Veterinary Technician Schools in Wisconsin

Wisconsin—otherwise known as the “Badger State”—is replete with wildlife. The state boasts not only badgers, but also bobcats, river otters, beavers, elk, coyotes, white-tailed deer, flying squirrels, timberwolves, porcupines, and red foxes, to name a few. WI also has an abundance of animal welfare organizations, professional veterinary societies, and pet care-taking enterprises.

By Illustration, Wisconsin Pet Care LLC offers an array of services including pet sitting, dog walking, canine and feline massage, and animal training. While there are several vet techs on-site to assist with care-taking, competition for these openings is stiff as this Milwaukee area business hires only one person per 145 resumes submitted!

Luckily for animal-lovers in Wisconsin, however, there is a wealth of employment and networking opportunities in America’s Dairyland. The Wisconsin Veterinary Technician Association (WVTA) has a job post board, animal protection advocacy at all levels of government, and discounted continuing education (CE) opportunities.

This non-profit strives to ensure that all members abide by the oft-cited “Veterinary Technician Oath” and provides a rigorous code of ethics encouraging vet techs to provide excellent care, relieve animal suffering, inform the public, assume accountability, protect confidential information, commit to continued learning, and collaborate with other veterinary professionals.

In addition to upholding these ideals, what exactly does a vet tech in WI do? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides a comprehensive list of desired skills in the vet tech profession. Their responsibilities include managing veterinary health records; restraining animal patients during routine exams and vaccinations; helping licensed vets with common procedures (e.g., surgical, dental, diagnostic imaging, etc.); maintaining clinic inventories; sterilizing rooms and equipment; giving first aid to animals; examining laboratory samples (e.g., urine, blood, etc.); educating pet-owners about all aspects of animal care; and keeping abreast of developments in the field of veterinary care, typically through continued education.

For most vet techs in the state, these skills are gained through a degree in veterinary technology, and there are currently five accredited programs in Wisconsin. Additionally, veterinary technicians in Wisconsin must be certified by the Veterinary Examining Board (VEB), a branch of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) chart of regional restrictions, Wisconsin vet techs may legally perform nonsurgical procedures such as administering vaccines, collecting specimens, performing diagnostic imaging (e.g., radiography), providing nutritional counseling to pet-owners, giving anesthesia, and conducting dental extractions under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. For a detailed examination of WI’s scope of practice laws, please visit the AVMA website.

Read on to discover the promising career outlook for vet techs in WI, as well as to explore accredited vet tech programs and how to become a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in Wisconsin.

School Website main address online program Avma Accredited
Fox Valley Technical College 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton, Wisconsin, 54912NoYes
Gateway Technical College 400 County Road H, Elkhorn, Wisconsin, 53121NoYes
Madison College (formerly Madison Area Technical College) 1701 Wright St, Madison, Wisconsin, 53704-2599NoYes
Milwaukee Career College 3077 N Mayfair Rd, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53222NoYes
Northwood Technical College 1900 College Dr, Rice Lake, Wisconsin, 54868NoYes

Outlook for Vet Tech Jobs in Wisconsin

In America’s Dairyland, the future looks very bright for veterinary technicians. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) expects vet tech openings nationwide to swell 15 percent between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average growth projected for all occupations during that time (8 percent).

Projections Central (2021) offers more granular data on the future of vet techs in Wisconsin. It found that openings for veterinary technicians and technologists are expected to increase at a slightly lower rate (11.4 percent) than what’s anticipated nationally.

According to the data from CareerOneStop (2021)—a partner of the US Department of Labor—the field of veterinary technology in WI is predicted to increase 11 percent between 2018 and 2028.

Where Are Wisconsin Vet Techs Employed?

In Wisconsin and beyond, veterinary technicians typically work not only in veterinary clinics and hospitals, but also in zoos, kennels, animal rescue centers, shelters, adoption non-profit organizations, farms, laboratories, biomedical (or pharmaceutical) research facilities, aquariums, and universities.

In addition to popular job search websites such as LinkedIn, Monster, and Indeed, iHireVeterinary maintains current job postings at places such as the Central Animal Hospital, Inc., Animal Hospital of Oshkosh, Great Lakes Veterinary Clinic, Oregon Veterinary Clinic, Pathway Vet Alliance, Vca Animal Hospitals, VCA Antech, Inc., and USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

Also, the Wisconsin Veterinary Technician Association (WVTA) has a job board with career opportunities that may include facilities such as Countryside Veterinary Clinic, Wisconsin Humane Society, Country Hills Pet Hospital, Lake Country Veterinary Care, Trout Creek Veterinary Center, and the Crossroads Veterinary Clinic.

Finally, for vet techs in WI looking to enhance their job candidacy, resume, or salary prospects, one option is to pursue specialization and become a veterinary technician specialist (VTS). There is an abundance of subfields distinguished by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) such as dermatology, critical care, zoological medicine, equine nursing, anesthesia & analgesia, radiology, dentistry, and other niche areas.

