How To Become a Veterinary Technician in California

Veterinary technicians play huge roles in any institution dedicated to animal care. They are called upon to carry out x-rays, diagnostics, and sometimes emergency services.

They can also administer treatment, draw blood, and administer vaccines and anesthesia when needed. To become a veterinary technician in California, you must follow a handful of steps that apply to vet techs nationwide, along with some state-specific ones.

We take an in-depth look at all of these below.

Steps To Becoming a Veterinary Technician in California

The general steps expected of anyone looking to become a veterinary technician in California, and indeed all around the country, are as follows:

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma or GED

High School diplomas and GED are essential for most aspiring veterinary technicians because accredited programs and state licensing bodies often require them. Additionally, biology, chemistry, and physiology courses help prepare students for the laboratory work, testing, and analysis virtually inevitable for a vet tech.

Step 2: Enroll in a Training Program

California requires its veterinary technicians to have graduated from an accredited training program before being licensed to practice. The body responsible for the accreditation of veterinary technician programs is the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), a branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Step 3: Training & Experience

It is usually advisable for veterinary technology students to acquire real-world experience before they start practicing. It is possible to do this while in school or just after graduation.

Most programs arrange for students to acquire this hands-on experience by working in a clinic or animal hospital for a brief period. This also provides an opportunity to become familiar with the job’s demands.

Step 4: Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination

The VTNE is a nationwide examination that tests candidates’ knowledge of crucial topics. Most accredited programs already have structured coursework to prepare students for this examination.

In a computer-based exam with around 170 multiple-choice questions, results are usually available shortly after all answers have been submitted. Popular topics include pharmacology, dentistry, anesthesia, diagnostic testing, and laboratory.

Related: If you aspire to become a Veterinary Technician in California but want to know about the financial aspect of pursuing your education, check out the veterinary technician scholarships to discover various scholarship opportunities to help you achieve your goals.

Veterinary Technician State Requirements & Certifications

Once a candidate graduates from a training program and acquires enough hands-on experience, the following are the state-specific requirements that must be fulfilled before securing employment.

Step 5: Pass the California Veterinary Technician Exam

The California Veterinary Medical Board certifies and licenses veterinary technicians in California. Once students pass the VTNE exam, the next step is to pass the CaRVT (California Registered Veterinary Technician) exam administered by the board.

Candidates must sit for and pass the CaRVT exam within 60 months of passing the VTNE exam. The CaRVT exam takes place three times a year.

Step 6: Apply for Licensure and Continuing Education

Once candidates successfully pass all the steps above, they are finally cleared to apply for licensure. It is also worth mentioning that this is more than just a one-and-done process.

To continue practicing, all veterinary technicians in California must renew their licenses every two years through 20 hours of continuing education credits.

Vet Tech Schools & Programs in California

There is plenty of CVTEA-accredited programs in California. Below are some of the most notable:

California State Polytechnic University

In Pomona, California, State Polytechnic University offers an impressive 4-year veterinary technology program emphasizing real-world empirical experience. The program consists of 120 credits with an average completion time of 48 months.

Central Coast College

College students on the Central Coast can enroll in a program to become veterinary technicians and earn an associate of applied sciences degree. The program comprises 96.8 credits and can be completed within two years.

Cosumnes River College

Veterinary technology students at Cosumnes River College graduate with a certificate of achievement, provided they already have three years of experience working as unregistered vet assistants. The program can be completed in a year.

Foothill College

Foothill College’s program for aspiring veterinary technicians lasts two years and contains 90 units. Students learn about veterinary medical terminologies, comparative anatomy, physiology, and small animal nursing.

Notable Mentions

Other notable programs for aspiring veterinary technicians in California include Los Angeles Pierce College, Mt. San Antonio College, Santa Rosa Junior College, San Diego Mesa College, Modesto Junior College, San Joaquin Valley College, Yuba College, and Pima Medical Institute.

Related: If you’re exploring opportunities in the veterinary field in California, you can discover the path to becoming a veterinary assistant in California. Learn about the essential skills and training required to excel in this rewarding role and take the first step toward a fulfilling career in animal care.

Veterinary Technician Salary in California

Veterinary Technicians in California earn an average annual salary of around $45,410, about $7,000 higher than the national average. Those who fall into the bottom ten percent of earners still take home around $31,220, while those who find themselves in the top ten percent can take home as high as $59,360 annually.