Veterinary technicians (vet techs) have the privilege of working with animals all day. Depending on where a vet tech finds employment, he or she may work with people’s pets, keeping them healthy so they can live long and happy lives. But vet techs can also work in animal shelters, at schools of veterinary medicine, and even with large and/or exotic animals. Vet techs work alongside veterinarians, assisting with anything from administrative duties to animal surgeries. No day will be exactly the same for a veterinary technician, and for many people that is a recipe for a long career that will never be boring.
Being a vet tech is an ideal career path for an animal lover, and those looking for a new career in West Virginia (WV) would do well to investigate this particular profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for vet techs is increasing around the country. From 2016 to 2026, demand is expected to grow by a whopping 20%, which is much faster than the average demand for all jobs (that hovers around 7% for the same time frame) (BLS, 2017).
Becoming a vet tech in West Virginia does come with some prerequisites, including an education from an AVMA accredited institution. Luckily, there are three on-campus options for aspiring vet techs in West Virginia who are ready to start down the path towards a new career working with animals.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Carver Career & Technical Center (with BridgeValley Community and Technical College)||4799 Midland Dr, Charleston, West Virginia, 25306-6397||No||Yes|
|Mountwest Community & Technical College||One Mountwest Way, Huntington, West Virginia, 25701||No||Yes|
|Pierpont Community and Technical College||1201 Locust Ave, Fairmont, West Virginia, 26554||No||Yes|
Choosing an Accredited Vet Tech Program in West Virginia
Students who are looking for veterinary technician schools in WV will find three that have received American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation. This accreditation ensures a school provides a quality vet tech program and the needed instruction to its students. Read more about the AVMA accreditation process further down the page. Further, AVMA accreditation is required for graduates of vet tech programs who want to work as registered vet techs in West Virginia. The following programs are worth investigating, but aspiring vet techs should be sure the program meets their individual needs before applying.
Carver Career & Technical Center (joint program with the BridgeValley Community & Technical College), in Charleston, is one of the schools for potential vet techs to consider. The program has full accreditation from the AVMA, which it first earned in 2009. The joint program offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology, and tuition is paid to Carver Career & Technology Center. All courses with the exception of microbiology lab and animal anatomy & physiology are delivered at Carver Career Center. Courses in this 5 semester program include animal science; surgical techniques and nursing; veterinary medical terminology; veterinary pathology; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary parasitology; companion animal diseases; and more. The program encompasses 65 credit hours including two preceptorships and a veterinary capstone course. Note that the job placement rate is 100% for Carver graduates. The first time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) for program graduates was 34.7% between 2014 and 2017.
Another accredited veterinary technician program in WV is Pierpont Community & Technical College. This program has been accredited through the AVMA since 1981. Students receive an associate of applied science (AAS) degree when completing the vet tech program and take courses such as:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Technical microbiology
- Diseases of domestic animals
- Animal care for veterinary assistants
- Clinical procedures
- Diseases and medications for veterinary assistants
- Communication and client relations
The program consists of 74 credit hours. Students complete two preceptorships and an applied clinical experience in addition to labs. The first-time pass rate for Pierpont graduates was 41% on the VTNE between 2014 and 2017.
The third on-campus option is offered through MountWest Community and Technical College. This 74-credit hour, two-year program culminates in an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology for graduates. Courses include veterinary emergency and critical care; veterinary office technician procedures; veterinary nursing; veterinary imaging; small animal vet dentistry; veterinary anesthesia; veterinary surgery; and more. Students complete labs and an externship to learn hands-on skills in veterinary technology. MountWest earned AVMA accreditation in February of 2016, therefore no 3-year VTNE pass rates are available at this time.
Students interested in online education have options as well. One of the online vet tech schools to consider is San Juan College. It is fully accredited and leads students to an associate of applied science degree. This can be an ideal choice for those aspiring vet techs who want to work while they are in school or who are unable to attend campus courses due to scheduling or physical distance. It should be noted that online students will still have to complete a clinical practicum before they are eligible for registration with the state of West Virginia. For more information on CVTEA-accredited distance-based options, visit our online vet tech schools page.
How to Become a Vet Tech in West Virginia
In order to become a veterinary technician and find a job in West Virginia, it is important that students follow the required steps to earn the right credentials as efficiently as possible. The following path is the most common one for vet techs:
- Step 1: Graduate High SchoolDuration: 4 Years
A high school diploma or GED is required as a stepping stone towards a vet tech career. High school students who want to pursue this path should be sure to aim for high grades in natural sciences, like biology, for the best chance at obtaining admission to a vet tech program down the line.
