How to Become a Veterinary Technician in North Dakota

There is a certain (and numerous) group of people that would consider the job of a vet technician – a perfect one.

These are the people that would not mind a lifetime of petting and hugging and helping animals.

However, even though that love for animals and a wish to hug cats and dogs is definitely a plus in this career, you should know that it would only be a tiny fragment of your busy day schedule.

You’ll need to be able to follow directions, listen and communicate professionally with both the supervising veterinarian as well as the pet owners.

Actually, apart from physical abilities, communicating with pet owners is one of the most important jobs you’ll perform: you’ll have to talk to them professionally but with understanding and kindness.

But, let’s see what else you’ll need to do to become a veterinary technician.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in North Dakota

As a veterinary technician, sometimes you’ll have some more important duties like helping in surgeries, and sometimes less important but by no means insignificant ones like doing administration chores, answering questions, preparing a surgery and sterilizing the equipment after surgeries, among many others.

Don’t forget that you’re also in charge of performing the lab work, collecting urine samples, drawing blood and taking care of animals after the surgery.

And there are, of course, the less pleasant duties like disinfecting the animals’ cages, cleaning after the animals and

Now that you’re familiar with your general duties as a vet technician, let’s take a look at the particular steps you have to take in order to become one.

How to Become One?

If you’re serious about being a vet technician and want to work in a serious animal hospital, clinic or even start your own job and have a professional career, you need to work on your education.

The first step you need to take, in this sense, is earn an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology.

For North Dakota, which doesn’t have an in-state college with an accredited program for vet technicians, this means you’ll have to find other ways of attending a vet technology program with a full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

Once you graduate, you’ll have to take the VTNE exam (Veterinary Technician National Examination), which is required for your next step.

The next step is getting the endorsement of a licensed veterinarian in order to apply for a license from the North Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in North Dakota

Unfortunately, North Dakota has only one school with a veterinary technology department, but it doesn’t award its students with an Associate’s degree.

This means you have three possible options to earn this degree.

1. Your first option are the so-called “distance education” (DE) programs, which means that the major part of your classwork is done over the internet and you are in charge of arranging your free time and your general schedule.

The good thing about this option is that most of your studies can be done at home, but some travel to a local campus is required.

As for your final internship that requires actual lab work and practice, you’re the one that chooses how to arrange those. So basically, you’re the one planning your own education.

For example, if you want to focus on small animals, you can plan your practice and lab work according to that decision.

2. Your second option is to simply attend a school with an accredited program in a neighboring state.

This does mean you’ll have to travel and attend the program in another state, but at least it’s a neighboring state!

North Dakota has the following reciprocity agreements: one is between Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota, and the other between several states including North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

This means that these states allow for reduced out-of-state tuition rates in some programs. This is how that would work: you would attend the specific college you want and then then apply for a license in North Dakota.

3.  Finally, your option number three, is to take as many classes as you can at a North Dakota college, and then transfer the credits you get from them to an accredited school in a neighboring state.

This is done with a purpose to keep your tuition costs as low as possible, provided that you attend a school in a neighboring state with a reciprocity agreement.

Whatever road you choose, make sure it is the road that works best for you, because it’s going to be a long ride and you don’t want to give up along the way, just because it’s a little rough.

You can expect to earn your Associate’s degree in three years or even less.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition is a bit hard to determine in North Dakota, because of all the different ways you can complete your education.

All specific info about tuition of each college in each neighboring state can be find on their websites, so make sure you study those closely.

The same applies for financial aid, but it’ still a bit less complicated to talk about, since every school program offers the same, traditional financial aid programs that all college students can apply for, if they meet the criteria.

You can apply to almost every financial aid program starting with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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Licensing and Certification

As for the specific licenses for vet technicians in North Dakota, there is the already mentioned (and extremely important!) Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) which is an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

The VTNE exam is important because it’s the best indicator of your knowledge and experience as a veterinary technician.

That’s why it isn’t easy, lasting over three hours and counting more than 150 questions.

You can only take the VTNE exam if you’ve graduated from an accredited program, so that’s why it’s important to choose only between accredited programs, like we’ve stated before.

Only when you pass the VTNE, can you work as a licensed vet technician in North Dakota.

Getting a Job in North Dakota

This step will probably be the most satisfying one for a veterinary technician starting his or her career: namely when veterinary technicians are concerned, finding a job is not at all difficult.

Though North Dakota does not have veterinary hospitals with national locations, (due to the fact that the VCA, VETCO and Banfield Pet Hospitals have no facilities there), there’s still a bunch of facilities that are looking for new vet technicians.

Here are some potential employers in North Dakota:

  • Missouri Valley Vet- Commerce
  • Steele Veterinary Clinic
  • Pinkerton Animal Hospital
  • Southgate Veterinary Hospital
  • Lewis and Clark Animal Hospital
  • Turtle Mountain Veterinary Services
  • Animal Health Clinic

Salaries for Vet Technicians in North Dakota

In general, a job of a veterinary technician is a job with a good prospect, giving the fact that, as we mentioned before, workers in animal healthcare will be needed more and more in the years to come and their employment will grow exponentially.

Here are the salaries of vet technicians across North Dakota:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Grand Forks,ND$25,895
West Fargo,ND$27,697

Final Words

If you think that you’re the kind of person that can dedicate their professional life to the animal welfare and making the feel more secure and be healthy, then you should choose a career of a veterinary technician.

This is the kind of profession that will allow you to combine your love of animals with earning for a living, which for animal lover is a dream come true.

It is important not to get discouraged by the fact that most people only perceive the less important duties of a veterinary technician like administrative work, answering phone calls and communicating with the patient and their owner.

However, once you become a veterinary technician and start working as one, you’ll see that the main satisfaction for a vet technician is helping somebody who needs them, and all the downsides of the job don’t matter in these situations.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State