For a detailed look at how to get educated and become a VTS in these and other specializations, please check out the vet tech career page.

Vet Tech Salary in Wisconsin

Vet techs in WI make slightly lower salaries compared to national averages across the profession. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) found an average annual salary of $37,860 among the 109,490 vet techs employed nationwide.

For the 2,400 vet techs employed in WI, this figure was $35,650. It’s important to note that the cost of living in Wisconsin is also lower than in many other states across the country. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) reported that WI ranks 24th in affordability, with particular savings in housing compared to the rest of the country.

In more granular terms, how much do vet techs make around the country and in Wisconsin? The table below is a comparison of national and state salaries of veterinary technicians.

United States Wisconsin
Number of Veterinary Technicians Employed 109,490 2,400
Annual mean wage $37,860 $35,650
10th Percentile $25,520 $26,320
25th Percentile $30,030 $30,740
50th Percentile (Median) $36,260 $35,550
75th Percentile $43,890 $39,830
90th Percentile $52,410 $47,420

It’s important to note that these figures also varied based on the source of data. By illustration, Indeed (November 2021) found an average annual salary of $29,186 among Wisconsin veterinary technicians, and Payscale—a data aggregator of self-reported salaries in common occupations—found national figures which differed from the BLS.

By illustration, PayScale (November 2021), found the following percentiles nationally:

  • 10th percentile: $27,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $36,728
  • 90th percentile: $51,000

Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Wisconsin

For aspiring veterinary technicians in WI, there are currently five programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). For more information on the accreditation process, please visit the last section of this article.

Madison College

One CVTEA-accredited AAS vet tech program is available at the Truax Campus of Madison College (formerly Madison Area Technical College). This school imparts the fundamentals of the discipline including animal husbandry, nutrition, laboratory analyses, anesthetic administration, and other skills. Students enrolled in the program have the option to complete the program completely on-campus or as a hybrid learning format offering a combination of in-person and online courses.

The program is made up of 64 credits. Courses at Madison College include lab animal science; veterinary medical terminology; animal care and management; animal disease; pharmacology; veterinary technician clinical; diagnostic imaging; and surgical nursing. Students will also be prepared to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam. Impressively, between 2018 and 2021, 82 percent of Madison’s graduates passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) on their first attempt.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities such as veterinary technicians and laboratory animal technicians at large animal or equine facilities, research environments, humane societies, and mixed animal or exotic animal practices.

  • Location: Madison, WI
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $10,714.40 total

Milwaukee Career College

Milwaukee Career College provides an accredited associate degree in veterinary technology geared toward veterinary assistants who wish to evolve into the next phase of their careers. The program at MCC provides advanced training in observing animal behavior, giving x-rays, collecting patient histories, and other cornerstones of veterinary technology.

In addition to providing hands-on training to students, this program helps them in gaining real-world experience through an externship that lasts 12-weeks at a real veterinary practice. Students will also be prepared for successful completion of the Veterinary Technician National Exam.

Comprising 73.5 credits, the program includes courses such as food and fiber; diagnostic imaging for veterinary technicians; lab animal science and exotic medicine; nursing for veterinary technicians; emergency procedures; equine medicine; and more. Milwaukee Career College graduates had a 41.9 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE between 2017 and 2020.

The program prepares students for entry-level employment as veterinary technicians through hands-on laboratory exercises and classroom lectures. Graduates of this program will be competent enough for performing a wide range of skills such as client education, anesthetic, advanced animal nursing, radiographic procedures, surgical assisting, and dental prophylaxis.

  • Location: Milwaukee, WI
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Less than two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the college for details

Gateway Technical College

Gateway Technical College offers a high in demand veterinary technician program preparing students to provide medical care to all sorts of animals. They work with live animals in almost every course and get hands-on training in state-of-the-art labs simulating real-world veterinary practices.

The program includes four clinical placements ensuring that students understand the specializations, tools, and diverse styles in the veterinary field. Students in this program will be ready to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). Gateway Technical College graduates had a 67 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE between 2018 and 2021.

This AS program includes courses such as veterinary business practices; microbiology; surgical procedures for vet sciences; lab animals and non-traditional pets; clinical skills for veterinary science; clinical pathology; and more. Students also complete labs and an internship for a total of 66 credits.

On successful completion of the program, graduates can take up roles such as emergency veterinary technicians, veterinary lab technicians, and veterinary technicians.

  • Location: Elkhorn, WI
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $11,035 total

Northwood Technical College

Northwood Technical College offers a veterinary technician associate degree program preparing students in obtaining patient history and performing the initial physical exam, placing intravenous catheters and giving injectable medications, anesthetizing and monitoring patients, and assisting in surgery. They will also be trained to do dental cleanings on cats and dogs, apply splints and bandages, and evaluate lab samples under the microscope.

The program comprises 65 credits including courses such as animal care and management; veterinary business practices; veterinary medical terminology; clinical pathology; surgical procedures; imaging for veterinary sciences; and veterinary pharmacology, among others. Students will work alongside other veterinary technicians and veterinarians in the field to get real-world exposure.

