North Dakota goes by many names—the Roughrider State, the Peace Garden State, and even Norse Dakota—all of which reflect its rich cultural history and gorgeous landscapes. It’s even known as the Flickertail State, a moniker referring to the Richardson ground squirrels which run rampant throughout the land, one of many animals indigenous to the area.
Speaking of animals, there are plenty of opportunities for people interested in working with furry, feathered, and scaly-skinned creatures. Those who are interested in uniting their love of animals with a high-growth career may want to consider becoming a veterinary technician or technologist.
Not only are there ample openings in this field in North Dakota, but there’s also a thriving professional networking group to support people in their work. The North Dakota Veterinary Technician Association (NDVTA) promotes veterinary technology in ND through continuing education events, an active job board, and an informative monthly newsletter.
So what do North Dakota vet techs do on a daily basis? According to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA 2021), these animal healthcare professionals help veterinarians with various procedures (e.g., administering anesthesia, restraining animals for examinations, etc.); conduct simple diagnostic tests; take and process laboratory samples; maintain the cleanliness of facilities; sterilize equipment; update clinic inventories and patient records; monitor animals after surgeries; administer basic first aid and authorized treatments; give radiographs, and educate animal-owners on proper care and nutrition.
It’s important to add that the responsibilities in this field vary across states based on local laws, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA 2021) provides a chart delineating regional differences. In North Dakota, a “licensed veterinary technician” (i.e., someone authorized to practice by the North Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners) must have graduated from an accredited program and passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), the predominant credentialing exam in this profession.
According to state legislation, vet techs in ND may perform various services under the supervision of a licensed vet; these services include venipuncture, inserting catheters, injections, immunizations, taking radiographs, collecting blood, surgical assistance, taking electrocardiograms, performing laboratory analysis, preparing animals for surgery, and fulfilling other functions. Under emergency conditions where a vet is en route, ND vet techs may administer medications, apply tourniquets, resuscitate animals, and apply wound dressings. For complete information about the local laws regarding the practice of veterinary technology, check out the North Dakota Veterinary Practice Act.
Read on to discover how to become a vet tech in ND. This article serves as a guide to becoming a licensed in North Dakota, including information on the career outlook and salary prospects for the field, as well as a look at accredited vet tech programs.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|North Dakota State University-Main Campus||1340 Administration Ave, Fargo, North Dakota, 58105||No||Yes|
Demand for Vet Techs in North Dakota
Luckily for aspiring veterinary technicians in North Dakota, there’s expected to be a strong demand for these animal healthcare professionals both nationwide and in the ND. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) anticipates a 15 percent increase in openings for vet techs around the country between 2020 and 2030, much more robust than the average growth expected across all occupations during that period (8 percent). There’s evidence that this explosion in opportunities will be even stronger in North Dakota.
By illustration, Projections Central (2021) offers more granular data on the future of vet techs in ND. It found that openings for veterinary technicians and technologists are expected to increase at an even faster rate (22.6 percent) than what’s anticipated nationally.
Where Do Vet Techs in North Dakota Work?
There is a range of environments throughout ND which employ veterinary technicians and technologists, including clinics, veterinary hospitals, kennels, farms, rescue centers, shelters, zoos, research institutes, wildlife centers, food inspection facilities, and more. While some ND veterinary technicians work normal business hours, others may be called upon to work evenings, weekends, or holidays to accommodate the needs of their animal patients.
There is a thriving employment climate for vet techs in ND. In fact, the North Dakota Veterinary Technician Association (NDVTA) maintains an active job board and posted opportunities at places such as All Pets Veterinary Clinic, Casselton Veterinary Service, and Bismarck Animal Clinic and Hospital, Two Rivers Veterinary Hospital, and others.
Additionally, some vet techs choose to specialize in a subfield of the discipline; veterinary technician specialists (VTSs) enjoy a number of benefits and may enhance their professional skills, earning potential, and job opportunities.
According to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA 2021), there is a wealth of specialties of veterinary technology, including animal behavior, dermatology, critical care & emergencies, equine science, zoological medicine, laboratory animals, internal medicine, clinical pathology, dentistry, zoological medicine, surgery, and anesthesia.
Typically, VTS candidates either apply to societies for membership or academies for credentialing. While qualifications vary, candidates generally have at least ND vet tech licensure, 1,000 hours of specialized experience, and a passing score on an exam. To discover how to become one of these skilled practitioners, please visit the vet tech specialist page.
Vet Tech Salary in North Dakota
There’s excellent news for veterinary technicians in North Dakota: not only is this a relatively high-growth career in the state, but these workers also make slightly higher salaries than national averages.
As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) reported that there were 109,490 vet techs around the country with an annual average salary of $37,860, while the 310 ND vet techs made a mean salary of $35,230. In more detailed terms, vet techs nationwide had the following salary percentiles:
|United States||North Dakota|
|Number of veterinary technicians employed||109,490||310|
|Annual mean wage||$37,860||$35,230|
|50th percentile (median)||$36,260||$34,450|
Although the salary averages and percentiles for ND vet techs were slightly lower, it’s important to note that the state 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 ND is the 26th most affordable state nationwide, offering particular 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 (December 2021) found an average annual salary of $31,136 among ND veterinary technicians, and Payscale—a data aggregator of self-reported salaries in common occupations—found national figures which differed from the BLS.
