Vet Tech Programs in Texas

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The Texas motto is “Friendship” and it turns out that humans aren’t the only gregarious companions in the Lone Star State. With a population of 13 million, the bovine population in Texas is larger than the human population in all but four states in the union. In addition to a huge population of cows, Texas provides the natural habitats for a wide range of amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles – creating astounding demand for veterinary technicians within the state.

Veterinary technicians are the nurses of the animal world, responsible for tasks that aid veterinarians in tasks such as diagnosis, treatment delivery, and surgery. According to the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, vet techs in Texas can draw blood, take testing samples, and perform most non-medical, office-related tasks without direct supervision. Under the supervision of a licensed vet, Texas vet tech responsibilities may include suturing existing incisions, inducing anesthesia, extracting loose teeth, performing euthanasia, and administering rabies vaccines.

According to the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA)—a professional association that supports and advocates for veterinary professionals in the state – veterinary techs in Texas do not require a license to practice. However, if this is a choice that a veterinary professional makes, they cannot call themselves a “Licensed Veterinary Technician” (LVT). In addition to a greater scope of practice, LVTs can be even more helpful to a hospital or practice because they can supervise certified veterinary assistants (CVAs) and veterinary assistants in certain tasks like inducing anesthesia.

Read on to discover how to become a veterinary technician in Texas, as well as information about the employment outlook, accredited vet tech programs, and professional licensure in the state.

Strong Job Outlook for Aspiring Vet Techs in Texas

Texas offers an outstanding employment climate for current and aspiring veterinary technicians. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) projected that opportunities nationwide for vet techs will increase 15 percent between 2020 and 2030. This figure is much higher than the average growth anticipated across all occupations during that period (8 percent).

In TX, these prospects look even more bright. Projections Central (2022) found that openings for veterinary technicians and technologists are expected to increase 22 percent between 2018 and 2028 in Texas—faster than what’s anticipated nationally.

There is further evidence that the employment climate is thriving for veterinary technologists and technicians in TX. In fact, common job posting sites are filled with opportunities. For example, Indeed (June 2022) posted 994 job opportunities with employers such as Harris County, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Veterinary Emergency Group, and Texas A&M University. Monster (June 2022) has postings at varied locations as well such as Thrive Pet Healthcare, Smith & Shedd Family Pet Hospital, Jobot, and Southeast Animal Hospital. In sum, there are ample opportunities in this field across the state.

Vet techs in Texas are employed in a wide array of working environments including veterinary clinics, hospitals, laboratories, ranches, farms, amusement parks, zoos, animal shelters, and rescue facilities. In addition to the strong employment outlook for vet techs, Texas is also home to a number of professional associations and networking opportunities. A popular agency in Texas for the advancement and education of vet techs, assistants and veterinary hospital staff is the Veterinary Team Association of Texas (VTAT).

Additional resources and career-related support can be found at the Southwest Veterinary Symposium held every September in Texas. This annual conference provides CE, product exhibitions, and networking opportunities for industry professionals.

Some veterinary technicians in Texas work regular business hours whereas others may be called to work holidays, evenings, or weekends for monitoring the health of their animal patients. Additionally, some vet techs in TX may find it advantageous to specialize and become veterinary technician specialists (VTS). This process not only enhances a person’s skills in one particular field but also can enhance one’s resume and salary prospects.

To learn more about how to become a VTS, visit the veterinary technician careers page.

Texas Vet Tech Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2021) reported an annual average salary of $38,250 among the 118,670 vet techs across the country. In more detailed terms, here is how vet tech salaries in Texas compare to national averages:

United States Texas
Number of vet techs employed 118,670 13,910
Average annual salary $38,250 $33,040
10th percentile $28,370 $23,090
25th percentile $29,810 $28,660
50th percentile (median) $36,850 $30,430
75th percentile $45,750 $36,350
90th percentile $48,100 $43,940

When looking at the comparison between averages for national salaries, and averages for Texas vet tech salaries, it’s clear that Texas vet techs are earning less than the national average. Luckily for the vet tech practicing in Texas, the cost of living in Texas is also on the lower side. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2022), Texas is the 15th least expensive state in the union, boasting a less-than-average cost of living for everything except utilities.

