In Georgia, the Empire State of the South, there are a number of distinguished veterinary technician schools that can help prepare animal-lovers for a career in veterinary technology, a rapidly growing field. In fact, nationally, the Bureau of Labor (BLS 2020) anticipates a 16 percent increase in vet tech jobs between 2019 and 2029, much faster growth than the average expected for all occupations (4 percent).
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are six accredited programs across Georgia (GA) to impart skills such as medical record-keeping, soothing animal patients, and performing laboratory analyses. These schools include Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, boasting an 89 percent first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) among its graduates between 2017 and 2020. Since this is a prerequisite to becoming a registered veterinary technician (RVT) in GA, it’s essential to pass the VTNE in order to join this growing profession.
Other schools in GA offer quality programs as well and can prepare graduates to compete for the 18,300 additional job openings expected to be created nationally for vet techs between 2019 and 2029 (BLS 2021).
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Ashworth College||6625 The Corners Parkway, Norcross, Georgia, 30092 800-957-5412||Yes||Yes|
|Athens Technical College||800 U.S. Hwy 29 North, Athens, Georgia, 30601||No||Yes|
|Fort Valley State University||1005 State University Dr, Fort Valley, Georgia, 31030-4313||No||Yes|
|Gwinnett Technical College||5150 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, Georgia, 30043-5702||No||Yes|
|Ogeechee Technical College||One Joseph E. Kennedy Blvd., Statesboro, Georgia, 30458||No||Yes|
|Southern Regional Technical College (formerly Southwest Georgia Technical College)||15689 U.S. Highway 19 North, Thomasville, Georgia, 31792||No||Yes|
AVMA-Accredited Veterinary Technician Programs in Georgia
The state of Georgia features six AVMA-accredited veterinary technician programs. Here is an overview of each of these quality offerings:
Ashworth College, located in Norcross, Georgia, offers an online associate in applied science (AAS) veterinary technician program. In addition to flexible coursework offered online, students enrolled at Ashworth will work in real-world environments ranging from animal hospitals to zoos to earn 270 hours of clinical experience.
Coursework in the four-semester program includes small animal husbandry and restraint, diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, veterinary anesthesia and surgical nursing, and laboratory and exotic animal care and nursing. Ashworth is a highly affordable program, boosting a per-credit rate of $84.
In addition to standard veterinary coursework, Ashworth integrates job search preparation into studies and also offers career services. VTNE’s initial accreditation was in 2018, and VTNE first-time pass rates are not currently listed.
Athens Technical College—located near the University of Georgia—offers an associate of science (AS) degree in veterinary technology. Out-of-state students are only admitted if program spaces cannot be filled with Georgia residents.
The curriculum is steered by a technical skills checklist designed to set its graduates up for success. Coursework includes courses such as veterinary clinical pathology; pharmacology; veterinary pathology and diseases; veterinary anesthesiology and surgical procedures; veterinary diagnostic imaging; and more. Students also complete a clinical internship for a total of 80 credits for the program.
Athens also offers a variety of optional networking memberships in professional organizations such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) and the Georgia Veterinary Technician and Assistant Association (GVTAA). Athens Technical College boasted an impressive first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 100 percent in 2018.
Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA had an 89 percent first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) between 2017 and 2020. This five-semester associate of applied science (AAS) program provides small class sizes and individualized instruction to learn the techniques of the profession.
The five semesters do not include prerequisites in the areas of communication, social/behavioral sciences, mathematics, and humanities/fine arts. Veterinary technician courses include veterinary medical terminology; animal anatomy and physiology; veterinary clinical procedures; pharmacology for veterinary technicians; laboratory and exotic animals for veterinary technicians; and more, for a total of 79 credits. Gwinnett also created a guide to being a vet tech to give prospective animal care professionals valuable insight into the work environment and what to expect from the day-to-day.
Ogeechee Technical College of Statesboro (just outside of Savannah) awards graduates an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology and strives to maintain (and attract) quality faculty by having a benchmark goal for teaching awards.
Applicants must have completed 40 documented hours of volunteer service in a veterinary hospital. Courses include general requirements in fine arts, mathematics, and behavioral sciences as well as core courses such as veterinary clinical pathology; pharmacology for veterinary technicians; veterinary practice management; veterinary anesthesiology and surgical procedures; and others.
In addition, students complete clinical internships in various counties throughout Georgia. From 2017 to 2020, 86 percent of its graduates passed the VTNE on the first attempt, in line with the national average.
