How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Washington

administering medicine to sick pets

People with no pets might think it’s an exaggeration, but when pets get sick, it breaks the heart of pet owners.

And that’s where the vet team comes in to help alleviate the worries of pet owners.

As a vet technician, you will do your part to share this burden.

It’s only a small part, but it’s just as important as your other responsibilities.

If you’re interested in what a vet technician does in Washington, read on to know what it entails.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Washington

Many may think it easy, but the daily responsibilities of vet technicians are quite challenging and exhausting.

To give you an accurate illustration, this job can be likened to a hospital nurse.

So if you pursue this career, your job will be to work with animals and people, taking care of a wide array of issues.

It can range from technical things, like keeping records, to assisting the vet during treatments.

Be warned that you’ll also have some unpleasant duties like assisting in euthanasia.

There are also several duties expected of you without the supervision of the vet.

So, let’s sum up and take a look at just some of the responsibilities you’ll have:

  • Recording an animal’s medical history
  • Assisting with surgeries and other medical procedures
  • Collecting blood, urine, or stool samples
  • Preparing animals and equipment for surgery
  • Processing laboratory tests
  • Providing treatment for routine problems
  • Assisting the vet with physical exams
  • Performing anesthesia
  • Administering medications
  • Recording temperature, pulse, and respiration
  • Dressing wounds
  • Euthanizations when necessary
  • Caring for companion animals
  • Conducting research

How to Become One

To make your dreams of becoming a vet technician come true, first, you’ll need to get an AAS in Veterinary Technology degree.

Meaning, you have to be admitted to an accredited two-year program for vet technicians in the state.

After that, you’ll need to take and pass two exams.

One is the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)

It’s an exam administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

Second is the Washington State Examination for Veterinary Technicians (WSEVT).

Once you’ve secured this, you can now be legally recognized as a licensed vet technician in Washington.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Washington

vet technician education in washington

Washington State University is the only school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

To be admitted, the school usually requires you to at least have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

You may also be required to take some courses that you didn’t have in high school before you enroll.

These general education courses are basic math, composition, speech, and psychology.

It usually takes students around two semesters to complete this.

During the vet technician program, your courses will involve some of the following:

  • Dentistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Exotic and lab animal procedures
  • Clinical procedures
  • Surgical nursing

You’ll also have an internship where you’ll put your theoretical knowledge into practice.

It will usually be at a local clinic where you’ll be trained and supervised by the vet.

At that time, you get to learn what it’s like to be a professional vet technician on a day-to-day basis.

After you graduate, you can also choose an area of specialization.

Here are some of them:

  • Animal nutrition
  • Clinical practice
  • Clinical pathology
  • Equine medicine
  • Dental technician
  • Emergency and critical care nursing
  • Anesthetist
  • Internal medicine
  • Behavior modification
  • Zoological and exotic animal medicine

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for the accredited vet technology programs in America is usually affordable.

It can cost between $20,000 and $35,000.

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 school.

Most types of college financial aid are available to students attending the vet tech programs.

You can start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid’s website.

And if you’re a veteran or a family member, you can check with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the financial aid available to you.

Popular Programs

Find a Program

Earn your accredited, affordable associate degree or career diploma online with Penn Foster!

Veterinary AssistantVeterinary TechnicianDog ObediencePet GroomingSponsored Online Programs.

Licensing and Certification

Even though you’ve graduated, more exams are waiting for you.

As mentioned, you’ll take two exams: the VTNE and the WSEVT.

For VTNE, only those who graduated from an accredited program can take it.

This exam lasts three hours, with 150 questions, costing $300 each take.

Only once you’ve passed both exams can you get your license.

If you want to keep your license current, the state requires you to complete 30 hours of continuing education every 3 years.

Getting a Job in Washington

applying as a vet technician in washington

With a license secured, you can start looking for a job.

In Washington, jobs are always available for people working in veterinary care.

At this point, it’s up to you where you want to work: a large animal hospital or a private clinic.

To get you started, here’s a list of potential employers you can submit an application in Washington.

  • Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians
  • Veterinary Centers of America – Washington Branches
    • Magnolia Animal Hospital
    • Pacific Avenue Animal Hospital
    • Five Corners Animal Hospital
  • Vetco Wellness Centers and Vaccination Clinics located in:
    • Seattle Petco
    • Redmond Petco
    • Spokane Petco
    • Olympia Petco
  • Banfield Pet Hospitals located in:
    • Seattle
    • Vancouver
    • Spokane

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Washington

There’s some good news for all vet technician hopefuls.

There will be plenty of job opportunities for you in the future!

With more and more pet owners every year, it has directly increased the demand for vet personnel.

As such, you can get good job prospects and high salaries.

The table below will show you how much salary you can expect to earn in Washington.

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Auburn,WA $31,608
Bellevue,WA $32,534
Bellingham,WA $30,271
Bremerton,WA $32,020
Everett,WA $31,724
Federal Way,WA $31,608
Kennewick,WA $29,648
Kent,WA $31,544
Lacey,WA $30,514
Lakewood,WA $31,608
Marysville,WA $31,724
Olympia,WA $30,514
Pasco,WA $29,389
Renton,WA $32,503
Richland,WA $29,461
Seattle,WA $32,534
Spokane,WA $29,411
Spokane,WA $31,608
Vancouver,WA $30,909
Yakima,WA $29,381

Regional Salary in Washington

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA80$49,880$23.98$58,730$39,860
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA90$51,820$24.91$76,650$37,940
Kennewick-Richland, WA60$51,120$24.58$76,180$38,860
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA50$51,110$24.57$61,330$35,630
Olympia-Tumwater, WA100$48,280$23.21$58,120$37,960
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA1,370$53,830$25.88$61,100$42,780
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA180$47,090$22.64$58,100$36,130
Yakima, WA70$47,320$22.75$57,630$37,350
* 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

The job of a vet technician comes with serious responsibilities and challenges.

But you can learn to manage them through experience and years of hard work.

Even so, we recommend that you do your research beforehand.

Make sure that this is the career you want.

You should also always work on your communication skills along the way.

Talking to pet owners, offering them hope and understanding, is very important in the vet field.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State