It’s important to note that these figures also varied based on the source of data. For illustration, Indeed (April 2022) found an average annual salary of $34,344 among Texas veterinary technicians, while Payscale (April 2022), found the following percentiles nationally:

10th percentile: $29,000
50th percentile (median): $38,578
90th percentile: $55,000

VETERINARY CAREER TEXAS JOBS SALARY DATA (BLS MAY 2021)
LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE) MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE) HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)
VET TECH 13,910 $23,090 $30,430 $43,940
VET ASSISTANT 5,060 $21,520 $28,060 $36,670

How to Become A Vet Tech in Texas

According to the Texas Board of Veterinary Examiners, licensure is not required to practice as a veterinary technician in the state, but it is an option available to those joining the profession. As of early 2020, only those who have successfully completed the licensed veterinary technician (LVT) admissions process can refer to themselves as LVTs.

It may be advisable to seek licensure for several reasons. First, veterinary medical boards in some states offer reciprocal licensure, certification, or registration process in case a person relocates to another region of the country. Only licensed candidates who have passed the national Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) can qualify.

Also, employers typically prefer candidates who have the highest credentials and proven competencies for a position. Becoming an LVT can be an indicator of one’s professional achievement. Finally, being an LVT may even qualify a candidate for higher pay than unlicensed professionals in this field.

Here is one possible path to becoming a licensed vet tech in TX:

  • Graduate from high school (four years). In order to gain admittance to a competitive vet tech program, students generally must have high grades in subjects such as biology, chemistry, and anatomy (if available) in order to thrive in this scientific occupation. It may be wise to seek out volunteer opportunities at animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and other environments to prepare for this line of work.
  • Graduate from a vet tech program in Texas accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (two to four years). This process normally takes two to four years, depending on a student’s educational goals. Some students choose to enroll in a two-year associate degree program featuring coursework in veterinary nursing care, animal radiology, and surgical assisting techniques, to name a few. Other students choose to pursue a lengthier, more in-depth bachelor’s degree program which may be recommended for people interested in taking on more specialized work, responsibilities, and leadership opportunities.
  • Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). This exam tests students’ knowledge across 11 domains such as pharmacy & pharmacology, dentistry, and diagnostic imaging. This test is a prerequisite to becoming an LVT in Texas.
  • Apply for licensure through the Texas Board of Veterinary Examiners and pass the Texas state exam: the Licensed Technician Veterinary Examination (LVTE). In order to qualify for licensure as an LVT in Texas, a person must submit an application, proof of graduation from an AVMA-accredited vet tech program, and pass two exams: the VTNE (first) and Texas’s special state exam, the LVTE.
  • Renew license annually. This process involves the completion of 10 hours of continued education (CE).
School Website main address online program Avma Accredited
Austin Community College 1501 West U.S. Hwy. 290, Elgin, Texas, 78621NoYes
Blinn College 301 Post Office Street, Bryan, Texas, 77801NoYes
Collin College 3452 Spur 399 - McKinney, Texas, 75069NoYes
Dallas College (Formerly Cedar Valley College) 3030 North Dallas Ave, Lancaster, Texas, 75134-3799YesYes
Lone Star College 30555 Tomball Pkwy, The Woodlands, Texas, 77375NoYes
McLennan Community College 1400 College Drive, Waco, Texas, 76708NoYes
Palo Alto College 1400 W Villaret Blvd, San Antonio, Texas, 78224-2499NoYes
Pima Medical Institute - El Paso 6926 Gateway Boulevard E, El Paso, Texas, 79915NoYes
Pima Medical Institute-Houston 10201 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas, 77024NoYes
Pima Medical Institute-San Antonio 6550 First Park Ten Blvd, San Antonio, Texas, 78213NoYes
Texas A&M University-Kingsville 700 UNIVERSITY BLVD., Kingsville, Texas, 78363NoYes
Tyler Junior College 1237 South Baxter Avenue, Tyler, Texas, 75701NoYes
Vet Tech Institute of Houston 4669 Southwest Fwy Ste 100, Houston, Texas, 77027NoYes
Weatherford College 225 College Park Drive Weatherford, Texas, 76086NoYes

Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Texas

In order to become a licensed veterinary technician (LVT) in Texas, it is imperative to graduate from a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). There are currently 14 of these programs, with one school offering both online as well as on-campus programs.

