Maine (ME) has rocky coastlines and natural features, which are home to many types of wildlife. Even the most populous city of Portland, Maine has just under 66,000 residents, making it less than 1 percent of the size of New York City.
Despite the Pine Tree State’s relatively small population, there are two accredited vet tech programs available. Following graduation from an AVMA-accredited program, veterinary technicians in Maine can apply for licensure through the Maine Board of Veterinary Medicine.
Continuing education and specialization is also a possibility vet techs can pursue to further their careers. Information on those opportunities, as well as professional support and networking, is available through the Maine Veterinary Medicine Association, which also supports veterinarians in the state. Some specialty areas vet techs may pursue include emergency and critical care, anesthesiology, internal medicine, animal behavior, or dentistry.
According to NAVTA (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America), veterinary technicians nationwide play an important role in the veterinary environment by assisting veterinarians with several procedures that include dentistry, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging, anesthesia, and post-surgical monitoring. They help in maintaining patient records; informing pet-owners about best practices for animal healthcare; processing and analyzing biological samples; giving immunizations and first aid to animals; helping with vet office duties; and keeping facilities and veterinary equipment sterile.
In Maine and across the US, there’s expected to be a wealth of opportunities for veterinary technicians into the future, including for those interested in online programs. Read on to discover accredited veterinary technician programs in Maine, including information on coursework, salary, and licensure.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|University of Maine at Augusta||46 University Dr, Augusta, Maine, 04330-9410||No||Yes|
|York County Community College||112 College Drive, Wells, Maine, 4090||No||Yes|
Demand for Vet Techs in Maine
In Maine and other states, the career is bright for people in the veterinary technology field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) expects veterinary technologist and technician openings nationwide to grow 15 percent between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average growth projected for all occupations during that time (8 percent).
Projections Central (2021) found that openings for veterinary technicians and technologists in Maine are expected to grow at a slightly lower rate (11.9 percent) than what’s anticipated nationally between 2018 and 2028.
Where Do Vet Techs in Maine Work?
Veterinary technicians in ME may seek employment opportunities at several veterinary environments offering animal healthcare such as farms, veterinary hospitals, kennels, specialty animal clinics, food inspection organizations, sanctuaries, rescue centers, biomedical facilities, zoological research institutes, laboratories, aquariums, parks, wildlife centers, and governmental regulatory groups.
While some professionals in this field might work traditional business hours, others might be called to work holidays, weekends, or evenings for serving the needs of veterinary patients.
As further proof of the growing market for vet tech workers in ME, an analysis of common job post websites yielded some promising results. By illustration, Indeed (November 2021) posted job openings for vet techs at places such as The Jackson Laboratory, VCA Animal Hospitals, Broadway Veterinary Clinic, and Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, Inc. Monster (November 2021) had additional postings in ME at Mission Veterinary Partners, VetCor, and Maine Health.
One way in which ME veterinary technicians can stand out is by becoming veterinary technician specialists (VTS). The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recognizes several subfields of veterinary technology, including equine science, dermatology, clinical pathology, laboratory animals, zoological medicine, anesthesia, and dentistry.
To learn more about the VTS pathways, check out the vet tech careers page.
How to Become a Vet Tech in Maine
Here are common steps to become a licensed veterinary technician (LVT) in Maine:
- Step 1: Graduate high school (four years). According to CareerOneStop (2021), which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, just 2 percent of veterinary technicians in the U.S. have less than high school education. High school students that know what career they want to pursue should pay close attention to classes such as biology and chemistry, which will be helpful in further studies and future work. Students may also find it useful and inspirational to volunteer at a local animal shelter or veterinary office.
- Step 2: Complete an accredited vet tech program (two to four years). Vet techs in Maine must complete a vet tech program before they can apply for licensure. Approved programs must be “certified according to the standards adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) or an equivalent program, as determined by the board, and who has passed an examination prescribed by the board.”
- Step 3: Take the VTNE (timeline varies). The Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) is a prerequisite for licensure as a vet tech in Maine. Exam scores should be sent directly to the Board of Veterinary Medicine and reported on the licensure application.
- Step 4: Apply for vet tech licensure in Maine (timeline varies). After completing the steps mentioned above, vet techs are eligible to apply for licensure in the state of Maine. License applicants must submit a completed application along with an application fee and a criminal background check fee. Upon approval, the license will be emailed to the vet tech. Veterinary technicians must renew their license annually for a fee of $50.
Professional networking and development are important for veterinary technicians who are just starting. Groups such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) and local organizations like the Maine Veterinary Medicine Association offer the opportunity for techs to meet other veterinary professionals, learn about continuing education training, and establish a sense of community within the profession.
Salaries for Vet Techs in Maine
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020), the 109,490 veterinary technicians nationwide had an annual average salary of $37,860 and the 750 veterinary technicians in ME had an annual average salary of $37,580.
The table below is a comparison of national and state salaries of veterinary technicians.
|Number of Veterinary Technicians Employed||109,490||750|
|Annual mean wage||$37,860||$37,580|
|50th percentile (median)||$36,260||$36,610|
As with any salary projections, taking into account the cost of living is also important. As such, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) found that Maine was the twelfth most expensive state. For HVAC technicians, this means relatively high salaries may still not go as far as lower salaries in other states, so that is something to keep in mind.
It’s important to note that these figures also varied based on the source of data. By illustration, Indeed (2021) found an average annual salary of $29,827 among ME veterinary technicians.