Southern Regional Technical College (formerly Southwest Georgia Technical College) in Thomasville offers a seven-semester AAS degree in veterinary technology. Students may enter the program in the fall and the program consists of a minimum of 83 semester-hour credits. In addition to general education credits, courses include veterinary clinical pathology; veterinary diagnostic imaging; veterinary clinical procedures; animal anatomy and physiology; laboratory and exotic animals; and more. Students also participate in a clinical internship.
The program seeks to impart essential skills of the profession including how to identify common parasites in animals, how to administer and read diagnostic radiographs, and how to perform an intravenous catheterization of an animal’s cephalic vein. Between 2017 and 2020, 60.9 percent of Southern Regional Technical passed the VTNE their first time.
Finally, Fort Valley State University in the Macon area offers a bachelor of science (BS) in veterinary science to people who want to pursue more advanced education. In this broad-based examination of animal healthcare, students have the option of completing a pre-veterinary medicine curriculum that can prepare interested applicants for veterinary school. The program consists of 60 credits of core bachelor’s courses and 60 hours of the veterinary major concentration. FVSU has a VTNE first-time pass rate of 50 percent for 2018-2021.
How to Become a Vet Tech in Georgia (GA)
Here are the typical steps to becoming a veterinary technician in Georgia:
- Step 1: Graduate from a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). As stated above, there are currently five AVMA-accredited programs in GA. It’s important to verify that a given program is accredited not only because it is a measure of quality, but also because only those who have graduated from one of these programs can sit for the national exam.
- Step 2: Pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). In order to become a vet tech in Georgia, aspiring members of this field must pass this exam which is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The test—administered during three one-month long windows annually—measures an applicant’s nine domains of knowledge essential to practice as a vet tech. These include pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, and animal dentistry. There is no state exam required in GA.
- Step 3: Apply for licensure as a registered veterinary technician (RVT) through the Georgia Board of Veterinarians. In order to practice as a vet tech in GA, an individual must be registered with the state board.
Please note that veterinary technicians in Georgia are expected to renew their licenses on March 31st of even-numbered years with ten hours of continuing education (CEU), five of which can be completed online.
Promising Career Outlook & Salary for Vet Techs in Georgia (GA)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) indicates that there are currently 3,440 vet techs working in Georgia, for an average annual wage of $34,220. Taking into consideration the BLS’s projected 16 percent growth in the occupation between 2019 and 2029, there may be 550 new positions created. This figure may be greater or lesser depending on factors such as population growth and area demand. Here’s how the salary for Georgia vet techs compares to the national average:
|Number of vet techs employed||109,490||3,440|
|Average annual salary||$37,860||$34,220|
|50th percentile (median)||$36,260||$33,850|
One thing to consider in terms of salary averages is the cost of living. While the average vet tech salary of $34,220 in Georgia is less than the average salary of $37,860 for vet techs across the nation (BLS May 2020), Georgia is also one of the most affordable places in the U.S. to live.
According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Georgia is the seventh most affordable state in the US, boasting particular savings in housing and utilities. In the case of Georgia, this means that vet tech salaries go further than they would in more expensive regions.
Vet techs in Georgia are employed in animal shelters, laboratories, kennels, private clinics, zoos, and other locations. They may work non-traditional hours (e.g., weekends, holidays, nights) depending on the needs of the animal patients.
In addition to job opportunities, the state of Georgia offers professional networking for veterinary technicians. One of the agencies in the state dedicated to veterinary care is the Georgia Veterinary Technician and Assistant Association (GVTAA). The GVTAA features resources including job postings, scholarships and awards, continued education (CU) opportunities, and more.
Here is a summary of the salary ranges and employment data for vet techs and assistants across the state of Georgia:
|VETERINARY CAREER||GEORGIA JOBS||SALARY DATA (BLS 2020)|
|LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE)||MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE)||HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)|
Georgia Veterinary Technician Registration (Licensing) & School Accreditation Information
Prior to enrolling in a program, people are encouraged to seek out vet tech schools in GA that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This organization weighs criteria such as student outcomes, quality of instruction, and facilities for practice in order to ensure consistency and excellence across veterinary technician programs in the U.S.
Graduating from an approved program is also a prerequisite for taking the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), an essential step to becoming a vet tech in GA. In order to join this profession in Georgia, people must apply for licensure through the Georgia Board of Veterinarians to become a registered veterinary technician (RVT). Requirements for this application include a completed verification of education form, an affidavit of experience, a $50 processing fee, and having one’s VTNE scores sent to the administration office.
Finally, RVTs in Georgia are required to renew their licenses every two years following the completion of ten hours of continued education (CU). Five of these hours can be completed online. The Georgia Veterinary Technician and Assistant Association (GVTAA) offers CE opportunities.