How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Colorado

If you’re dreaming of pursuing the career of a vet technician, you should ask around (and of course, surf around the internet) and find out if this is really the career for you with all its highs and lows, as it can be challenging at times and require a lot of physical as well as mental abilities and patience.

Your education will undoubtedly prepare you for all the situations where your knowledge is needed, but you should know that the job of a vet technician will require a lot of physical as well as mental and emotional preparedness.

So let’s see all the steps you’ll need to take to become one.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Colorado

The job of a veterinary technician is akin to that of a nurse in a human hospital, and when you graduate, take all the tests you need and become a licensed vet technician, you’ll be prepared to assist the veterinarian with whatever he/she needs.

There is also a number of duties that will be expected of you without the supervision of a professional veterinarian.

You’ll know how to apply anethesia, keep records of patients, work in a lab, take x-rays, restrain and help with animals and assist during surgeries.

There’s a bunch of possibilites for you as vet technicians are wanted in many other branches and areas, though private practice is where the highest demand for vet technicians is.

However, you can find employent in the following branches in Colorado:

  • humanitarian organizations
  • military service
  • government
  • research
  • zoo facilities

…and specialize in various disciplines, such as:

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

Severn programs in Colorado enable you to be exposed to the following groups of animals (but don’t expect all of these in every program):

  • zoo animals (various types of animals fall into this group)
  • farm animals (cattle, horses, sheep, pigs)
  • exotic animals (snakes, lizards, turtles, terapins, owls, eagles)
  • lab animals (rodents, rats, mice)
  • pets (cats and dogs, ferrets, hamsters, birds)

How to Become One?

In order to become a vet technician, the first and most essential thing you’ll need is  an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.

After that, like in most countries, you’ll need to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) , which is an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

Only if you pass the test can you work as a registered vet technician in Colorado. Bear in mind you can take the exam only if you’ve graduated from an accredited program.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Colorado

So the first thing you need to know about accredited vet technician programs in Colorado is that there are seven of them in this state, grouped into three classifications: full, initial and probationary.

Full accreditation means just that – the program is fully accredited because it has met all the criteria of the CVTEA.

Initial accreditation means that a program is younger than five years, therefore new and is currently undergoing the process of becoming accredited.

Probationary accreditation means that a program has its flaws, but those are correctable within two years.

All three classes of programs are officially accredited and you can graduate from any of them and still be eligible to take the VTNE.

Here are the locations and the classification of all seven accredited Colorado programs:

  • Denver (2 with full accreditation)
  • Colorado Springs (1 with initial accreditation, 1 with full accreditation)
  • Glenwood Springs (full accreditation)
  • Fort Collins (probationary accreditation)
  • Aurora (initial accreditation)

Some programs will require prerequisites like a GED or taking an entrance exam.

This is linked heavily to your high school education and the subjects you took, and depending on this, you may even be ready to start your vet technician education right away.

As for the subjects during the vet tech program, expect the subjects to be thoroughly focused on science.

The basic studies, most of them based on science, will include English, biology, math, medical terminology, vet terminology, etc. and then advance into more veterinary-centered subjects like the following:

  • Parasitology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Nursing
  • Veterinary math
  • Microbiology
  • Veterinary math
  • Hematology
  • Terminology
  • Radiology
  • Dentistry
  • Courses related to individual animals

Some courses require a more comprehensive approach with additional courses in human relations, such as psychology, public speaking and technical writing.

After completing the accredited vet tech program of your choosing in Colorado, during your final two weeks, you’ll be required to take an internship.

The internship means you’ll be working at a real clinic, with real animals and people and putting in practice what you’ve learned in theory.

Here are the types of Colorado internships, so you know loosely what to expect during these couple of weeks:

  • Small animal hospitals
  • Large animal hospitals
  • Zoos
  • Laboratory animal/research facilities
  • Veterinary teaching hospital
  • Rescue facilities
  • Emergency clinics

Tuition and Financial Aid

For the entire program, that can last anywhere from 18 months to two years, sometimes even three, you’ll have to cash out somewhere between $6,000 and $30,000 for tuition fees.

Add to that about $2,000 to $3,000 for books and lab supplies. Living and transportation expenses are not included in this estimate.

As for financial aid, visit the websites of each of the schools: most of the traditional college financial aids are available to students attending the vet tech programs.

Local philanthropic organizations and private foundations, like the American Kennel Club and the Hartz Mountain Corporation, provide annual scholarships for veterinary technician students specifically.

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Licensing and Certification

Once you earn your degree, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) as this is the case in most states in America.

This is an exam regulated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. And it’s no picnic, either: it lasts three hours, has 150 questions and costs $300.

Only those who graduated from an accredited program can take this test. After this, you’ll be eligible to take the National Veterinary Technician Exam

Since the governing body for licensed vet technicians in Colorado is the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians (an organization that handles licensure and certification) if you take the exam in Colorado, your results will be immediately forwarded to them.

Getting a Job in Colorado

Now when you’ve done all you can to educate yourself and get the much needed experience to become a vet technician, you can start looking for a job!

Colorado has an increasing number of facilities, hospitals and clinics that will likely offer you a job.

Here are the known ones:

  • VCA (Veterinary Centers of America) with a few locations throughout Colorado.
  • Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics inside PETCO
    • Located in Denver Petco
    • Located in Lakewood Petco
    • Located in Colorado Springs Petco
    • Located in Boulder Petco
  • Banfield Pet Hospital located in the state of Colorado
    • Banfield Headquarters Arvada
    • Banfield Headquarters Superior
    • Banfield Headquarters Westminster

Some of these clinics have been awarded for great care of all kinds of animals since they offer services like microchipping, parasite prevention, dermatology and much more.

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Colorado

Have no fear: if you live in America and want to become a vet technician – there will be plenty of job opportunities for you!

With more and more pet owners every year, being a vet technician is a job with a good perspective as they’re becoming increasingly wanted.

That’s not all: they’ll be even more wanted in the future: namely,  the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show their employments is expected to grow by a whopping 30% per year through 2022.

Here are the average salaries for a vet technician in Colorado.

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Castle Rock,CO$36,266
Colorado Springs,CO$36,321
Fort Collins,CO$35,296
Grand Junction,CO$35,486

Final Words

One last thing to remember if you’re a vet technician hopeful, is that the love animals, however noble and beautiful, is not enough for you to perform the job of a vet technician and love it while doing it.

You’ll need certain physical abilities like being on your feet for a large portion of the day as well as a natural emotional connection with people – yes, that’s right, not just animals – people.

Who do you think is the person responsible for offering hope, a helping hand, solace and happy news to the pet owners while their pet is being treated? Why, you, the vet technician, of course.

If you think you do have it in you to handle all this aspects while enjoying this profession immensely – this is definitely your life calling, and you should do it with joy: afterall, you’re the one taking care of the helpless.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State