Additionally, PayScale (2021)—a data aggregator of self-reported salaries in common occupations— found the following percentiles nationally:
- 10th percentile: $27,000
- 50th percentile (median): $36,728
- 90th percentile: $51,000
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Maine
Finding the right school in Maine is vital to becoming a veterinary technician. For licensure purposes, students should attend a program that boasts American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accreditation. This accreditation ensures that a school provides a quality vet tech education to its students that prepares them to begin their professional lives. In Maine, there are two vet techs programs with AVMA accreditation.
The University of Maine at Augusta offers an AVMA-accredited bachelor of science (BS) degree in veterinary technology providing students with extensive training, laboratory experience, and hands-on technical skills. The school has had full accreditation from the AVMA since 2002.
The program is made up of 121 credits including courses such as mammalian anatomy and physiology; microbiology; introduction to veterinary technology; clinical laboratory methods; animal care and handling; pharmacology; surgical nursing & anesthesiology; and radiology.
In addition to labs throughout the program, students have two externships during their final semester. They can complete both at a clinic, or do one at a clinic and one at a laboratory. This gives graduates the hands-on experience they need to begin their careers, as well as important professional contacts for future employment. Facilities for hands-on learning include labs, kennels, a surgical suite, and a radiological suite.
The UMA has a traveling large animal laboratory that covers a practice with equine, sheep, goats, bovine, and pigs. The program stresses values such as compassion for animals and their owners, as well as animal and client psychology. Graduates of this program had a first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) of 73.2 percent between 2018 and 2021.
- Location: Augusta, ME
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
- Estimated Tuition: $239 per credit
The other Maine program that has been accredited by the AVMA is at York County Community College in Wells, Maine. The two-year YCCC program culminates in an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. Students may begin the program in fall, spring, or summer; however, entering in spring or summer may extend the length of the program.
Students learn through a combination of classroom instruction, labs, and external partnerships, and clinical practicums. Comprising 67 credits, the program includes courses such as animal nutrition; veterinary pharmacology; clinical methods; laboratory animal medicine; large animal management; veterinary imaging and dental; veterinary clinical pathology; and more.
Learning outcomes include effective oral, written, and electronic communication skills, knowledge of proper medical terminology, demonstration of ethical and responsible behavior, and a commitment to lifelong learning. Between 2018 and 2021, York County boasted a 72.73 percent VTNE first-time pass rate.
Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Veterinary Technician Examination. They may find employment opportunities in medical laboratories, clinics, veterinary hospitals, and in several pet-related industries that include farm animal medicine, research facilities, animal health product marketing & sales, and the pharmaceutical industry.
- Location: Wells, ME
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: $96 per credit
Accredited Online Vet Tech Programs for Maine Students
Some aspiring veterinary technicians in Maine may be unable to attend courses in person. Fortunately, technology makes online earning accessible, and some great online schools are ready to serve students in Maine.
One of the popular options is San Juan College. The college has full AVMA accreditation and offers students an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology. Vet tech courses are 12 weeks long, and general education courses last 16 weeks. Students can begin the program in January, May, or August of each year.
Consisting of 76 to 80 credits, the program includes courses such as vet diagnostic imaging; vet business procedures; vet clinical pathology; vet anesthesia and surgical assisting; vet nursing care; small animal disease and medical therapeutics; and more. San Juan College vet tech graduates had an impressive 86.8 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE exam between 2018 and 2021.
The program emphasizes techniques for assisting in surgical, clinical, and pharmacology procedures and teaches core business skills required for meeting the needs of the veterinary technology profession. Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Veterinary Technology Examination. They will be well prepared to take up roles such as veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, or practice managers.
- Location: Farmington, NM
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission
- Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: New Mexico residents ($52 per credit); non-New Mexico residents ($164 per credit)
Another option is Penn Foster. The school has full accreditation and also offers students an associate of applied science (AAS) degree. Students in this program will learn about the integumentary, endocrine, and urinary systems of animals, large and small animal medicine, laboratory animal medicine, animal nutrition, and more.
The program consists of 73 credits including coursework in laboratory animal medicine and nursing; small and large animal medicine; surgical nursing for veterinary technicians; pharmacology for veterinary technicians; and animal anatomy and physiology.
It is important to note that students taking online courses will still need to demonstrate real-world skills through externships and other clinical experiences to find employment. Penn Foster graduates had an average first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 75.86 percent between 2018 and 2021.
- Location: Scottsdale, AZ
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
- Expected Time to Completion: 16 to 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: $59 per month
Requirements for Maine Vet Tech Licensure and Program Accreditation
Before veterinary technicians can apply for professional licensure, they need to meet certain requirements set forth by the Maine Board of Veterinary Medicine. They must first complete their degree at a school that has accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
After graduation, or when they are nearing graduation, students need to take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which is an exam that tests their basic vet tech knowledge, and has those results submitted to the licensing board. After passing the exam, they will apply to the board for their license. This license needs to be reviewed and renewed each year on September 30.
In Maine, there are no continuing education requirements for vet techs. However, it is still in the best interest of practicing vet techs to keep up with the latest changes and new technologies in the field to advance in the vet tech career. Vet techs can look for courses to take or seminars to attend throughout the country. Even reading veterinary journals and maintaining a professional network of other vet techs and veterinarians can help in this pursuit of knowledge.
As mentioned above, the vet tech schools in Maine chosen for training need to be approved and AVMA-CVTEA accredited. Before the AVMA grants accreditation, it looks at a school program to make sure it meets or surpasses expected requirements. Some of the variables the AVMA considers during the accreditation process include admissions, curriculum, facility, finances, and informational resources.