Vet Tech School in Kentucky: Becoming a Vet Tech
Kentucky veterinary facilities employ animal lovers with varying credentials. Those who wear the title “Licensed Veterinary Technician” have had depth and breadth to their training. Kentucky licenses its veterinary technicians, and the standards for LVT are set high. The state does not have an alternative path to licensure. Prospective veterinary technicians must complete formal education programs approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Unlicensed individuals may work as assistants. Prior or concurrent experience as a veterinary assistant can prove very useful and may give students an advantage. But the individual will need education at at least the associate’s level.
Two-year vet tech programs are career focused, consisting primarily of animal- and vet-related coursework. Kentucky is unusual in that it offers as many bachelor’s options as associate ones. There’s no shortage of educational opportunity!
Vet Tech Schools in Kentucky
There are three accredited in-state programs. The American Veterinary Association also accredits distance programs. Students can complete most coursework online but must spend time in a veterinary facility. The Kentucky Veterinary Technician Association lists among its resource an online program in a neighboring state; they state that it can be an attractive option for individuals who are currently working as veterinary assistants.
Morehead State University gives students two options: an Associate of Applied Science or a Bachelor of Science. Morehead is fully accredited; it received its initial AVMA accreditation back in 1977, not so long after the organization began accrediting vet tech programs. Students can expect a selective admission process. They are required to have 120 hours of work experience before formal admission to the program.
Murray State University offers a four-year degree program, fully accredited by AVMA. The university offers a pre-veterinary track through the same school of agriculture. Both are housed in a farm complex equipped with laboratories, kennels, a pharmacy, and a surgical suite. Veterinary technology students and pre-vet students can participate together in the Veterinary Technology/ Pre-Vet Club as well as in classes.
Owensboro Community and Technical College received initial accreditation in 2015. The school offers a two-year associate’s program.
Becoming a Kentucky LVT
A prospective Kentucky LVT will begin the journey by meeting prerequisite and application requirements for his or her chosen AVMA-accredited school. Accredited schools are listed on the AVMA website (https://www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Education/Accreditation/Programs/Pages/vettech-programs-all-programs-list.aspx).
Licensure as an LVT also depends on achieving a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). This is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The prospective LVT will submit an application to the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners.
Kentucky LVTs renew annually. One purpose is to confirm that continuing education requirements have been met.
Vet Tech Employers in Kentucky
The majority of veterinary technicians nationwide work with small animals. However, vet tech programs prepare students for work with a variety of animal populations. One will find some large animals in parts of Kentucky, including some fine horses. Park Equine Hospital was among the vets advertising in 2019. They sought someone with a lot of experience handling horses, even if the experience was in something other than a veterinary technician role.
Not all vet techs work for traditional veterinary facilities. Morehead University reports that various work settings are possible, including humane societies/ organizations, governmental agencies, and organizations that carry out biomedical research or engage in wildlife management.
Employers are indeed diverse. One 2019 Frankfort job ad was placed by the US Department of Agriculture; they sought a veterinary technician to do export certification. A veterinary clinical diagnostic laboratory, meanwhile, sought a vet tech or other qualified professional to work as a laboratory technician or technologist.
Kentucky Veterinary Facilities
The following are among the many Kentucky veterinary facilities that utilize technicians:
• St. Matthew’s Animal Clinic in Louisville
• Springhurst Animal Hospital in Louisville
• Metropolitan Veterinary Specialists in Louisville
• Sheabel Veterinary Hospital in Lexington
• Gainesway Small Animal Clinic in Lexington
• Bellevue Animal Hospital
• Veterinary Medical Center of Independence/ Veterinary Medical Center of Fort Thomas
Quite a few major animal hospital networks and chains have entered the Kentucky market. One will find VCA, Banfield, BluePearl, PetIQ, and MedVet. MedVet and BluePearl are both known for specialty veterinary services.
Salary and Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the 2018 average Kentucky veterinary technician salary as $32,450; this is based on an hourly figure of $15.60. Those at the 10th percentile made just $18,490, but those at the 90th percentile made $48,690.
The job concentration is relatively high in the Lexington metropolitan area.
Kentucky’s veterinary technician occupation has been projected to see 20.5% growth between 2016 and 2026 – this is right around the national average for this in-demand profession.
Vet Tech Student and Professional Resources
The Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners is the state’s licensing authority (http://www.kybve.com/prerequisite-for-licensure.html). The Board can be reached at ‘Vet at ky.gov’ or 502-782-0273. Applications are available for download from the Board website.
The Kentucky Veterinary Technician Association, a professional organization, serves as an additional resource (https://kyvta.org). Membership is free to veterinary technology students.