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 20% through 2026, which is much faster than the average for all jobs of 7%. In Oregon (OR), veterinary technician and technologist jobs are expected to increase by 24% between 2014 and 2024, and is the fifth fastest growing occupation in the state for those with associate degrees (CareerOneStop). This sweetens the pot for the state as an ideal place to pursue an education as a veterinary technician. In addition, the mean 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. Following is a breakdown of the information you need to know to become a vet tech in Oregon including accredited programs, vet tech employment and salary statistics, and available resources.
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-Rock Creek Campus||17705 NW Springville Rd, Portland, Oregon, 97229||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 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 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 program include facility ward care; large animal nursing and restraint; veterinary parasitology and pathology; pharmaceutical mathematics; animal health record systems; small animal diseases; radiation safety; anesthesiology; and more. Students complete three clinicals throughout the 7 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 3-year, average, first-time pass rate for all students taking the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which is needed to seek state licensure, was 97.5 percent (2015-2018).
Central Oregon Community College offers the other on-campus CVTEA-accredited vet tech program in Oregon. The 86 credit, full-time, 2 year associate of applied science (AAS) degree is only offered to 24 students and students 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. Students also complete two clinical practicums in their 6th term. Graduates will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and be prepared for the VTNE. No VTNE pass rate information was available for COCC.
For information on distance based veterinary tech programs visit our online vet tech programs page.
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 – 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, 2017)|
|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, May 2017), there are currently 1,810 veterinary technologists and technicians employed in the state of Oregon. These vet techs may be employed in private veterinary offices, shelters, hospitals, or research facilities. And, as mentioned above, veterinary technician and technologist jobs are expected to increase by 24% in OR between 2014 and 2024 (CareerOneStop).
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 national annual salary ranges for veterinary technicians, according to the BLS (May 2017), is as follows: ($34,710 average annual salary)
- 10th percentile: $22,880
- 25th percentile: $27,430
- 50th percentile (median): $33,400
- 75th percentile: $39,860
- 90th percentile: $49,350
As a matter of comparison, here are the annual salary ranges for vet techs in Oregon (BLS 2017): ($35,310 average annual salary)
- 10th percentile: $24,800
- 25th percentile: $29,180
- 50th percentile (median): $34,840
- 75th percentile: $39,900
- 90th percentile: $48,090
In addition, 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. The highest employment rate was found in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA area.
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA: 1,090
- Salem, OR: 200
- Eugene, OR: 140
- Bend-Redmond, OR: 140
- Corvallis, OR: 120
- South Coast Oregon nonmetropolitan area: 40
- Central Oregon nonmetropolitan area: 50
- Medford, OR: 80
The highest employment density does not always mean the highest wages, however, as you can see from the statistics below. Note that Corvallis, OR boasted the highest average annual salary of $39,360, with the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA area coming in second at $36,740 (BLS, 2017):
- Corvallis, OR: $39,360
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA: $36,740
- Bend-Redmond, OR: $32,070
- Eugene, OR: $32,870
- Albany, OR: $27,360
- Medford, OR: $31,840
- Salem, OR: $34,360
- Central Oregon nonmetropolitan area: $31,410
- South Coast Oregon nonmetropolitan area: $29,350
One thing to keep in mind is the cost of living in a state when considering wages. Oregon is the seventh most expensive state in the nation in which to live (MERIC, 2018) and although they boast low utility costs, they have very steep housing costs with only 5 states having higher housing costs in comparison.
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|