By illustration, PayScale (December 2021), found the following percentiles nationally:
- 10th percentile: $28,000
- 50th percentile (median): $37,326
- 90th percentile: $52,000
Vet Tech Schools in North Dakota
Before seeking licensure as a veterinary technician in North Dakota, a person must have graduated from an accredited program in veterinary technology. There’s one main program approval nationally: the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). To gain entry into one of these programs, candidates typically need to send:
- Official high school transcripts, including proof of prerequisite coursework (e.g., biology, chemistry, algebra, English)
- Personal statement (500-600 words)
- Proof of health insurance and immunizations
- Application fee
It may behoove candidates to have some experience working with animals as well.
As of December 2021, there was one CVTEA-accredited program in North Dakota.
The North Dakota State University of Fargo offers a bachelor of science program in veterinary technology within the department of animal sciences. Not only does this competitive program provide foundational coursework in the discipline, but it also offers opportunities to explore interests through a rich array of elective courses and minors as well.
Comprising 120 credits, the program features courses such as an introduction to animal sciences, anatomy & physiology of domestic animals, medical terminology, veterinary pharmacology, hematology, animal disease, veterinary parasitology, introductory microbiology, large animal techniques, and vet anesthesia.
One measure of program effectiveness is its graduates’ passing rate on the Veterinary Technology National Examination (VTNE). Among NDSU vet tech program graduates between 2017 and 2020, 91.38 percent of graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Graduates of the BS program can take up positions in teaching, research, industry, government, private business, and zoos. They will be trained in surgical assisting, anesthesiology, radiography, dental prophylaxis, clinical laboratory procedures, physical examination & patient history, and administration of medication and vaccines.
- Location: Fargo, ND
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Expected Time to Completion: two to four years
- Estimated Tuition: North Dakota resident ($368.35 per credit-hour); Minnesota resident ($412.55 per credit-hour)
Distance-based Vet Tech Programs Available in North Dakota
For prospective veterinary technicians in North Dakota who may be living in more rural regions of the state or have time commitments that make it difficult to attend an on-campus program, there are distance-based programs available as well. These involve a combination of web-based coursework coupled with in-person clinical training at locally approved veterinary care facilities.
As of December 2021, there were ten CVTEA-accredited online programs for vet techs.
For example, Purdue University of Indiana offers a distance-based associate of applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology, comprising 27 courses and 18 clinical mentorships.
This can be taken on a part-time basis only and has rigorous didactic instruction in anatomy for veterinary technology, physiology, pharmacology, parasitology, diagnostic imaging, clinical pathology, small animal nursing, anesthesia, large animal nursing & health management, operating room techniques & sterilization, and other topics. The program takes 70 credits to complete.
This program typically takes three to five years of part-time work to complete, but it boasts very impressive passing rates on the VTNE. Between 2018 and 2021, 82.6 percent of on-campus graduates in veterinary technology passed the exam on their first attempt, and a respectable 96.4 percent of distance-based students did.
- Location: West Lafayette, IN
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Expected Time to Completion: 36 months
- Estimated Tuition: $270 per credit
Penn Foster College also provides a fully accredited online program in veterinary technology. Not only does this program boast relatively cheap tuition ($85 per credit hour), but it also has externships available at large animal hospitals throughout the country (VCA Animal Hospitals and Banfield).
Made up of 73 credits, the program includes classes in animal anatomy & physiology, veterinary office management, medical mathematics, medical nursing for veterinary technicians, pharmacology, clinical pathology, surgical nursing, and animal nutrition, reproduction, genetics & aging. Between 2018 and 2021, 75.86 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
- Location: Scottsdale, AZ
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
- Expected Time to Completion: 16 to 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: $85 per credit
Finally, Colby Community College based in Kansas also offers an online program in veterinary technology comprising 82 credits. The program features coursework in breeds of domestic animals, basic nutrition, immunology, animal facility management & sanitation, hematology, clinical chemistry, laboratory animal & exotic pet medicine, veterinary critical care and clinical skills, and veterinary parasitology.
Between 2018 and 2021, 85 percent of CCC’s program online graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
- Location: Colby, KS
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Expected Time to Completion: Eight terms
- Estimated Tuition: Thomas County ($136.25 per credit); Kansas resident ($141.25 per credit); out-of-state ($195.25 per credit)
To discover all of the distance-based vet tech programs available, please check out the main online vet tech programs page.
Licensing for Vet Techs in North Dakota
To seek employment as a veterinary technician in North Dakota, a qualified individual must apply for licensure through the North Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to become an LVT. Candidates must submit:
- Completed, notarized application
- Recommendation from a licensed veterinarian
- Copy of diploma
- Official scores from the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
- Application fee ($25)
The ND vet tech license is valid for one year and expires annually on December 31st. To renew, candidates must pay $15; every even year (i.e., every two years), they must submit proof of having completed eight hours of continuing education (CE). The North Dakota Veterinary Technician Association (NDVTA) offers a list of CE activities within the state, and there are also some CE opportunities available online through resources such as:
- VetMed Team
- Veterinary Support Personnel Network
- Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Accreditation for Vet Tech Programs in ND
As mentioned above, to qualify for licensure through the North Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, an aspiring veterinary technician must have graduated from an accredited program in veterinary technology. Again, the main program-approval entity is the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), which weighs various factors in its accreditation process:
- Effectiveness of school & program finances
- Availability of student resources
- Quality buildings, faculty & curriculum
- Admissions procedures
- Student outcomes
To learn in-depth about any of these factors, check out the CVTEA accreditation standards page.