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.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Austin Community College||1501 West U.S. Hwy. 290, Elgin, Texas, 78621||No||Yes|
|Blinn College||301 Post Office Street, Bryan, Texas, 77801||No||Yes|
|Dallas College (Formerly Cedar Valley College)||3030 North Dallas Ave, Lancaster, Texas, 75134-3799||Yes||Yes|
|Lone Star College||30555 Tomball Pkwy, The Woodlands, Texas, 77375||No||Yes|
|McLennan Community College||1400 College Drive, Waco, Texas, 76708||No||Yes|
|Palo Alto College||1400 W Villaret Blvd, San Antonio, Texas, 78224-2499||No||Yes|
|Pima Medical Institute - El Paso||6926 Gateway Boulevard E, El Paso, Texas, 79915||No||Yes|
|Pima Medical Institute-Houston||10201 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas, 77024||No||Yes|
|Texas A&M University-Kingsville||700 UNIVERSITY BLVD., Kingsville, Texas, 78363||No||Yes|
|Tyler Junior College||1237 South Baxter Avenue, Tyler, Texas, 75701||No||Yes|
|Vet Tech Institute of Houston||4669 Southwest Fwy Ste 100, Houston, Texas, 77027||No||Yes|
11 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 11 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:
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, and veterinary pharmacology in order to garner the essential job skills recommended by AVMA’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).
Coursework in the program includes animal behavior, veterinary nursing, veterinary medical terminology, and surgical nursing. The three-year, first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) was 63.6 percent between 2017 and 2020.
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 2017 and 2020, 70 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.
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, clinical pathology, and parasitology. McLennan graduates had a first-time VTNE pass rate of 74 percent between 2017 and 2020.
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 2017 and 2020, Austin Community college graduates had a first-time VTNE pass rate of 82.1 percent.
Palo Alto College lies in the heart of the third-top-employing regions for vet techs: San Antonio. This AAS vet tech program combines rigorous hands-on experience in its state-of-the-art 15,000 square-foot facility. Palo Alto hosts a broad-based curriculum with unique classes such as veterinary nutrition, canine and feline clinical management, and exotic animal clinical management. Finally, this school boasted an 88 percent first-time passing rate on the VTNE among its graduates between 2017 and 2020.
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 the second year. Courses include veterinary jurisprudence and ethics; pharmacological calculations, veterinary nutrition; anesthesia and surgical assistance; and more. Blinn College graduates had an 88.5 percent first-time pass rate on the VTNE between 2017 and 2020.
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 veterinary assistant certificate program can be applied to the AAS degree. Lone Star graduates have a first-time pass rate on the VTNE of 69 percent (2016-2019).
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 disease 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 2016 and 2019 were 85.2 percent.
Pima Medical Institute (two locations) offers an 18-month AAS degree in veterinary technology at their Houston and El Paso 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 73 percent at the Houston location (2017-2020), and 37.5 percent at the El Paso location (2018-2020).
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.
For information on CVTEA-accredited, distance-based vet tech programs, visit our online vet tech programs page.
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. 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 (AVMA). 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 to 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).
Strong Job Outlook for Aspiring Vet Techs in Texas
Texas offers an outstanding employment climate for current and aspiring veterinary technicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) reports that there are 12,280 vet techs working in the state, and this number is expected to swell 22 percent in Texas between 2018 and 2028 (Projections Central). Notably, this is higher than the expected growth in this profession nationally. The BLS (2020) predicted a 16 percent increase in openings for vet techs around the country between 2019 and 2029—the addition of 18,300 jobs.
In terms of salary, here is how vet tech salaries in Texas compare to national averages:
|Number of vet techs employed||110,650||12,280|
|Average annual salary||$36,670||$32,700|
|50th percentile (median)||$35,320||$31,070|
When looking at the comparison between averages for national salaries, and averages for Texas vet tech salaries, it’s clear that Texan 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 2020), Texas is the 14th least expensive state in the union, boasting a less-than-average cost of living for everything except utilities.
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.
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, or rescue facilities. In terms of jobs available, iHireVeterinary (2021) listed 940+ jobs for vet techs in organizations such as Banfield Pet Hospital, Bennet Veterinary Hospital, VERGI Animal Emergency 24/7, Lone Star Veterinary Hospital, After Hours Vet, Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center, the Animal ER of Northwest Houston and more.
At 610, Indeed (2021) also boasted an impressive number of vet tech jobs at organizations like Appleby Sand Road Animal Clinic, Comal Pet Hospital, Pearland Animal Cancer and Referral Center, CanyonVet Canyon Lake, and Stuebner Airline Veterinary Hospital.
|VETERINARY CAREER||TEXAS JOBS||SALARY DATA (BLS 2019)|
|LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE)||MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE)||HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)|
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 registration in other states.
There are currently 11 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).