Do you want a job that’s fun and that’s in high demand? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be a significant growth in the number of jobs available for vet techs in the coming years. The overall demand in the U.S. is expected to increase by 19% through 2024, which is much faster than the average for all jobs. Oregon (OR), specifically the south coast of the state, has one of the highest concentrations of jobs for vet techs in the country, making the state an ideal place to pursue an education as a veterinary technician. In addition, the median wage for vet techs in Oregon is higher than it is in the U.S. overall, making it a great — and beautiful — place to study to become a veterinary technician.
Going to a vet tech school in Oregon and pursuing a degree can help prepare you to channel a passion for animals into a fulfilling career. A typical program takes about two years to complete, upon graduating from high school. That means that a vet tech could start working and earning much sooner than a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, while still getting to make a measurable impact on the lives of animals and pet owners. Some of the popular educational opportunities in the state include programs at Portland Community College and Central Oregon Community College.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in Oregon
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Central Oregon Community College||2600 N.W. College Way, Bend, Oregon, 97703||No||Yes|
|Portland Community College||12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 97219-7132||No||Yes|
AVMA-Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Oregon
In order to become certified as a vet tech in Oregon, a person must be a graduate of a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). For aspiring vet techs, there are over 200 accredited associate’s and bachelor’s programs across the country, including two in Oregon:
Portland Community College has full AVMA accreditation, and offers an associate of applied science to graduates of their vet tech program. The average pass rate for all students taking the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which is needed to seek state licensure, is 84.7 percent. However, students graduating from PCC have a pass rate of 98.8 percent.
Central Oregon Community College has earned its initial accreditation from the AVMA and will be evaluated again in 2019 to ensure continued compliance with AVMA regulations and standards. The vet tech program takes place over 2 years and is limited to just 24 students. Graduates will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and be prepared for the VTNE.
How to Become a Vet Tech in Oregon
Veterinary technicians in Oregon have a fairly proscribed course to follow in order to become first employable, and then certified in the vet tech field. As mentioned above, prospective vet techs should expect to spend 2 years in an approved vet tech program before beginning work.
Step 1: Graduate High School – Veterinary technicians must be high school graduates, or earn a GED, before applying to vet tech programs. High school students should be sure to excel in hard science classes, such as biology and chemistry, as well as math and statistics, in order to be as prepared as possible for their continued education.
Step 2A: Earn Veterinary Technician Degree – Following high school, vet techs in Oregon must earn a veterinary technician degree from a Board-approved veterinary program. Although listed here as step 2, the fact is that many applicants to veterinary technician programs already have experience in a veterinary office prior to enrolling.
Step 2B: Complete On-the-Job Training – A degree from an approved vet tech school is not strictly required in Oregon. In order to become a certified veterinary technician (CVT), those without a degree must submit proof of at least 6000 hours of on-the-job experience in the vet tech role, as verified by an Oregon licensed veterinarian, and must complete a 20-hour radiation safety training course. Board approval is essential for this particular path. Those who do not earn a degree from a Board-approved program may be required to verify on-the-job training hours in addition to whatever degree they earn. This training requirement ranges from 1500 hours for those with a bachelor’s degree in a field such as zoology to 4500 hours for those who do not complete enough credits to earn an approved degree.
Step 3: Pass VTNE – Whether a vet tech has chosen formal education or on-the-job training as their route to certification, vet techs in Oregon must sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) as administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. The computer-based exam is used to evaluate entry-level veterinary technicians’ competency to practice and to be credentialed.
Step 4: Pass Oregon Jurisprudence Exam/Regional Disease Test – No matter which path to certification a new vet tech, he or she must take and pass the Oregon Jurisprudence Exam/Regional Disease Test. This 25 question exam covers diseases local to the Pacific Northwest and preparation for it should be part of any accredited vet tech program based in Oregon.
Step 5: Apply for CVT Certification – Vet techs who meet all the requirements laid out above are eligible to apply to become CVTs. The application is available online and is administered by the Oregon Veterinary Board.
|Veterinary Career||Oregon Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2014)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Strong Demand for Vet Techs in Oregon
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2015), there are currently 1460 veterinary technologists and technicians employed in the state of Oregon, which amounts to about 0.8 jobs per 1000 total jobs in the state. These vet techs may be employed in private veterinary offices, shelters, hospitals, or research facilities.
Although Oregon is a large state geographically, the population is largely concentrated along the coast, which means that is also where most of the jobs for veterinary technicians are.
Following are the urban and suburban areas that employ most of the vet techs in the state. Note that the highest employment rate, in Portland, also includes some areas on the southern border of Washington:
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA: 720
- Salem, OR: 170
- Eugene, OR: 160
- Bend-Redmond, OR: 110
- Corvallis, OR: 90
- South Coast (nonmetropolitan): 90
Of course, salary is always a concern for someone pursuing a new career. The good news is that vet techs in Oregon can expect to make, on average, more than their peers in other states. The annual salary ranges for veterinary technicians, according to the BLS, is as follows:
- 10th percentile: $21,390
- 50th percentile: $31,070
- 90th percentile: $45,710
As a matter of comparison, here are the annual salary ranges for vet techs in Oregon (BLS 2015):
- 10th percentile: $23,200
- 50th percentile: $33,580
- 90th percentile: $43,890
In addition to a difference in employment density, different regions of one state can also offer different salary opportunities. And a denser employment field does not necessarily lead to higher salaries, as you can see from the annual median wage data below (BLS, 2015):
- Corvallis, OR: $36,900
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA: $34,550
- Bend-Redmond, OR: $34,550
- Medford, OR: $34,370
- Salem, OR: $34,060
Oregon vet techs may want to experience a sense of camaraderie with their fellow professionals, in which case they could look to join an organization such as the Oregon Veterinary Technician & Assistant Association (OVTAA). The OVTAA is dedicated to helping vet techs in the state. The association website features some useful links, a FAQs page, and information about events they are holding. Some of these events are for continuing education courses and seminars. The OVTAA also has an annual symposium that vet techs may find useful organization for networking and educational opportunities.
More on CVT Certification for Vet Techs in Oregon
Applying for a license as a certified veterinary technician in Oregon first requires the applicant to have a degree from an approved school with AVMA accreditation. In addition, the graduate needs to have taken and passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam, or VTNE. The school needs to have accreditation for the student to be able to sit for the exam. Once a student passes the exam, they can go to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board and access the application for licensure. The application is easy to fill out, and after submitting it, along with the fee, students may need to wait just a short time to become a certified and licensed tech. The Board’s site has a number of other quality links and resources. It also has a newsletter, as well as all of the rules and regulations that vets and vet techs need to know.
It’s important that students consider schools that have AVMA accreditation. Accreditation ensures that the school has a program that is rigorous and that meets specific standards of vet tech training. Some of the things the AVMA examines when looking at program accreditation include:
- Institutional accreditation
- Resources for training
Students will find a variety of vet tech programs that are available. By choosing one of the vet tech schools in Oregon with AVMA accreditation, they may well be on their way toward career establishment and success.
|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||CVT||No||Yes||All candidates must complete the Juris Prudence Exam/Regional Disease Test (JPE/RDT).||Oregon Veterinary Technician and Assistant Association|