Being a veterinary technician (vet tech), a veterinary assistant or an animal caregiver is a fun and rewarding career. In Alabama, projections suggest that there will be growth in the field over the next several years. For animal lovers looking into a job as a vet tech, there will be plenty of new positions opening up in Alabama. [Leer en español]
The average annual salary for a vet tech in Alabama is $28,740. This is a little lower than the national average of $32,350, but Alabama has a cost of living that is significantly below the average cost of living nationwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top earners in the field for Alabama are making up to $38,820.
In order to work as a veterinary technician in Alabama, individuals must be licensed with the state. The qualifications for being licensed include being at least 18 years old, demonstrating good character, and proof of the completion of an animal technology program from an approved school. New vet techs must also submit an application with a fee to the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and must pass a national licensing exam with a score of at least 70 percent. Vet techs are required to take continuing education courses and to renew licensing every year.
The American Veterinary Medical Association accredits vet tech training programs at schools throughout the country. There are two AVMA-accredited programs in Alabama at Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette and at Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham. Students completing either of these programs will earn an associate of applied science degree and will be prepared to be licensed in the state. The program at Faulkner is new and has only received initial accreditation, while the Jefferson program is fully accredited and has been since 2007.
There are 840 veterinary technicians currently employed in the state of Alabama, but the number of positions is always growing and there are plenty of opportunities for anyone hoping to enter this field. Vet techs work in animal hospitals, veterinary practices, research facilities, kennels, shelters and stables. Some of the facilities looking for vet techs include:
- Animal Medical Center, Tuscaloosa
- Riverview Animal Clinic, Birmingham
- Alabama Veterinary Specialists, Bessemer
- Veterinary Regional Referral Hospital, Decatur
The primary professional organization for veterinary technicians in Alabama is the Alabama Veterinary Technician Association (AVTA). The AVTA is open to all licensed vet techs in the state and offers continuing education opportunities and job listings. Vet techs may also join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, or NAVTA, which offers members professional resources and group discounts on things like health insurance and hotels.
College and University Listings
2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, Alabama 35215-3098Veterinary Technology – Associate Program
The Associate’s degree program at Jefferson State Community College is based at their campus in the city of Birmingham. This public college has about 8,516 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $4,380 and for students from outside the state in the order of $7,830 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,982, although this will vary with the program.
930 Old Monrovia Road, NW, Huntsville, Alabama 35806-2509Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Ross Medical Education Center is taught at their Huntsville campus in the city of Huntsville. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is broadly in the order of $14,200 yearly. Usually, the program is completed in 9 months.
Kresge Center, 3rd Floor, Tuskegee, Alabama 36088-1920Veterinary Science – Master Program
The Master’s program at Tuskegee University can be taken at their campus in the town of Tuskegee, AL. This is a full, 4-year private college with 3,103 students, of which 83% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees are around $20,015 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,603, depending on the program chosen. The Master of Science in Veterinary Science graduate program at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health produces successful academicians and investigators in the areas of cancer cell biology, HIV/AIDS, cancer and nano-therapy, reproductive biology, risk analysis / epidemiology, food safety and control of food intake.
1900 US Hwy 31 S, Bay Minette, Alabama 36507-2698Veterinary Technology – Associate Program
The Associate’s degree program at James H Faulkner State Community College is offered at their campus in the town of Bay Minette. The majority of of the school’s 4,481 students are on 2-year programs. The cost of tuition for in-state students is about $4,320 and for students from other states in the order of $7,770 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,450, depending on the program chosen. Students in the Vet Tech Program see real-world experience by visiting industry across the area. Trips have included the State Diagnostic Laboratory and the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo to understand other areas of the Veterinary field.
* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.