How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Pennsylvania

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In Pennsylvania, the demand for veterinary technicians is slowly on the rise.

This means that now is a good time to consider becoming a veterinary technician in this state!

Don’t worry as we prepared this guide to show you the steps you must take!

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Veterinary Technician Job Description and Duties in Pennsylvania

You should first learn what this job is all about.

You’ll have a series of tasks to accomplish daily, such as:

  • 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

The actual surgery is performed by a licensed veterinarian who supervises your work.

Education and Training Required for Veterinary Technicians in Pennsylvania

There are many states that mandate veterinary techs to hold a license before they’re allowed to work.

Pennsylvania is one of these states, and the license is obtained from the state’s Board of Veterinary Medicine.

The license can only be obtained by well-trained individuals, who obtained a degree in Applied Science, specializing in Veterinary Medicine.

A training program with a duration of at least 2 years.

This program also needs accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities.

You can choose either the popular Associate’s degree or the Bachelor’s degree for the many career options it offers.

In Pennsylvania, there are several institutions offering these types of programs and degrees.

Top 12 Schools in Pennsylvania

School NameAddress
Harcum College750 Montgomery Ave. Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-3476
Great Lakes Institute of Technology5100 Peach Street, Erie, Pennsylvania 16509-2482
Institute of Medical and Business Careers5739 W. 26th Street Erie, PA 16506
Johnson College3427 N. Main Ave. Scranton, PA 18508
Lancaster County Career & Technology Center1730 Hans Herr Drive, PO Box 527 Willow Street, PA 17584-0527
Lehigh Carbon & Northampton Community Colleges3835 Green Pond Rd. Bethlehem, PA 18020
Manor College700 Fox Chase Road Jenkintown, PA 19046
Northampton County Area Community College3835 Green Pond Rd, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18020-7599
Pittsburgh Career Institute421 Seventh Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Vet Tech Institute125 Seventh Street Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Wilson College1015 Philadelphia Ave. Chambersburg, PA 17201
YTI Career Institute1405 Williams Road York, PA 17402

Having to meet some requirements before enrolling, is natural.

Here are the most common of them:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Submit an essay
  • Pass an interview
  • Completing some classes before starting the training period
  • 2 letters of recommendation
    • One of them must come from a veterinarian
  • Health insurance
  • Get the anti-rabies vaccine
  • Pass a drug test
  • Buying a medical malpractice policy

Your theory classes will cover topics like:

  • Introduction to veterinary technology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Emergency care and first aid
  • Pathology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Radiology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Parasitology
  • Toxicology
  • Nutrition

It is common for the last semester to be a preceptorship.

You are allowed to enroll in a distance learning program as well, as long as you can arrange for the practice hour and exams to take place as mandated by the program.

Becoming a Licensed Veterinary Technician in Pennsylvania

As mentioned, you’ll need to obtain your credentials from the Pennsylvania Board of Veterinary Medicine.

To obtain the license, you need:

  • An application form
  • Official school transcripts
  • Have a clear criminal record
  • To pay a fee
    • $130 for the exam
    • $100 for the license
  • Score at least 70% on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)

The VTNE is a test that has a duration of 3 hours and 150 questions to answer.

Every 2 years you need to renew your license.

The Board asks candidates to complete 16 hours of continuing education for this.

Employment and Salaries for Veterinary Technicians in Pennsylvania

Licensed vet techs can work in:

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

The largest employers in Oregon are:

  • Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter (Hillsboro)
  • Dog Services (Clackamas County)
  • Oregon Humane Society (Portland)
  • Jackson County Animal Services (Jackson County)
  • MultCoPets (Multnomah County)
  • Oregon Tiger Sanctuary (Eagle Point)
  • Bend Veterinary Clinic – Exotics (Bend)
  • In Defense of Animals (Portland)
  • Wildlife Safari (Winston)
  • VIP Pet Transport (Portland)

Generally, the more experience you have, the easier you can earn a higher salary.

This is also the case if you live nearby a big city like Portland or Winston.

Annual Salary Range:
$31K
$36K
$43K

Average Salary of Veterinary Technicians in Pennsylvania

City NameSalary
Philadelphia$39,701
Pittsburgh$36,506
Allentown$37,351
Erie$34,234
Upper Darby$39,701
Reading$36,868
Scranton$34,208
Bethlehem$37,351
Lower Merion$39,701
Bensalem$40,029
* Salary information last updated 2022

Additional Information for Veterinary Technicians in Pennsylvania

These are the best resources to use when you need a job or find continuing education classes:

  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association
  • National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
  • Veterinary Career Network
  • Vet Tech Life
  • Where Techs Connect
  • Vetcetera
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