Vet Tech Programs in Oregon


The animal populations and opportunities to nurse animals are abundant for the aspiring vet tech looking to work in the Beaver State. According to, nearly 50 percent of the Beaver State is forestland, bringing forth the abundance of wildlife that comes with the abundance of the natural habitats animals call their homes. Because wildlife is quite common in the state, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) even provides residents with tips on how to coexist with bats, beavers, birds, black bears, cougars, coyotes, tree squirrels, and rocky mountain goats endemic to the region.

Far from only being a haven for wildlife, Oregon is the home to the Oregon Humane Society (OHS)—the largest Humane Society in the Pacific Northwest. OHS finds homes for almost 11,000 pets each year, including more than 6,000 “second chance” animals that couldn’t find homes in 75 other welfare agencies nationwide. The animal numbers don’t stop there. According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) cattle and calves were the second agricultural commodities for Oregon in 2021.

Regardless of the animal population with whom a vet tech works, as the nurses of the animal medicine world, vet techs are essential to the smooth operations at veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, research laboratories, agricultural operations, wildlife conservatories, and more. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), vet techs in Oregon work under the supervision of a licensed vet to obtain and record information, prepare patients and implements for treatments and surgery, collect lab specimens and perform lab tests, perform surgery after-care, and assist veterinarians with diagnosis, surgery, and treatments.

Oregon vet techs who want to experience a sense of camaraderie with their fellow professionals can also join the Oregon Veterinary Technician & Assistant Association (OVTAA). Part of the Portland Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA), the OVTAA is dedicated to fostering recognition for and protecting the vet tech profession in the state. Joining the OVTAA exposes Vet Techs to continuing education opportunities, provides discounts on products and services, gives access to a calendar of local events and lectures, and creates the possibility for connection to the entire veterinary community in Oregon.

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.

Following is a breakdown of the information needed to become a vet tech in Oregon, including accredited programs, vet tech employment and salary statistics, and available resources.

School Website main address online program Avma Accredited
Central Oregon Community College 2600 N.W. College Way, Bend, Oregon, 97701NoYes
Portland Community College-Rock Creek Campus 17705 NW Springville Rd, Portland, Oregon, 97219NoYes

How to Become a Vet Tech in Oregon

Veterinary technicians in Oregon have a fairly prescribed 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 (Four Years)– 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, to be as prepared as possible for their continued education.

Step 2A: Earn Veterinary Technician Degree (Two to Four Years) – 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 (One Year or More) – A degree from an approved vet tech school is not strictly required in Oregon. To become a certified veterinary technician (CVT), those without a degree must submit proof of at least 6,000 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 and whatever degree they earn. This training requirement ranges from 1,500 hours for those with a bachelor’s degree in a field such as zoology to 4,500 hours for those who do not complete enough credits to earn an approved degree.

Step 3: Pass VTNE (Timeline Varies) – 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 (Timeline Varies) – No matter which path to certification a new vet tech takes, 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 (Timeline Varies) – 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 Medical Examining Board.

Vet Tech Career Outlook in Oregon

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) predicts there will be significant growth in the number of jobs available for vet techs in the coming years. The overall demand for vet techs in the U.S. is expected to increase by 20 percent between 2021 and 2031, which is much faster than the average 5 percent growth rate expected for all jobs. With 24,100 fresh vet tech positions expected in the coming decade nationwide, there should be ample opportunities for animal lovers seeking to break into this career.

With this growth in new jobs, the veterinary technology field is strong nationally and in Oregon. In Oregon (OR), veterinary technician and technologist jobs are expected to increase by 22.6 percent between 2020 and 2030 (Projections Central 2023).

For those who have graduated from accredited vet tech schools in Oregon, there are several employment opportunities across various environments, including animal hospitals, small clinics, zoos, universities, biomedical research facilities, farms, and more. According to Indeed (June 2023), vet techs can find jobs in Oregon at places like the Oregon City Veterinary Clinic, Oregon Health & Science University, Edgewood Animal Clinic, Frontier Veterinary Hospital, and Petco, among others.

The Portland Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) maintains an active listing of jobs all across the state, including opportunities to work with organizations like the Multnomah County Animal Services, Irvington Veterinary Clinic, VCA Jackson Animal Hospital, Veterinary Cancer & Surgery Specialists, Hart Road Animal Hospital, DoveLewis Animal Hospital, and more. In addition to PVMA, Oregon-minded vet techs can find local opportunities on or iHireVeterinary.

Finally, there are several specialties for veterinary techs designated by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Some may choose to pursue these credentials and specialized skills to enhance their employment prospects and earning potential. Popular subfields include animal behavior, anesthesia & analgesia, dermatology, clinical pathology, internal medicine, critical care, zoological animals, surgery, nutrition, and more.

To learn more about these specialties and how to become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS), please check out the main page on veterinary technicians.

Vet Tech Salaries in Oregon – How Much do Vet Techs Make?

In addition to a strong occupational outlook, Oregon boasts salaries that are higher than the national average. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (May 2022), the 118,750 vet techs across the nation earned an average annual salary of $40,770. In comparison, the 1,620 vet techs working in Oregon earned $43,060 per year, roughly 6 percent more than the national average.

