How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Colorado

animal care in colorado

If you’re dreaming of becoming a vet technician, you should gather information to see if this is the career for you.

That’s because this profession is quite challenging, testing your patience and capabilities.

Of course, your education will prepare you for all kinds of situations.

But you should still make preparations mentally, physically, and emotionally.

So, let’s see all the steps you’ll need to take to become a vet technician in Colorado.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Colorado

The job of a vet technician is akin to that of a nurse in a human hospital.

Like the nurse, your primary responsibility is to assist the vet and help them with everything they need.

In most cases, you won’t need the vet’s supervision to complete the tasks entrusted to you.

You can do the following tasks independently:

  • Apply anesthesia
  • Keep and update patient records
  • Conduct lab work and diagnostic tests
  • Restrain and manage animals

These are only some of the tasks you will do at the vet facility, usually if you work in private practice.

If private practice isn’t your cup of tea, then you can find employment in other vet areas.

Here are some of them:

  • Humanitarian organizations
  • Military services
  • Government
  • Research
  • Zoo facilities

On another note, you can also have an area of specialization, which requires further studies on your part.

You may become a specialist in any of the following:

  • Nutrition
  • Anesthesiology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Zoological Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Pathology

How to Become One

how to be a vet technician in colorado

To become a vet technician, you need an associate’s degree in vet technology.

We recommend that you enroll in an accredited program due to the comprehensive curriculum and extensive training.

Here’s a list of vet colleges in Colorado accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association:

  • Apex College of Veterinary Technology
  • Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology
  • Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology
  • Colorado Mountain College
  • Community College of Denver
  • Front Range Community College
  • Pima Medical Institute-Colorado Springs
  • Pima Medical Institute-Aurora
  • Western Colorado Community College

After graduating, you’ll take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) to obtain your license.

Only if you pass the test can you work as a registered vet technician in Colorado.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Colorado

Admission requirements and prerequisites vary between schools.

But the common requirements they require are as follows:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Passing score in the entrance exam

You might have to inquire with the school about the specific requirements.

Once you’re admitted to the program, you will learn vet-centered courses, including:

  • Parasitology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Nursing
  • Veterinary math
  • Microbiology
  • Veterinary math
  • Hematology
  • Terminology
  • Radiology
  • Dentistry

Some courses require a more comprehensive approach with additional lessons in human relations, such as:

  • Psychology
  • Public speaking
  • Technical writing

During your lessons, you will be exposed to different groups of animals to gain live training and practice.

  • Zoo animals (various types of animals fall into this group)
  • Farm animals (cattle, horses, sheep, pigs)
  • Exotic animals (snakes, lizards, turtles, terrapins, owls, eagles)
  • Lab animals (rodents, rats, mice)
  • Pets (cats and dogs, ferrets, hamsters, birds)

Then, in the last two weeks of the program, you’ll be required to take an internship.

Here, you’ll be working at a local vet facility, interacting with animal patients and pet owners.

The goal is to let you experience first-hand what it’s like to work as a professional vet technician.

You can apply for internships at the following establishments:

  • Animal hospitals
  • Animal laboratories and research facilities
  • Zoos
  • Academic institutions
  • Rescue facilities
  • Emergency clinics

Tuition and Financial Aid

For a two-year vet technology program, you may have to cash out around $6,000 to $30,000 for tuition fees.

Add to that about $2,000 to $3,000 for books and lab supplies, and other general student fees.

This estimate doesn’t include living and transportation expenses.

If you can’t afford this, don’t worry.

There are financial aid programs available that you can apply to if you’re eligible.

Most programs will consider you when you apply through the Free Application to Federal Student Aid.

Some philanthropic organizations and private foundations provide scholarships, especially for vet technicians.

Namely, the American Kennel Club and the Hartz Mountain Corporation.

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Licensing and Certification

getting a license as a vet technician

To be a Certified Vet Technician, you will have to take and pass the VTNE.

It’s a $300-exam regulated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

On the day of the exam, you have three hours to finish 150 questions.

Do note that only graduates of accredited programs can take this test.

If you pass, the results will be forwarded to the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians.

Once received, they will issue your license.

Getting a Job in Colorado

With the education and training complete, you’re now eager to start working.

Fortunately for you, Colorado has experienced an increase in vet facilities that are looking forward to new hires.

Here are the known ones:

  • Veterinary Centers of America – Colorado Branches
    • Douglas County Animal Hospital
    • Aspenwood Animal Hospital
    • Mountainview Animal Hospital
  • Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics located in:
    • Denver Petco
    • Lakewood Petco
    • Colorado Springs Petco
    • Boulder Petco
  • Banfield Pet Hospitals located in:
    • Arvada
    • Superior
    • Westminster

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Colorado

With more and more pet owners every year, vet technicians will have good prospects.

Attached to this is a competitive salary that you will love.

Here are the average annual salaries in Colorado.

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Arvada,CO $36,805
Aurora,CO $36,781
Boulder,CO $37,340
Broomfield,CO $36,963
Castle Rock,CO $36,266
Colorado Springs,CO $36,321
Denver,CO $36,805
Fort Collins,CO $35,296
Grand Junction,CO $35,486
Greeley,CO $35,490
Jefferson,CO $36,709
Loveland,CO $35,247
Pueblo,CO $33,736
Westminster,CO $36,805

Regional Salary in Colorado

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Boulder, CO350$43,470$20.9$54,390$35,970
Colorado Springs, CO530$41,810$20.1$48,040$31,500
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO1,940$43,490$20.91$50,010$36,020
Fort Collins, CO430$42,740$20.55$50,970$31,980
Grand Junction, CO110$37,130$17.85$47,530$30,100
Greeley, CO180$40,410$19.43$48,140$31,480
Pueblo, CO50$37,610$18.08$45,280$30,110
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, OCC Code 29-2056, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Final Words

Loving and caring for animals are important qualities.

However, these aren’t enough to make you a good and qualified vet technician.

You need certain physical abilities to be able to stay on your feet for a large portion of the day.

Also, you must be able to connect emotionally with people, especially pet owners, to facilitate communication.

After all, it’s you who offers hope, solace, and a helping hand to pet owners while their pets are being treated.

We believe that helping animals in need is your life’s calling.

So do it with joy and attentiveness to take care of the patients you’re treating.

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