How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Iowa

vet care in iowa

Did you know vet professionals have a bright future in today’s industry?

According to statistics, they will become coveted over the next few years as the number of pet owners in the U.S. rises.

This alone should be enough to make you take the first step toward a vet technician career.

Like every job, it has its upsides and downsides.

But if you take a firm grip on it and power through the inconveniences, you’ll enjoy it immensely.

So let’s take a look at what a vet technician does and how you can work as one in Iowa.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Iowa

Your role as a vet technician can best be described as the vet’s right-hand man.

You’ll be in charge of:

  • Keeping records of patients
  • Taking blood pressure and body temperature
  • Cleaning up the workspace
  • Assisting the vet in surgeries

Unlike other jobs, you’re not limited to the private practice.

If you choose, you can work in the various areas of the vet industry, such as:

  • Zoos and wildlife facilities
  • Veterinary supply sales
  • Private and public research
  • Military service
  • Humane societies
  • Rescue organizations
  • Diagnostic laboratories
  • Veterinary teaching hospitals

Also, you can take it further by becoming a vet technician specialist in any of these areas:

  • Dental technology
  • Anesthesia
  • Internal medicine
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Behavior technology
  • Zoological medicine
  • Equine
  • Surgery
  • Clinical practice
  • Nutrition
  • Clinical pathology

How to Become One

To work as a vet tech, you must first earn a two-year associate’s degree in vet technology.

You must have graduated from a school or program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

In Iowa, only Iowa State University has been given this accreditation.

Once you’ve graduated, you can then take the following exams:

You need to pass them to earn your professional license.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Iowa

learning to be a vet technician in iowa

At times, it can be quite difficult to get admitted to a vet technician program.

Some schools require you to take basic courses as a prerequisite wherein you must earn a grade of “C” or better.

These courses include biology, chemistry, English, math, etc.

Once you’ve completed them, you can then begin attending your core subjects.

You’ll learn everything there is to know about vet technology, gaining knowledge in:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Parasitology
  • Chemistry
  • Pathology
  • Microbiology
  • Hematology
  • Radiology

Note that some schools may require electives: humanities, computer skills, or psychology.

Included in the program is lab work to let you familiarize the necessary skills and techniques.

Later, you’ll go through an internship at a local vet clinic, working closely with the vet.

Here, you’ll learn more about the day-to-day aspects of being a vet technician.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition rates in Iowa are more affordable than in other states.

It amounts to less than or equal to $20,000, including books, other fees, and vet supplies.

Tuition for out-of-state students is usually higher and the price varies from school to school.

Usually, though, it’s less than twice as high per credit hour.

For more detailed info, you should check the website of your chosen vet college.

As for financial aid, you can avail all types of financial aid, provided you meet its criteria.

You can submit a request through Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Iowa also offers its own state financial aid programs to help ease your financial burden.

If you’re a veteran or a family member, you can avail of education benefits given by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Licensing and Certification

taking the vet technician licensure exam in iowa

In Iowa, you don’t have to be a registered vet technician to work at a vet facility.

But it will be better for your employment and paycheck if you become a Certified Vet Technician.

To obtain your professional license, you must take the VTNE for an exam fee of $300.

It has 150 questions that you must complete within three hours.

Next, you’ll then take the Iowa State Exam for Veterinary Technicians.

You can visit the Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine for more information.

For the renewal of your license, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education every three years.

Getting a Job in Iowa

Vet technicians generally have no worries when it comes to finding a job.

There is a huge job market for them in Iowa, with vet facilities constantly looking forward to hiring newcomers.

Here is a list of potential employers that might hire you:

  • Banfield Pet Hospital in Clive
  • Afford-A-Care Pet Hospital
  • Ames Pet Hospital
  • Bright Eyes & Bushy Tails Veterinary Hospital

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Iowa

You’re looking at a bright future as a vet technician in Iowa.

That’s because the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the employment level will grow by 15% by 2030.

This means that with more jobs opening, the higher and more competitive your salaries will be.

Here are the current average annual salaries of vet technicians across Iowa.

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Ames,IA $28,225
Ankeny,IA $28,492
Cedar Falls,IA $25,853
Cedar Rapids,IA $28,077
Council Bluffs,IA $28,031
Davenport,IA $28,002
Des Moines,IA $28,492
Dubuque,IA $27,773
Iowa City,IA $27,846
Sioux City,IA $24,667
Urbandale,IA $28,492
Waterloo,IA $26,802
West Des Moines,IA $28,492

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA110$41,770$20.08$63,530$29,660
Cedar Rapids, IA140$37,750$18.15$46,270$30,060
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL170$36,830$17.71$45,890$28,760
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA330$39,040$18.77$47,950$30,660
Dubuque, IA40$37,230$17.9$46,340$30,740
Iowa City, IA40$38,990$18.75$58,100$29,450
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD70$38,860$18.68$46,340$31,150
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA110$37,060$17.82$46,170$30,660
* 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

Now that you know what being a vet technician entails and how to work as one, you can now take the first steps toward this career.

Acquiring education, training, and experience.

By doing so, you’ll hone your knowledge and skills to provide quality vet care to animals.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State