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 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 3,600 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 2019) reports that openings for veterinary technicians are poised to increase 19 percent nationally between 2018 and 2028, better than double the growth rate expected for all occupations (5 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, 28801-4897||No||Yes|
|Cape Fear Community College||4500 Blue Clay Road, Castle Hayne, North Carolina, 28429||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|
|Miller-Motte College||3901 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27604||No||Yes|
|Nash Community College||511 N. Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, 27804||No||Yes|
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 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; 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 83 percent from 2016 to 2019.
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, general organic and biochemistry, and large animal practices. In order to pass each course, students must earn a grade of C or higher which equates to 76 percent on their grading scale. No VTNE pass rate information is available for this program.
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 74.6 percent from 2016 to 2019.
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 percent from 2016-2019.
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. The first-time VTNE pass rate for this program was 59.6 percent from 2016-2019.
Finally, Nash Community College offers a veterinary medical technology program that can be completed in five semesters. In this 71-credit program, students take courses in veterinary anatomy, nutrition, zoology, and small and large animal clinical practices. 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.
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 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 licensure 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
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 2019) expects this occupation to grow 19 percent between 2018 and 2028. If this growth rate is applied to the number of vet techs currently employed in NC (3,600), this could result in 684 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 2019) reported that there were 110,650 American vet techs with an annual average salary of $36,670 and the following wage percentiles:
- 10th percentile: $24,530
- 25th percentile: $29,080
- 50th percentile (median): $35,320
- 75th percentile: $42,540
- 90th percentile: $51,230
Comparing this to North Carolina, the average annual salary is $34,5200, slightly lower than the national average. However, NC falls 22nd 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 2020). 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: $25,030
- 25th percentile: $29,030
- 50th percentile (median): $34,330
- 75th percentile: $38,990
- 90th percentile: $46,270
Salary ranges and employment numbers also vary by region. The Durham-Chapel Hill NC area has the highest annual mean salary at $40,140. Here are the top-paying areas in North Carolina in terms of average annual salaries (BLS May 2019):
- Durham-Chapel Hill, NC – $40,140 average
- Greensboro-High Point, NC – $34,860
- Piedmont North Carolina nonmetropolitan area – $34,350
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC – $33,830
- Winston-Salem, NC – $33,650
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 2019)|
|LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE)||MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE)||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:
- Copy of social security card
- Official transcripts
- VTNE Scores
- Application fee ($250)
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. 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 an NC Veterinary Technician State Examination.||North Carolina Association of Veterinary Technicians|