- Step 2: Complete a Vet Tech ProgramDuration: 2 Years
While vet tech programs are not uniform, most last two years and result in an associate of science degree in veterinary technology. In West Virginia, in order to become registered as a veterinary technician, students must graduate from an AVMA-accredited institution.
- Step 3: Take the VTNEThe Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) is a computer-based exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The timeline for eligibility to take the exam depends on when the student graduates from the vet tech program. The windows for the exam are available from the AAVSB website. Students must submit their transcript from their vet tech program in order to be eligible for the exam.
- Step 4: Take the West Virginia State Jurisprudence ExamTo become a registered vet tech in West Virginia, you must also complete the West Virginia State Jurisprudence Exam, which covers the state’s WV Veterinary Practice Act and Rules and Regulations. The exam is offered on the first Monday in June each year, or alternate dates may be scheduled with the West Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine (WVBVM).
- Step 5: Apply for West Virginia RegistrationOnce finished with steps 1 through 4, a vet tech is eligible to apply for registration with the WVBVM. Along with transcripts and test scores, the new vet tech must submit a birth certificate and recent photo. More documentation may be required in the event that the applicant has had any name changes or is not a citizen of the U.S.
- Step 6: Renew Registration Annually West Virginia vet techs must renew their registration each year. In order to renew, vet techs must submit proof of at least 8 hours of continuing education units over the previous year, at least four of which must relate directly to veterinary science. Registration renewals are only available from October 1 to February 1.
Strong Outlook for Vet Tech Jobs in West Virginia
Anyone considering a career as a vet tech in the Mountain State will want to know what the outlook is like in terms of demand and expected salary. With a total population of less than 2 million, there are understandably not a large number of jobs in West Virginia. In fact, as of 2017, there were just 330 vet tech jobs in the state (BLS, 2017). Keep reading for a breakdown of where most vet techs are employed in the state, and what kind of salaries expectations are reasonable.
Currently, the top employing areas of West Virginia for vet techs are the Southern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area, with 90 jobs, the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH area with 70 jobs, and Charleston with 50 jobs.
When it comes to salary, West Virginia vet techs earn less than the national average figures.
According to the BLS, national figures are as follows (2017): $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
In contrast, the expected salaries for vet techs across WV are as follows: $29,250 average annual salary
- 10th percentile: $21,080
- 25th percentile: $25,050
- 50th percentile (median): $28,670
- 75th percentile: $32,810
- 90th percentile: $38,380
The discrepancy is largest in the 90th percentile, where vet techs in West Virginia can expect to earn about 22% less than the national average. One aspect to keep in mind however is that West Virginia is more affordable than many states in the nation. It falls 25th for affordability according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC, 2018), with lower than average housing, utilities, transportation and health costs.
The region where a vet tech works can have an impact on how much they make, and this is no different in West Virginia. Consider the following average salaries for the four reported areas in the state (BLS, 2017):
- Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH: $30,500
- Charleston, WV: $31,310
- Northern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area: $31,970
- Southern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area: $28,130
Those vet techs who are committed to finding work in West Virginia should be advised that they may have difficulty landing the perfect job or earning a high salary, however it is possible to succeed in the career with enough perseverance. While there is no state group for vet techs to find camaraderie with their peers, vet techs may consider joining a national association such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA).
|Veterinary Career||West Virginia Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2017)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Certification and Accreditation Information and Requirements in West Virginia
The West Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine regulates and licenses those who work in the field of veterinary medicine, including vets, vet techs, and euthanasia techs. Students who want to work as registered vet techs in the state need to make sure they attend a school with AVMA accreditation. They will also need to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which tests their competency in the field. Afterward, they can apply for licensure through the board.
In West Virginia, vet techs need to renew their license annually. During the year, they need to have completed eight hours of continuing education. At least four of the hours need to relate directly to veterinary science, but techs should always consult the board to make sure the CE they are considering has board approval.
The AVMA accreditation process, which is done through the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), involves a self-assessment on the part of the school, as well as site visits from CVTEA members. Accredited institutions must have a curriculum in place that provides the education required for vet techs as well as faculty and facilities to support this curriculum. New institutions are granted initial accreditation for 5 years until they can be fully vetted.
Students considering the career should see if the vet tech schools in WV they are considering have AVMA accreditation. Only vet tech programs with this accreditation are guaranteed to meet or surpass the minimum requirements needed for a vet tech education. The AVMA looks at many different items when granting accreditation, including:
- Course of study
- Physical facilities
Students attending an AVMA-accredited school should be confident that they will be well prepared for a career following graduation.
|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||RVT||No||Yes||West Virginia requires a written jurisprudence examination.||West Virginia Veterinary Medical Association|