As mentioned above, while licensure is not essential for practice as a veterinary technician in this state, it may be advisable since it can enhance one’s job prospects after graduation. Note that all accredited programs require hands-on training through labs and externships or preceptorships in order to demonstrate learned skills.

Here is a synopsis of the AVMA-accredited vet tech programs in Texas:

Austin Community College

Austin Community College offers a 60-credit CVTEA-accredited program in Elgin, TX. Courses include canine and feline clinical management; veterinary radiology; veterinary office management; large animal assisting techniques; anesthesia and surgical assistance; and more. Between 2018 and 2021, Austin Community college graduates had a first-time VTNE pass rate of 88.5 percent.

  • Location: Elgin, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($9,525); out-of-district ($21,595); out-of-state ($25,615)

Blinn College

Blinn College in Bryan, TX, offers a two-year AAS degree program beginning each fall only with a competitive admissions process. This program is offered in collaboration with Texas A&M University which is where students receive much of their schooling in the second year. Courses include veterinary jurisprudence and ethics; pharmacological calculations; veterinary nutrition; anesthesia and surgical assistance; and more.

Blinn College graduates had a 78.57 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE between 2018 and 2021. Apart from the traditional AAS, Blinn College also allows students to complete this program in a blended three-year format.

  • Location: Bryan, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $15,000

Collin College

Collin College in Wylie, TX, offers a two-year associate of an applied science degree program in veterinary technology providing students with an opportunity to develop and advance their skills in the administration of medications, client education, surgical assisting, laboratory diagnostics, anesthetic monitoring, problem-solving, and dental cleanings.

The program’s 60-credit curriculum includes coursework in veterinary medical terminology; veterinary parasitology; veterinary anatomy and physiology; canine and feline clinical management; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary radiology; and anesthesia and surgical assistance, among others.

  • Location: Wylie, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($3,240); out-of-district ($6,000); out-of-state ($16,020)

Dallas College

Dallas College (formerly Cedar Valley College) in Lancaster offers two vet tech associate degree programs: a traditional on-campus option and a distance education veterinary technology program (DEVTP). The latter web-based program is open to students employed at least ten hours per week in an approved facility such as a veterinary clinic.

Between 2018 and 2021, 68 percent of the students passed the VTNE on the first try. Finally, Cedar Valley also offers certificate opportunities to enhance specialized skills such as small animal assisting and large animal assisting.

The curriculum includes courses such as veterinary pharmacology; introduction to veterinary technology; canine and feline clinical management; veterinary office management; veterinary clinical pathology; veterinary parasitology; and equine clinical management.

  • Location: Lancaster, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Dallas County residents ($79 per credit); out-of-county residents ($135 per credit); out-of-state/out-of-country residents ($200 per credit)

Lone Star College

Lone Star College–Tomball also offers a veterinary technology AAS degree that takes two years to complete. Courses include veterinary medical terminology; exotic animal clinical management; food animal clinical management; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary radiology; and more. Credits earned in the 30-credit veterinary assistant certificate program can be applied to the 60-credit AAS degree. Lone Star graduates have a first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 70 percent (2018-2021).

  • Location: Tomball, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($96 per credit); out-of-district Texas resident ($214 per credit); out-of-state ($269 per credit)

McLennan Community College

McLennan Community College in Waco provides an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology which typically takes six semesters to complete. This 60-credit-hour program is designed to prepare students for the Texas LVT process, and features courses such as veterinary anatomy & physiology; veterinary medical terminology; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary parasitology; canine and feline clinical management; anesthesia & surgical assistance; equine clinical management; large animal assisting techniques; and veterinary office management. McLennan graduates had a first-time VTNE pass rate of 74 percent between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: Waco, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Six semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: McLennan County residents ($212 per credit); Texas residents ($248 per credit); out-of state residents ($385 per credit)

Palo Alto College

Palo Alto College in San Antonio offers an AAS vet tech program that combines rigorous hands-on experience in its state-of-the-art 15,000 square-foot facility. Palo Alto hosts a broad-based 60-credit curriculum with unique classes such as veterinary nutrition; canine and feline clinical management; exotic animal clinical management; veterinary radiology; veterinary clinical pathology; food animal clinical management; and veterinary medical terminology.

