How to Become a Veterinary Technician in California

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Are you interested in an animal-related job in California?

Then, read on for tips and info about how to become a vet tech.

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Veterinary Technician Job Description and Duties in California

A veterinary technician is highly involved in the healthcare of an animal and works under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The most common daily duties you will have include:

  • Administering medications
  • Taking x-rays,
  • Processing tissue samples,
  • Assisting in surgery and emergency care
  • Performing lab tests
  • Teeth cleaning,
  • Electrocardiography,
  • Bandaging,
  • Wound cleaning,
  • Maintaining detailed and accurate records of meds, supplies, patients

In California, you will not be able to perform surgeries nor to provide medication.

Education and Training Required for Veterinary Technicians in California

If you worked as a vet assistant, in the past, you can become a vet tech without further training.

if you are new to the field, you will need to get a license first.

Before you can get a license, you have to get a Veterinary Technology Associate’s Degree of Applied Science.

This degree is offered through several accredited training programs and lasts for about 2 to 3 years.

The accreditation should come from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

As an alternative, you can also get a degree in Animal Science with a specialization in veterinary tech.

Clinical practice is a must for future vet techs, and you can do this once you join an internship or an externship.

Check out the following schools below for more info.

Top 16 Schools in California

School NameAddress
Allan Hancock College800 South College Drive, Santa Maria, California 93454-6399
California Healing Arts College500 East Carson Plaza Drive, Suite 103, Carson, California 90746-7323
Carrington College901 Corporate Center Drive, Ste. 300, Pomona, California 91768-2642
Carrington College1313 W. Robinhood Drive, Suite B, Stockton, California 95207
Carrington College380 Civic Dr., Ste. 300, Pleasant Hill, California 94523
Carrington College15555 E. 14th Street, Suite 500, San Leandro, California 94578-1977
Carrington College7301 Greenback Lane, Ste A, Citrus Heights, California 95621
Carrington College8909 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, California 95826
Carrington College5883 Rue Ferrari, San Jose, California 95138
Central Coast College480 S Main Street, Salinas, California 93901-3301
College of the Sequoias915 S. Mooney Blvd, Visalia, California 93277-2214
Cosumnes River College8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento, California 95823-5799
Foothill College12345 El Monte Rd, Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Los Angeles Pierce College6201 Winnetka Ave, Woodland Hills, California 91371-0002
Mt San Antonio College1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, California 91789-1399
Modesto Junior College435 College Ave, Modesto, California 95350-5800

Joining one of these schools generally requires:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Having a high school diploma or GED
  • A written essay
  • Taking the Wonderlic test
  • Future students must complete these classes right before enrolling in the degree program
  • 2 letters of recommendation with one of them from a veterinarian
  • Health insurance
  • Buying a medical malpractice policy

If tuition seems too expensive, you might be able to qualify for a scholarship or work-study.

In school, you will study the following topics, or similar:

  • Veterinary math
  • Chemistry
  • Terminology
  • Surgical nursing
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Restraint
  • Animal behavior
  • Nutrition
  • Nursing
  • Veterinary economics
  • Anesthesia
  • Parasitology
  • Animal psychology
  • Radiology
  • Office practice
  • Animal management

Most classes ask for 200 to 400 hours of lab in an accredited clinical site.

Becoming a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California

Veterinary technicians in California are licensed by the California State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

To get this certification, you will need:

  • An application form
  • Proof you graduated from the training program described earlier
  • To pay a fee
    • $300 for the exam
    • $100 for the license
  • Score at least 70% on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)

For the VTNE, you get 3 hours to answer 150 questions.

Your vet tech license needs to be renewed annually in California.

For this, you have to take 8 extra hours of education in an approved facility.

The California Veterinary Technician Association (AVTA) is the most important resource for vet techs in California.

Like this, you will be able to find a job and continue your education.

In this state, you can alternatively accumulate 4,416 hours of practical experience in a maximum of 2 years before taking the exam.

Employment and Salaries for Veterinary Technicians in California

Before you can decide if t want to work in this industry, you need some extra info and details about employment.

This includes knowing who the employers are and how much you will earn as a vet assistant.

Vet techs can work for:

  • Private clinical practices
  • Zoos
  • Veterinary teaching hospitals
  • Rescue centers
  • Wildlife or exotic animal rehabilitation centers
  • Humane societies,
  • Research facilities,
  • Feedlots,
  • Pharmaceutical companies

Below are some of the most important companies to work for as a vet tech in California:

  • Pacific Animal Hospital, Oceanside
  • Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital, Irvine
  • California Veterinary Specialists, Carlsbad, Murrieta, Ontario
  • United Veterinary Specialty and Emergency, San Jose
  • University of California Davis Large Animal Clinic, Davis
  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles

Your salary will be based on several factors.

These include whether you live in a small or big city, your credentials, and how much experience you have in the field.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Veterinary Technicians in California

City NameSalary
Los Angeles$41,916
San Diego$39,996
San Jose$46,513
San Francisco$46,327
Long Beach$41,324
Santa Ana$41,361
* Salary information last updated 2024

Additional Information for Veterinary Technicians in California

As a vet tech in California, you can check out the resources below to get some career assistance:

  • California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association
  • Central Coast Registered Veterinary Technicians Association
  • Silicon Valley Registered Veterinary Technicians Association
  • California Veterinary Medical Association
  • National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
  • Vet Tech Life,
  • Veterinary Career Network
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