With a cost of living that is more than 15 percent below the national average, choosing Arkansas as a place to live and work is a smart move. Veterinary technician, veterinary assisting and animal caretaker jobs are available throughout the state for those who love animals and are ready to train for a career caring for them in veterinary clinics, research facilities, rescue centers and animal hospitals. [Leer en español]
For a veterinary technician in Arkansas, the average annual salary is $28,130, although top earners can make as much as $37,440. With less training required and no certification process, veterinary assistants make less than vet techs. The average salary for an assistant or caretaker is $22,130 with top earners making closer to $29,280.
Vet techs in Arkansas must be certified by the State of Arkansas Veterinary Medical Examining Board. To be certified, a vet tech must be a U.S. citizen, or eligible for citizenship, and must demonstrate moral integrity and ethical standards. To be a certified vet tech in the state, an applicant must also have successfully completed a vet tech program at a school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and have passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination. Finally, a complete application must include a notarized letter of recommendation from a licensed veterinarian.
There are currently only one veterinary technician program in Arkansas that have been accredited by the AVMA. The Veterinary Technology Program at Arkansas State University, Beebe is a fully-accredited two-year, associate degree program.
Currently there are 250 vet techs working in Arkansas, as well as 760 veterinary assistants and animal caretakers. According to projections, these fields are expected to grow by about 13 percent over the coming years. This means that more positions will become available in the future. Some of the facilities looking for vet techs include:
- Animal Emergency Clinic of Northwest Arkansas, Springdale
- Countryside Animal Hospital, Hot Springs National Park
- Green Mountain Animal Hospital, Little Rock
- Arkansas Veterinary Clinic, Fort Smith
- Humane Society of the Ozarks, Fayetteville
In Arkansas, vet techs can join the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association and enjoy the resources available to all members. Arkansas vet techs can also join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, or NAVTA, which offers members professional resources and group discounts on things like hotels, travel and health insurance.
College and University Listings
1000 Iowa Street, Beebe, Arkansas 72012-1000
Veterinary Technology – Associate Program
The Associate’s program at Arkansas State University can be taken at their Beebe campus in the town of Beebe. The college has roughly 4,140 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $3,480 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $5,370 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,256, although this will vary with the program. This program provides hands-on education in veterinary technology operations. Students will develop entry level competencies necessary to obtain employment in veterinary hospitals and industry.
* 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.