Graduates of the program are eligible to take the Veterinary Technical National Exam (VTNE). VTNE pass scores are not available as Northwood Technical College received AVMA accreditation on February 4, 2021.

  • Location: New Richmond, WI
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $10,892 total

Fox Valley Technical College

Fox Valley Technical College offers an associate of applied science program in veterinary technician preparing students in managing veterinary business functions, administering prescribed drugs, performing laboratory procedures, producing diagnostic radiographic images, and integrating all aspects of patient management for surgical, medical, and anesthetic nursing procedures.

The program consists of 65 credits including coursework in animal science fundamentals; veterinary medical terminology; animal health; veterinary clinical pathology; animal anatomy & physiology; animal nursing; and veterinary surgical nursing; among others.

Fox Valley Technical College also does not have VTNE pass scores available as it received AVMA accreditation on February 18, 2021.

  • Location: Appleton, WI
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $11,014 total

Accredited Online Vet Tech Programs for Wisconsin Residents

For some prospective vet techs in WI, attending an on-campus program can prove difficult due to familial, professional, and other types of obligations. Fortunately, there are also several distance-based vet tech programs accredited by the CVTEA. These programs typically involve a combination of online didactic coursework and the completion of clinical practicums at local sites approved by the institutions.

Purdue University

Among these distance-based programs is the part-time, 70-credit program at the prestigious Purdue University, which now can be completed in as little as three years. Purdue University’s AAS in veterinary nursing distance learning program (formerly veterinary technology) comprises 27 web-based courses and 18 supervised mentorships thoroughly preparing students for a career in veterinary technology.

Classes include anatomy for veterinary technicians; small animal nursing and health management; diagnostic imaging; sterilization procedures; clinical pathology; and parasitology. Mentorships to be completed at local sites include units in equine nursing, large animal medical nursing, anesthesia (small and large animals), diagnostic imaging (small and large animals), and necropsy.

Graduates of Purdue’s VNDL program had a whopping 96.4 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE between 2018 and 2021.

  • Location: West Lafayette, IN
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 36 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $270 per credit

Penn Foster College

Another popular online vet tech program is available at Penn Foster College that prepares students for an in-demand veterinary healthcare career. The program prepares students to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Between 2018 and 2021, 75.86 percent of Penn Foster’s graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.

Students will also have the opportunity to work alongside licensed veterinary technicians and veterinarians through two clinical externships included in the program.

Made up of 73 credits, the program includes classes such as veterinary office management; medical nursing for vet techs; medical mathematics; pharmacology; surgical nursing for veterinary technicians; clinical parasitology; and anesthesia.

  • Location: Scottsdale, AZ
  • Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 16 to 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $59 per month

For more information about distance-based programs, visit the main online veterinary technician programs page.

Certification for Vet Techs in Wisconsin

Starting January 1, 2016, the duties of the Veterinary Examining Board (VEB) were folded into the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), which is now the main body that certifies veterinary technicians in WI.

To practice as a certified vet tech (CVT) in the state, professional credentialing is necessary. There are currently three ways to become certified in WI:

  • Graduate from a two- to a four-year program in veterinary technology approved by the VEB; for this option, programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) typically qualify
  • Work for at least two years under a veterinarian, spending a minimum of 50 percent of one’s time garnering practical field experience
  • Obtain credentialing in another state and submit a letter of verification

For each category of applications, DATCP requires a notarized application, proof of VEB-approved education (or a letter from one’s employer), VTNE score results, Wisconsin Statutes & Rules exam results, and an application fee (veterans exempted). Also, if there have been any malpractice suits, applicants are required to divulge this in their applications.

The WI vet tech certification is valid for two years and must be renewed following the completion of 15 hours of continuing education (CE). Please note that the first renewal period does not require formal CE documentation.

Please visit the Wisconsin Veterinary Technician Association (WVTA) website for a detailed examination of qualifying CE courses. Online opportunities to complete CE are available at:

Vet Tech Program Accreditation

As mentioned in the overview of approved colleges around WI, aspiring vet techs are encouraged to seek out programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

Not only is graduating from a CVTEA-accredited program a basic requirement to become a credentialed vet tech in most states, but the formal program approval also can serve as a proxy for the quality of training to expect. The CVTEA weighs many variables in its program accreditation process including:

  • Institutional accreditation (see discussion of the Higher Learning Commission below)
  • Organization & communications networks
  • Program finances
  • Curriculum
  • Quality of facilities & equipment
  • Clinical training resource availability
  • Libraries & other student resources
  • Admissions processes
  • Student outcomes assessment
  • Faculty & staff

For a detailed look at each of these, please check out the CVTEA accreditation criteria page.

Finally, in addition to programmatic accreditation (i.e., CVTEA), there is also institutional accreditation. There are currently six main regional organizations recognized by the US Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). For residents of Wisconsin, the main institutional accreditation body is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The criteria for institutional accreditation are similar to that of programmatic accreditation. To learn more about this accreditation process, please visit the HLC website.

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.