The following chart illustrates earning potential for vet techs in Oregon at various earning percentiles compared to national figures:

United States Oregon
Number of vet tech professionals employed 118,750 1,620
Annual mean wage $40,770 $43,060
10th percentile $29,000 $31,050
25th percentile $34,510 $35,420
50th percentile (median) $38,240 $39,550
75th percentile $46,740 $48,670
90th percentile $54,680 $57,290

When considering earning potential, the cost of living is a key piece of the puzzle. Vet Techs in OR fared better than people in this industry nationwide. It’s important to note that the cost of living in Oregon is also significantly higher than in many other regions. In fact, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2023) found that OR is the eighth most expensive state in which to live, experiencing especially steep housing costs relative to the rest of the country. Please keep this in mind while evaluating the salary data within this region.

VET TECH 1,620 $31,050 $39,550 $57,290
VET ASSISTANT 2,310 $31,600 $36,050 $46,180

CVTEA-Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Oregon

To become certified as a vet tech in Oregon, a person must be a graduate of a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the approval committee of 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 on-campus programs in Oregon:

Portland Community College

Portland Community College has full AVMA accreditation and offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology to graduates of their vet tech program. Courses in this 95-credit program include facility ward care; large animal nursing and restraint; veterinary parasitology; pharmaceutical mathematics; small animal diseases; radiation safety; anesthesiology; applied radiography; veterinary pharmacology; surgical nursing; and more. Students complete three clinicals throughout the seven-term program.

There are course prerequisites and a 40-hour minimum of hours of observation with a veterinarian to apply to the limited entry program. The three-year, average, first-time pass rate for all students taking the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) needed to seek state licensure was 97 percent (2019-2022).

  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($123 per credit); non-resident ($258 per credit)

Central Oregon Community College

Central Oregon Community College offers the other on-campus CVTEA-accredited vet tech program in Oregon. The 104 to 105-credit, full-time, two-year associate of applied science (AAS) degree is only offered to 24 students. Applicants are only accepted every two years.

Courses include small animal nursing; parasitology and pathology; animal hospital and office procedures; veterinary terminology; hematology and urinalysis; exotic and lab animal medicine; radiation safety; and more. The program also includes externships that are designed to provide practical, hands-on experience to students.

Students complete two clinical practicums in their 6th term. Graduates will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and be prepared for the VTNE. Between 2019 and 2022, 100 percent of the COCC vet tech program graduates passed the VTNE on the first try.

  • Location: Bend, OR
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($113 per credit); non-resident veteran ($136 per credit); out-of-district / in-state ($159 per credit); out-of-state ($331 per credit)

Online Vet Tech Programs for Oregon Students

Students with distance-based or time restrictions find it difficult to attend on-campus programs. Luckily there are several CVTEA-accredited online programs in veterinary technology.

It’s important to note that several states have relatively strict regulations concerning online education, and some programs acknowledge in “state authorization” disclosures that they’re unable to provide their program to students in these states. Prospective students are encouraged to verify with program administrators that OR residents are eligible prior to applying.

North Virginia Community College

North Virginia Community College (NOVA) offers an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology ideal for those who wish to develop the latest knowledge and skills that will prepare them for vet tech careers and other related positions in research laboratories, diagnostic laboratories, pharmaceutical or institutional animal colonies, animal hospitals, and zoological parks. Courses can be taken online, on campus, or a combination of both. Students will have two or three Loudoun campus visits per semester.

The curriculum includes courses such as animal diseases; animal breeds and behavior; clinical pathology; animal dentistry; anesthesia of domestic animals; anatomy and physiology, and animal pharmacology. The program consists of 68 credits.

Between 2019 and 2022, 71 percent of the NOVA vet tech program graduates passed the VTNE on the first try.

  • Location: Annandale, VA
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to three years
  • Estimated Tuition: Virginia resident ($180.40 per credit); out-of-state ($359.65 per credit)

Colby Community College

Colby Community College offers an online AAS degree program in veterinary nursing. Students will not be required to visit the campus for any reason; however, the college offers on-campus weekend mentorships during the spring and fall semesters for their laboratory animal and exotic pet mentorship, microbiology mentorship, and large animal mentorship courses as a convenience for students who do not have those species in their area.

This school enjoyed an 82.35 percent first-time VTNE-pass rate among its graduates between 2019 and 2022.

Made up of 82 credits, this program features coursework in breeds of domestic animals; basic nutrition of domestic animals; animal facility management & sanitation; immunology; laboratory animal & exotic pet medicine; hematology; veterinary parasitology; clinical chemistry; and veterinary critical care and clinical skills.

  • Location: Colby, KS
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Part-time (eight terms); full-time (four terms)
  • Estimated Tuition: Thomas County ($139.75 per credit); Kansas resident ($144.75 per credit); out-of-state ($198.75 per credit)

For more information on distance-based veterinary technician programs, visit our online vet tech programs page.

CVT Certification & Program Accreditation for Vet Techs in Oregon

Applying for a certified veterinary technician license 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 a short time to become certified and licensed techs.

It’s important that students consider schools that have AVMA accreditation. Accreditation ensures that the school has a rigorous program that meets specific standards of vet tech training. Some of the things the AVMA examines when looking at program accreditation include:

  • Admissions
  • Curriculum
  • Institutional accreditation
  • Resources for training
  • Students
  • Staff

Students will find a variety of vet tech programs that are available nationwide. By choosing one of the vet tech schools in Oregon with AVMA accreditation, they may be on their way toward career establishment and success.

Jocelyn Blore (Chief Content Strategist)

After graduating from UC Berkeley, Jocelyn traveled the world for five years as an English teacher and freelance writer. After stints in England, Japan, and Brazil, she settled in San Francisco and worked as a managing editor for a tech company. When not writing about veterinary technology, nursing, engineering, and other career fields, she satirizes global politics and other absurdities at Blore’s Razor.