Vet Tech School in Michigan: Becoming a Vet Tech
Michigan’s veterinary technicians are fundamental to veterinary care within the state. Vet techs can’t make diagnoses, write prescriptions, or perform surgery, and they perform veterinary medicine only under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Still, their two years of veterinary technology education prepares them to provide a lot of services — and veterinary practices have come to expect them to! Recent job ads have referenced dental cleanings, therapeutic laser, anesthesia monitoring, catheter placement, x-rays, ultrasound, EKG, ear and skin cytology, heartworm tests, and surgical assistance, among other tasks. Potentially, all part of a day on the job!
Becoming a Michigan LVT
Michigan vet techs are licensed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. They go by the title LVT; this stands for Licensed Veterinary Technician. Michigan LVTs have at least two years of accredited veterinary technology education. Some go higher and earn a bachelor’s. Qualifying programs are those that are approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Licensure depends on passing the Veterinary Technician National Examination. Prospective Michigan LVTs now apply directly to the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) for examination permission. The exam is given around the country three months out of the year. Currently examination windows open mid-March, mid-June, and mid-November. Candidates must follow submission deadlines set by the AASVB (https://www.aavsb.org/vtne-overview/).
Michigan vet techs must also clear a criminal background check. This step is carried out after license application.
Some experienced LVTs opt for additional voluntary credentials such as Veterinary Technician Specialist, or VTS. The VTS is available in a number of specialty areas. Information is available from the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.
Michigan Vet Tech Employers
Veterinary technicians typically find employment in animal hospitals or clinics, which serve varying populations, such as companion animal, emergency/ referral, or cats-only.
The following are among the Michigan practices that utilize veterinary technicians.
• Isabella Cat Clinic in Mt. Pleasant
• Brookside Veterinary Hospital in Kingsley
• South Arbor Animal Hospital in Pittsfield
• Companion Animal Hospital in Traverse City
• Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital in Waterford
• Dandy Acres Small Animal Hospital in South Lyon
• Bronson Veterinary Services in Coldwater
There are multiple major animal hospital systems with a presence in the state, among them, VCA Animal Hospitals, BluePearl Veterinary Partners, and Banfield.
Featured Michigan Veterinary Practices
Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills is a 24-hour emergency hospital and multi-specialty referral practice. It is certified by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS) at Level 1. The practice states that veterinary technicians have a role in case management. Professional development is encouraged; several veterinary technicians are pursuing their VTS certification.
Ottawa Animal Hospital in Holland is an AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital that has earned additional certifications for having implemented practices that reduce pet stress. It is a Fear Free Certified Practice: the first multi-location practice in the state to hold the certification. It is certified Cat Friendly by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and has won “Best of West Michigan” several times. Ottawa Animal Hospital has East and West locations. The practice cares for a wide range of companion animals including birds, reptiles, and small mammals.
Riverside Cat Hospital in Okemos is certified as a gold level Cat Friendly practice by the AAFP.
Salary and Career Outlook
Michigan veterinary technicians earn, on average, slightly more than their counterparts nationwide. The average was $37,420 in 2018. Michigan vet tech at the 10th percentile earned well above what their counterparts did nationwide: $27,470. The median Michigan salary was $36,250, the 90th percentile salary, 48,940.
The Lansing-East Lansing metropolitan area ranked as eighth highest paying market in the nation. Job concentration in the Lansing area was above that of the state as a whole and approached the national average. Detroit had a lower concentration but much higher numbers.
Michigan occupational projections have predicted 22.5% vet tech occupational growth between 2016 and 2026.
Top Vet Tech Schools in Michigan
Michigan State University in East Lansing boasts a 99% first time VTNE pass rate. The school offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science in veterinary technology. Michigan State University also offers an accredited five semester program that results in a certificate of completion. This option may appeal to those who already hold degrees in other fields; it is also available to those who don’t feel the need to earn an academic degree. The Michigan State program has science prerequisites. Students must have at least 80 hours of prior veterinary experience. The admission process is competitive and includes an essay and recommendations.
Macomb Community College in Clinton Township is also fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association and is affiliated with an AAHA-accredited teaching hospital. Students earn an Associate of Applied Science. The program boasts a VTNE first attempt pass rate above 93%. Participation in the Macomb Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America is optional.
Baker College offers an AAS in veterinary technology at its Muskegon, Jackson, and Cadillac locations. Programs are accredited separately. VTNE performance is strong. Each of these campuses boasts a 2016-2019 rate above 94%.
Student and Professional Resources
Licensing information and application access is available from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_72600_72603_27529_27555—,00.html). Applicants can call 517-241-0199 for assistance.
The Michigan Association of Veterinary Technicians is the state professional association and a continuing education provider (http://mavt.us/). Students are eligible for associate membership. MAVT hosts a mock VTNE exam and study session for grads; lunch is included.