North Dakota (ND) 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 2016), 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 2016) 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.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in North Dakota
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|North Dakota State University-Main Campus||1301 12th Avenue North, Fargo, North Dakota, 58108-6050||No||Yes|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in ND
Prior to 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). In order 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 January 2018, there was one CVTEA-accredited program in North Dakota. North Dakota State University of Fargo provides several pathways for aspiring vet techs in the state. 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. The NDSU programs in vet technology can be taken as an associate of science (AS) or a bachelor of science (BS) degree, and these programs feature courses such as companion animal breeds; anatomy & physiology of domestic animals; medical terminology for the paraprofessional; animal restraint; fundamentals of veterinary radiography; clinical pathology; veterinary pharmacology; hematology; and animal disease. One measure of program effectiveness is its graduates’ passing rate on the Veterinary Technology National Examination (VTNE). Among NDSU vet tech program graduates between 2012 and 2015, 63.49 percent of graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt. Finally, this program costs $3,462 annually in tuition.
Online Vet Tech Programs for ND Residents
For prospective veterinary technicians in North Dakota who may be living in more rural regions of the state or have time commitments which 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 October 2016, there were eight 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 35 courses and 17 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; animal agriculture; anesthesia; large animal nursing & health management; operating room techniques & sterilization; and other topics. This program typically takes five years of part-time work to complete, but it boasts very impressive passing rates on the VTNE. Between 2013 and 2016, 97 percent of on-campus graduates in veterinary technology passed the exam on their first attempt, and a respectable 89.5 percent of distance-based students did. This program costs $270 per credit hour.
Penn Foster College also provides a fully accredited online program in veterinary technology. Not only does this program boast relatively cheap tuition ($79 per credit hour), but it also has externships available at large animal hospitals throughout the country (VCA Animal Hospitals and Banfield). Classes include 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 2013 and 2016, 67.75 percent of program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
Finally, Colby Community College based in Kansas also offers an online program in veterinary technology, featuring coursework in breeds of domestic animals; basic nutrition; immunology; animal facility management & sanitation; hematology; clinical chemistry; laboratory animal & exotic pet medicine; coagulation & transfusion medicine; and radiology. The program costs $98 per credit hour for Kansas residents, $118 for border state residents, and $178 for out-of-state students. Between 2013 and 2016, 46 percent of CCC’s program graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
To discover all of the distance-based vet tech programs available, please check out the main online vet tech programs page.
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 Dec. 2015) anticipates a 19 percent increase in openings for vet techs around the country between 2014 and 2024, much more robust than the average growth expected across all occupations during that time period (7 percent). There’s evidence that this explosion in opportunities will be even stronger in North Dakota. By illustration, the CareerOneStop (2016)—a data organization partnered with the US Department of Labor—found that vet techs occupied the sixth fastest growing career for associate degree holders in the state between 2014 and 2024, projecting a 22 percent increase in openings.
Where Do Vet Techs in ND 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, Big Sky Animal Medical and Surgical Referral Center, Casselton Veterinary Service, Bismarck Animal Clinic and Hospital, Core Animal Clinic, Diamond Q Animal Hospital, Enderlin Veterinary Clinic, Lewis & Clark Animal Hospital, Prairie Veterinary Hospital, Missouri Valley Veterinary Clinic, 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 2016), there is a wealth of specialities 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 a one of these skilled practitioners, please visit the vet tech specialist page.
Vet Tech Salary in ND
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 2015) reported that there were 95,790 vet techs around the country with an annual average salary of $33,280, while the 170 ND vet techs made a mean salary of $34,110. In more detailed terms, vet techs nationwide had the following salary percentiles:
United States (95,790 working vet techs): $33,280 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $21,890
- 25th percentile: $26,350
- 50th percentile (median): $31,800
- 75th percentile: $38,480
- 90th percentile: $47,410
And in hourly terms, these figures equated to:
US: $16.00/hour average
- 10th percentile: $10.52/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12.67/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $15.29/hr.
- 75th percentile: $18.50/hr.
- 90th percentile: $22.80/hr.
Interestingly, the vet tech salary averages also varied by source of data. In fact, Payscale (Oct. 2016)—a source of self-reported wages—found the following salary percentiles among its 327 responding vet techs nationally:
- 10th percentile: $21,000
- 25th percentile: $25,000
- 50th percentile (median): $30,914
- 75th percentile: $40,000
- 90th percentile: $49,000
An additional 3,152 vet techs offered their hourly salaries, and Payscale (Oct. 2016) reported the following percentiles:
- 10th percentile: $10.00/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12.00/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $13.00/hr.
- 75th percentile: $16.00/hr.
- 90th percentile: $18.00/hr.
Before digging into the ND salary averages, it’s important to note that ND falls in the middle of the American cost of living index. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2016) found that ND was the twenty-fifth most affordable state in the country, boasting particular savings in utilities and housing. Keep this in mind while evaluating the following figures.
Indeed (Oct. 2016) found that “licensed vet techs” in ND had an average annual salary of $29,000, but due to the relatively small sample size, this figure is considered not as reliable as figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In fact, the BLS (May 2015) reported that there were 170 vet techs in the state with an average annual salary of $34,110. In more detailed terms, the percentiles for these working vet techs were:
North Dakota (170 vet techs): $34,110 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $25,310
- 25th percentile: $26,980
- 50th percentile (median): $29,770
- 75th percentile: $40,360
- 90th percentile: $53,320
And in hourly terms:
ND: $16.40/hour average
- 10th percentile: $12.17
- 25th percentile: $12.97
- 50th percentile (median): $14.31
- 75th percentile: $19.40
- 90th percentile: $25,64
Finally, these figures also varied by region within North Dakota as well. There is currently only one BLS-designated region which covers a part of ND. Noticeably, these figures were slightly lower than state averages. Here are the BLS (May 2015) figures for that region:
Fargo, ND-MN (60 working vet techs): $30,660 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $25,400
- 25th percentile: $26,930
- 50th percentile (median): $29,470
- 75th percentile: $33,630
- 90th percentile: $38,720
And in hourly terms, these salaries equated to:
Fargo, ND-MN: $14.74/hour average
- 10th percentile: $12.21/hr.
- 25th percentile: $12.95/hr.
- 50th percentile (median): $14.17/hr.
- 75th percentile: $16.17/hr.
- 90th percentile: $18.62/hr.
|Veterinary Career||North Dakota Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2015)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Licensing for ND Vet Techs
In order 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 a licensed veterinary technician (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; on 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:
Accreditation for Vet Tech Programs
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.
|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||Applicants must get a recommendation from a licensed veterinarian.||North Dakota Veterinary Technician Association|