The first-time pass rate on the VTNE was an impressive 92% from 2015-2018.
Finally, 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 and surgery; and more. No VTNE pass rate information is available for this program.
For information on distance based vet tech programs, visit our online vet tech schools page.
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 AVMA’s 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 tech’s 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 successful completion of the state vet tech exam. This test is offered six times annually, comprising 100 questions based on the “Practice Act,” the general rules governing veterinary medicine in the state. Aspiring vet techs must score at least 70 to pass and are given one hour to complete the exam.
- Renew licensure every two years with 12 hours of continued 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
After becoming a registered veterinary technician (RVT) in North Carolina, there are a number of job opportunities available.
As mentioned above, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) expects this occupation to grow 20% between 2016 and 2026. If this growth rate is applied to the number of vet techs currently employed in NC (3,340), this could result in 668 new positions. Let’s look at salaries and occupation statistics nationally and in NC.
First, here’s a breakdown of vet tech salaries nationwide. The BLS (May 2017) reported that there were 103,430 American vet techs with an annual average salary of $34,710 and the following wage percentiles:
- 10th percentile: $22,880
- 25th percentile: $27,430
- 50th percentile (median): $33,400
- 75th percentile: $39,860
- 90th percentile: $49,350
Comparing this to North Carolina, the average annual salary is $31,350, slightly lower than the national average. However, NC falls 20th in the least expensive states in which to live, with particular savings in housing. Groceries, utilities and transportation also fall below the national average (MERIC, 2018). This is something to keep in mind when considering vet tech positions in NC. Here are the percentage breakdowns for NC as a whole:
- 10th percentile: $22,210
- 25th percentile: $26,340
- 50th percentile (median): $31,110
- 75th percentile: $36,430
- 90th percentile: $39,880
Salary ranges and employment numbers also vary by region. The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC area had the highest annual mean salary at $35,770. Here are the number of vet techs employed, the mean annual salary, and the salary ranges for several regions in North Carolina (BLS 2017):
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC (720 vet techs employed): $31,700 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $24,010
- 25th percentile: $27,810
- 50th percentile (median): $32,310
- 75th percentile: $36,400
- 90th percentile: $38,870
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC (170 employed): $33,180 avg.
- 10th percentile: $25,730
- 25th percentile: $27,950
- 50th percentile (median): $32,120
- 75th percentile: $37,430
- 90th percentile: $42,180
Fayetteville, NC (80 employed): $26,810 avg.
- 10th percentile: $18,200
- 25th percentile: $22,060
- 50th percentile (median): $26,550
- 75th percentile: $29,620
- 90th percentile: $32,740
Greensboro-High Point, NC (unknown number employed): $32,770 avg.
- 10th percentile: $25,000
- 25th percentile: $26,850
- 50th percentile (median): $30,010
- 75th percentile: $36,480
- 90th percentile: $47,110
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC (100 employed): $30,550 avg.
- 10th percentile: $21,290
- 25th percentile: $24,270
- 50th percentile (median): $29,310
- 75th percentile: $35,980
- 90th percentile: $42,860
Piedmont North Carolina nonmetropolitan area (120 employed): $27,790 avg.
- 10th percentile: $21,330
- 25th percentile: $23,160
- 50th percentile (median): $26,400
- 75th percentile: $30,900
- 90th percentile: $37,920
Raleigh, NC (unknown number employed): $33,100 avg.
- 10th percentile: $24,100
- 25th percentile: $28,520
- 50th percentile (median): $33,640
- 75th percentile: $37,680
- 90th percentile: $40,500
Southeast Coastal North Carolina nonmetroplitan area (160 employed): $28,740 avg.
- 10th percentile: $17,160
- 25th percentile: $19,190
- 50th percentile (median): $27,130
- 75th percentile: $37,410
- 90th percentile: $45,390
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (360 employed): $35,770 avg.
- 10th percentile: $28,760
- 25th percentile: $32,490
- 50th percentile (median): $35,520
- 75th percentile: $38,550
- 90th percentile: $41,390
Wilmington, NC (190 employed): $27,870 avg.
- 10th percentile: $21,950
- 25th percentile: $25,050
- 50th percentile (median): $27,940
- 75th percentile: $30,550
- 90th percentile: $34,270
Winston-Salem, NC (240 employed): $29,850 avg.
- 10th percentile: $21,280
- 25th percentile: $23,700
- 50th percentile (median): $29,560
- 75th percentile: $35,560
- 90th percentile: $39,320
Vet techs in North Carolina work in a number of different settings, including clinics, laboratories, animal shelters, kennels, and zoos. Since animal illness and injury can be unpredictable, vet techs may be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays, depending on the needs of their furry, feathered, and scaly-skinned patients.
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.
Here is a summary of statewide salary data on veterinary technicians and assistants in North Carolina, respectively:
|Veterinary Career||North Carolina Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2017)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Accreditation and License Requirements in the State of North Carolina
Prior to 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
- Faculty and Staff
- 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.
Prior to 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:
- Notarized application
- Passport photo taken within the past six months
- Copy of social security card
- Official transcripts
- VTNE Scores
- Application fee ($50)
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 (CU), only three of which can come from online coursework. The renewal fee is currently $50.
The licensing requirements are summarized below:
|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||RVT||Yes||Yes||North Carolina requires that its applicants take a NC Veterinary Technician State Examination.||North Carolina Association of Veterinary Technicians|