Finally, this school boasted an 87 percent first-time passing rate on the VTNE among its graduates between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 to 36 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($99 per credit); out-of-district ($215 per credit); out-of-state ($466 per credit)

Pima Medical Institute (Three Campuses)

Pima Medical Institute (three locations) offers an 18-month AAS degree in veterinary technology at their El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio locations. Courses include food and fiber animal; diagnostic imaging for vet techs; laboratory animal science; dentistry techniques; surgical nursing for vet techs; and more.

The first-time pass rate for Pima graduates on the VTNE was 65.38 percent at the Houston location (2018-2021), and 38 percent at the El Paso location (2018-2021). Pima Medical Institute-San Antonio received accreditation in March of 2021, therefore there are no VTNE pass rate statistics available at this time.

  • Location: El Paso, TX; Houston, TX; San Antonio, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the institution for a customized assessment

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University in Kingsville offers another option to future vet-techs looking to study in the Lone Star State. What sets this program apart is the emphasis on wildlife, large animals, and lab animals. The program offered is a four-year BS degree in veterinary technology, and only 30 students are admitted each year.

The institution boasts a 10,000-sq.-ft. teaching facility with animal housing areas, classrooms, lab spaces, surgical rooms, radiology rooms, and more. There is also a university farm, on-campus vivarium, and wildlife center where students gain hands-on practice with animals.

In addition to general education courses, students take courses such as vet diagnostic imaging; vet nursing technology; vet health management; advanced nursing techniques; and vet clinical pathology. The school also offers membership in a veterinary technologists club. First-time pass rates on the VTNE for Texas A&M graduates between 2018 and 2021 were 80.85 percent.

  • Location: Kingsville, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Full-time resident, 15 credits ($9,892); full-time non-resident, 15 credits ($25,746)

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College offers an AAS degree in veterinary technology that takes two years to complete. Courses are similar to other programs and include veterinary anatomy and physiology; radiology; clinical pathology; veterinary office management; lab animal clinical management; large animal assisting techniques; and more for a total of 60 credits. Tyler Junior College received accreditation in March of 2018, therefore there are no VTNE pass rate statistics available at this time.

  • Location: Tyler, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($211 per credit); out-of-district ($271 per credit); out-of-state ($295 per credit)

Vet Tech Institute of Houston

The Vet Tech Institute of Houston provides an 18-month associate of applied science (AAS) degree program in veterinary technology. Students take courses such as animal behavior; veterinary radiology; equine clinical management; veterinary office management; anesthesia and surgical assistance; exotic animal clinical management; clinical–large animal veterinary technician; and veterinary pharmacology in order to garner the essential job skills recommended by AVMA’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

The three-year, first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) was 56.2 percent between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA
  • Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $6,980 per semester

Weatherford College

Weatherford College in Weatherford, TX, offers an associate degree in veterinary technology providing students with the practical hands-on experiential learning and educational background to be successful in veterinary practices in Texas and the United States.

Combining classroom education with valuable clinical and practical opportunities, this 60-credit program includes courses such as introduction to veterinary technology; veterinary anatomy and physiology; veterinary parasitology; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary office management; equine clinical management; clinical veterinary assisting; and veterinary nursing care. Weatherford College received accreditation in February of 2022, therefore there are no VTNE pass rate statistics available at this time.

  • Location: Weatherford, TX
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: five semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($109 per credit); out-of-district Wise County ($139 per credit); out-of-district ($185 per credit); out-of-state ($262 per credit)

For information on CVTEA-accredited, distance-based vet tech programs, visit our online vet tech programs page.

Program Accreditation and Licensing for Vet Techs in Texas

In order to qualify for licensure as a vet tech in Texas, it’s essential to graduate from a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). As mentioned above, while licensure isn’t currently necessary to practice this profession in TX, it may be advisable to enhance one’s candidacy for jobs and opportunities for reciprocal licensure, certification, or a registration in other states.

There are currently 14 AVMA-approved programs in Texas. These schools have met the accreditation standards of the AVMA which include an inspection of program facilities, as well as an examination of program curricula, college finance management, and student outcomes, among other measures.

Finally, in order to become a licensed veterinary technician (LVT) in Texas, a candidate must fulfill several prerequisites:

  • Submit an application
  • Send official transcripts from an AVMA-accredited program
  • Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and send official scores
  • Pass the state-specific Licensed Veterinary Technician Examination (LTVE) provided by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association

These licenses are valid for one year and must be renewed annually following the completion of 10 hours of continuing education (CE).

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.