Vet Tech Programs in Maine: Become a Vet Tech in ME
Maine licenses veterinary technicians. The official title for a vet tech who has completed the licensing process is Licensed Veterinary Technician, or LVT.
As to what they do on the job – it’s a lot! The University of Maine notes they play a role in everything from surgery and life support to nutrition and physical therapy. Maine Veterinary Medical Center has used an article on PetMD to answer the question of what veterinary technicians do. The veterinary technician is described as taking on many roles: taking down client information, measuring weight and vitals, running lab tests, monitoring anesthesia response, and even passing instruments during surgery. The roles of a veterinary technician and veterinary assistant overlap. Veterinary technicians, though, have two years of formal preparation; this results in greater depth and breadth of skill. When figured as a portion of total jobs, Maine has the 5th highest rate of vet techs in the nation – and the highest rate of veterinary assistants.
The University of Maine has provided a description of potential career options for veterinary technicians, including both common and uncommon paths. Clinics that serve small animals are, the school notes, “always” looking for qualified individuals, as are some biotech employers (the latter being a much less common career path nationwide). Other paths include specialty practices, equine medicine, food animal medicine, zoo and wildlife medicine, shelter/ humane work, regulatory agencies, animal nutrition, and sales of veterinary products.
Becoming a Maine LVT
Maine LVTs qualify by meeting education and examination requirements and by demonstrating an acceptable background.
It will be necessary to earn at least a two-year degree. Veterinary technician programs must be accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (part of the American Veterinary Medical Association) or determined to be equivalent. The AVMA-CVTEA accredits both distance and traditional programs. There is a required clinical component.
The majority of programs nationwide award associate’s degrees, often with credit hour requirements between 70 and 75 hours. Maine boasts both associate’s and bachelor’s options. There is no difference in licensure, though there are some career paths where higher education may be an advantage.
The required licensing exam is the National Veterinary Technician Examination, administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. Information is available from the AAVSB.
Maine requires a criminal background check. Details are provided in application materials (https://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/veterinarians/license_types.html).
Maine applicants file their applications after they have passed the VTNE. Applications are submitted to the State Department of Professional Regulation.
Top Maine Employers
The following are among the practices that employ veterinary technicians:
• Maine Veterinary Medical Center in Scarborough
• Eastern Maine Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Brewer
• Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital in Scarborough
• Brackett Street Veterinary Clinic in Portland
• Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic in Monmouth
• Cape Veterinary Clinic in South Portland
Opportunities for Specialization and Advancement
The Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic, a large and small veterinary clinic, has separate staff for large and small animal. Seven veterinary technicians serve small animals. The practice has a smaller clinical support staff for large animals. They are listed as being part of the equine team; one is noted as being about to finish her veterinary technician preparation.
Veterinary technicians who work for large veterinary practices may have specialized roles. Maine Veterinary Medical Center has, arguably, a very large team of veterinary technicians. They are denoted by area of practice, which could be neurology, ophthalmology, emergency and critical care, surgery, or even sports medicine and rehabilitation. The medical center does note that many are cross-trained; the practice area listed under their name isn’t the only one where they have received setting-specific training.
Brunswick Veterinary Clinic has a smaller team of eight techs; one is noted as canine rehab and physical therapy. Down Maine Veterinary Clinic has a smaller support team but still notes a technician and a surgery technician.
There are opportunities to advance. Brackett Street Veterinary Clinic , for example, has a fairly large team of technicians, one of whom is noted as “lead”. There is also a designated lead at Falmouth Veterinary Hospital, which serves dogs, cats, ferrets, and other pets in the greater Portland area. At Lewiston Veterinary Hospital, one technician is also noted as practice manager; this particular LVT has a degree at the bachelor’s level.
Maine Vet Tech Salary and Career Outlook
Maine veterinary technicians and technologists make, on average, slightly more than their counterparts nationwide. The median salary in 2018 was $17.50 or $36,390 for a full-time year. The 10th percentile wage (sometimes thought of as entry level) was $13.09 or $27,220; the 90th percentile was $23.10 or $48,040. The 10th percentile wage, unlike the 90th, was notably above the national.
Maine has a veterinary technician/ technologist location quotient far above the national average; this is based on how many vet tech jobs there are per thousand total jobs. Occupational growth projections for the 2016 to 2026 decade, by contrast, are lower than most of the nation; 5% growth has been projected statewide.
Top Vet Tech Schools in Maine
The University of Maine at Augusta holds full accreditation through the American Veterinary Medical Association. The school awards a Bachelor of Science. The school touts its impressive facilities, including labs and surgical and radiologic suites. Academic indicators are given the most consideration in the student selection process; strong science and math grades are among the things that can help.
York County Community College is an associate’s degree option. The college received its initial AVMA accreditation in 2016. VTNE pass rate for the first years of the program are slightly above the national average for all accredited programs; the school notes that this type of data fluctuates
Student and Professional Resources
Information about LVT licensure is available from the Maine Veterinary Medical Board. Licensing contacts can be reached at (207) 624-8620 or ‘vetmed.lic at maine.gov’.