To become a veterinary technician in Washington is a huge responsibility. As such, aspiring vet technicians in the state must meet specific educational and licensure requirements.
Along with a few steps common to veterinary technicians all over the country, the state of Washington also has a few unique steps that may go a long way in helping interested individuals start their journey on the right path.
We discuss all of this below, along with other vital information, such as the top veterinary technician programs in the state, the potential salary, and the career outlook.
Steps to Become a Veterinary Technician in Washington
The following are the steps involved in becoming a veterinary technician in Washington.
Step 1: Graduate from High School
Along with having a passion for animals and a desire to care for them, an aspiring veterinary technician in Washington must also have a strong background in high school. It is advisable to focus on biology, chemistry, and physiology subjects. Those who don’t have a high school diploma may produce a GED equivalent.
Step 2: Enroll in an accredited program
In Washington, it is usually advisable to go for a training program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Thankfully, multiple schools in the state fulfill this requirement and offer high-quality training. We will be taking a look at some of them below.
Step 3: Pass the veterinary technician national exam
Passing the veterinary technician national exam is a prerequisite to becoming a professional veterinary technician in most states, including Washington.
State Licensure and Certification Requirements
The next step after the above is to ensure you fulfill your state licensure requirements as a veterinary technician in Washington. Currently, the department in charge of licensing veterinary technicians is the Washington State Department of Health. Now, the department asks that candidates complete the steps above and provide transcripts of their time in an accredited program and their VTNE scores before they can be licensed. Candidates must also pass a state examination with a score of at least 90%.
A Washington State veterinary technician license is valid for one year, after which it must be renewed through 30 hours of continuing education.
Top Veterinary Technician Schools in Washington
Aspiring veterinary technicians in Washington State will be glad that the American Veterinary Medical Association accredits five high-quality training programs in the area.
We take a look at these below.
Bellingham Technical College
Situated in the beautiful northwest part of the state, Bellingham Technical College offers an associate of applied science in veterinary technology degree program for interested individuals in the area.
The program focuses heavily on hands-on training courses such as medical dosage, veterinary nutrition, veterinary nursing, anatomy and physiology, and laboratory procedures.
Bellingham Technical College has had a first-time pass rate of 79% in the veterinary technician national examination.
Pima Medical Institute
Seattle, Washington, residents can study to become veterinary technicians through Pima Medical Institute in Seattle. Residents of Renton may also obtain their training in the institution via the Renton campus.
The AVMA accredits both programs and can be completed in 18 months.
The program combines classroom instructions with online sessions, dealing with small animal nursing, veterinary terminologies, exotic animal medicine, emergency procedures, and veterinary nutrition.
Consisting of 77.5 total credits, candidates of the Seattle program have historically had a 78.88% first-time pass rate in the VTNE, while candidates of the Renton program have had a 91% first-time pass rate.
Pierce College in Lakewood has had an astounding 93% first-time pass rate in the veterinary technician national examination. The school offers a 21-month associate degree in veterinary technology program, teaching topics like clinical microbiology, animal nursing, and veterinary office procedures.
Yakima Valley College
The final CVTEA-accredited training program for aspiring veterinary technicians in Washington can be found at Yakima Valley College in Yakima. The program can be completed in two years, after which graduates get to leave with an associate’s degree in applied science.
The focus topics include medical record-keeping, surgical assisting inventory control, veterinary ethics, and animal dentistry.
Consider exploring veterinary technician schools in neighboring states:
Salary and Career Outlook
Veterinary technicians in Washington State earn an annual average salary of $46,932. This figure is impressive as it is 28% above the national average.
Some veterinary technicians in the state earn even more than this if they fall into the top 10% of earners. Those who fall into this bracket earn an annual salary of $62,237. The average yearly wage is usually closer to $35,390 for those just starting.
Lynnwood, Tacoma, and Bellevue are the highest paying cities to be a veterinary technician in Washington state, with annual average salaries of $52,100, $51,191, and $50,789, respectively.
Vet techs in Renton and Kirkland are the top five, with average salaries of $50,592 and $50,318, respectively.
Consider exploring nearby states with comparable salaries: