Vet Tech School in Delaware: Becoming a Vet Tech
Veterinary technicians are more than assistants. Delaware licenses its veterinary technicians. Licensure is mandatory, and standards are set high. Ultimately, vet techs carry out a wide range of duties under veterinary supervision; these can include basic animal nursing care, surgical nursing, imaging, anesthesia-related care, and client communications. Vet techs may also have a role in managing the animal hospital. It’s not all about cats and dogs! Patients may include birds, exotics – even horses. Delaware Technical and Community College refers interested individuals to the list of skills provided by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (https://www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Education/Accreditation/Programs/Pages/cvtea-pp-appendix-i.aspx).
A Top Vet Tech School Option
Programs typically award degrees at the associate’s level. While there is only one accredited veterinary technology program in Delaware, it is not a student’s only option. Students can complete their education through AVMA-accredited programs in neighboring states or through AVMA-accredited distance programs. Veterinary technology programs include clinical requirements, but partnerships with animal hospitals can help to extend their geographical reach.
Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown enjoys full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The school has a selective admission process. Students are initially ranked according to prerequisite courses completed and grades earned in prerequisite courses. Later they may be invited to interview. Prospective veterinary technology students will meet with an academic advisor or counselor early on. The school website includes a timeline of steps. Students complete a five-credit internship during their final semester. Students can join the Veterinary Technology Club (VETTECH).
Becoming a Delaware Vet Tech
Licensure is by education and examination. Delaware’s standards are those of well-established national organizations.
The prospective veterinary technician is to complete a veterinary technician program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (AVMA-CVTEA). (International programs approved by AVMA are also acceptable.)
Later the candidate will take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). Information about the examination is available from the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (https://www.aavsb.org/vtne-overview/). The VTNE is administered in three testing windows a year. Candidates may submit their applications to the Delaware Board before they finish their degree requirements, though the license will not be issued until afterward.
Licensure is also dependent on having an acceptable background. Requirements (and conditions for waiver) are described in Title 24, Chapter 23 of state code.
Delaware LVTs maintain their licenses through continuing education.
Some veterinary technicians earn third party specialty certification. This is available through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.
Delaware Employers of Veterinary Technicians
One will find some big name animal hospitals in Delaware. There are a number of veterinary hospitals that are under the VCA banner. Banfield Pet Hospital and BluePearl Veterinary Partners also have a presence within the state. BluePearl is a network of veterinary hospitals that provide specialty and emergency services.
Delaware veterinarian technicians work for practices such as the following:Veterinary practices are a varied set. Wilmington Animal Hospital offers holistic services as well as the more common veterinary services like vaccinations, dental care, spay/ neuter, and surgery. Limestone Veterinary Hospital in Hockessin offers rehabilitative services. Windcrest Animal Hospital, also located in Wilmington, is a 24-hour emergency facility that also offers rehabilitative services, including aquatic therapy.
Among the duties referenced in Delaware job postings are placing IV catheters, drawing blood, triaging emergency cases, administering fluids, and providing surgical assistance.
Employers may reference career ladders. Some veterinary technicians role are specialized, for example, emergency and critical care.
While veterinarian practices are the most common setting nationwide, they are by no means the only one. Among the mid-2019 Delaware job postings was one for the Brandywine Valley SPCA; they were seeking a new technician who would be on board to “help save more lives”. Among the qualifications: experience safely and humanely handling animals who were large and who might not be well trained. The Brandywine Valley SPCA was featured in an article in Delaware Online in 2018 (https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2018/04/12/brandywine-valley-spca-open-humane-education-center/511365002/).
Vet Tech Salary in Delaware and Career Outlook
Delaware’s veterinary technician occupation has been projected to grow by 15.6% over the course of the 2016 to 2026 decade.
Delaware veterinary technicians earned a median hourly wage of $16.37 in 2018; the Bureau of Labor Statistics equates this to an annual salary of $34,040. Those at the 10th percentile earned $12.67, or $26,360, while those at the 90th percentile earned $22.24, or $46,260.
Delaware Technical and Community College has stated that competitive starting salaries are in the $25,000 to $35,000 range.
Student and Professional Resources
Licensing information is available from the Delaware Board of Veterinary Medicine (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/veterinarymedicine/vettech_newlicense/). The Board can be reached at 302-744-4500. Applicants can download the application form directly from the website.
Additional resources are available from the National Association of Veterinarian Technicians in America, a national professional association (https://www.navta.net/).