How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Iowa

Veterinary technicians (as well as other workers in the field of animal healthcare) are looking at a bright future working in this line of business.

Namely, the statistics show that their employment will be more and more coveted as the years go by, with the increasing number of pet owners in America.

This alone, (provided that you already have an undying love for animals), should be enough to make you take the first step towards this career.

This job, like every other, has its upsides and its downsides, but if you take a firm grip of it and power through the minor inconveniences, you’ll enjoy it immensely.

But first, let’s take a look at what you’re dealing with here.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Iowa

Your duties as a vet technician in Iowa can best be described as those of an assistant to the vet, or rather his or her right hand man.

You’ll be in charge of technical things like keeping records of patients through clinical testing and analyses, taking blood pressure and body temperature to assisting the veterinarian in surgeries. And yes, cleaning up the premises too.

However, given the fact that vet technicians don’t have to work in a private practice and can find work in other areas too, here’s a list of some of them:

  • zoos and wildlife facilities
  • veterinary supply sales
  • private and public research
  • military service
  • humane societies
  • rescue organizations
  • diagnostic laboratories
  • veterinary teaching hospitals

As a vet technician, you can also specialize in the following:

  • Dental Technology
  • Anesthesia
  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Behavior Technology
  • Zoological Medicine
  • Equine
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Clinical Pathology

How to Become One?

In order to become a vet technician in Iowa, you will have to graduate at an accredited vet technology program (you can relax, because Iowa has as many as six colleges with accredited vet technology programs, so you don’t have to travel elsewhere) and earn an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.

It should be underlined that you have to attend veterinary technology program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

For Iowa, this means attending any of the six colleges which have fully accredited veterinary technology program.

Once you’ve graduated, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), an exam required in order to become a licensed Iowa veterinary technician.

In the state of Iowa, you don’t have to be registered in order to work as a veterinary technician.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Iowa

Some of the colleges with accredited vet tech programs require a C average or better in high school and many of them require attending some basic courses after high school like biology, chemistry, English and math before you begin with your core subjects.

As for them, you’ll attend more science-focused subjects like the following, which are offered in most programs regardless of the particular college you attend:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • pharmacology
  • parasitology
  • chemistry
  • pathology
  • microbiology
  • hematology
  • radiology

Sure, you’ll have some social sciences as many schools require a few electives to be chosen from humanities, computer skills or psychology.

Lab work will also be incorporated in your student program.

Your final semester will be an internship, where you’ll have to work in an actual veterinary clinic, supervised by a veterinarian.

Here, you’ll put all your theoretical knowledge into practice, and learn more about the day-to-day aspects of being a vet technician.

You can expect to graduate from a veterinary technician program in two to three years.

Following this system, you can study one course for an entire month, but the best thing is that these systems don’t take longer than other programs.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition rates in Iowa are more affordable than in most other countries, since the program can be completed in two years for less than $20,000 all this including books, fees, and supplies needed.

Tuition for out-of-state students are usually higher and the price varies from school to school, though usually, it’s less than twice as high per credit hour.

For more detailed info, you should really check the website of the college you’re thinking of enrolling into.

As for financial aid, all the traditional types of financial aid that are available to students across America are also available to students in Iowa, and you can start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Apart from this, Iowa has its own state aid, about which you can find out more here.

You can also apply for military aids Iowa offers, and you can find out more about the types of aid that might work for you by visiting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Popular Degree Programs

Licensing and Certification

As mentioned before, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), which is an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

In order to take this exam, it is important that you’ve graduated from an accredited veterinary technology program, because if your program isn’t accredited – you can’t take this test.

Don’t expect something easy, because it takes three hours to complete it, it has 150 questions and costs 300$.

As mentioned before, you do not have to be registered in order to work as a vet technician in Iowa, but it will be better for you if you in terms of your employability and your paycheck.

Now, if you want to register after all (which would be a smart move), you have to pass the Iowa written exam. You can find out more about the details of Iowa exam here.

As for the continuing education requirements, in the state of Iowa, they are 30 hours every three years.

Getting a Job in Iowa

Veterinary technicians should generally have no doubts or worries when it comes to finding a job.

There is a huge place in the market for them, and they are constantly looked for by the animal healthcare facilities.

Here is a list of potential employers in Iowa that might help:

  • Banfield Pet Hospital
    • Clive
  • Iowa Pet Hospitals
  • 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. According to the the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the employment of workers in animal healthcare is expected to grow by a whopping 30% per year through 2022, with a higher expected rate in Delaware.

Here are current average 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

Final Words

Now that you’ve gotten acquainted with what it means to be a veterinary technician in your country, you can take the first steps to become one in Iowa.

It is important, before you get going, that you ask around and surf the internet thoroughly for information.

That’s the piece of advice anyone will give you, regardless of the career you’ve chosen – you have to be fully informed before you’re sure this is the profession you want to pursue.

Although this career has its highs and lows, if you’ve decided to become a vet technician, you probably already know that the highs outweigh the lows any time of day.

USA How to Become a Veterinary Technician by State