Becoming a Veterinary Technician in California

Big growth in animal careers is expected in California over the coming years, which is good news for anyone interested in working as a veterinary technician, a veterinary assistant or an animal caretaker. The growth could mean as many as 270 new jobs each year for the next several years. Working with animals requires some training but is a rewarding and fun job in California. [Leer en español]

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Salaries for Veterinary Technicians

The national average salary for a vet tech is $32,350, but it is $37,220 for those working in California. Vet techs in the state can earn up to $50,850, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Animal assistants and caretakers, who require less training and do not need to be licensed, can earn up to $42,500 and have an average salary of $29,640.

Requirements for Veterinary Technicians

Vet techs in California must be licensed to work in the state. Licensing is through the California Veterinary Medical Board (CVMB). Vet techs applying for licensing must be able to prove completion of a vet tech program at a school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association or that is approved by the CVMB. Applicants must also submit FBI fingerprint clearance and proof of a minimum of 4,416 hours of practical experience in veterinary work. Finally, applicants must pass both the California Veterinary Technician Examination and the Veterinary Technician National Examination.

Featured School

Penn Foster College – Veterinary Technician Program

Full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Clinical externships through a private practice near your home or Penn Foster College’s partner VCA Animal Hospitals. Gain hands-on experience alongside licensed veterinarians and credentialed veterinary technicians. Call 1-800-851-1819 today.

AVMA-Accredited Veterinary Technician Programs in California

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits vet tech training programs at many schools throughout the country, and there are several such programs in the state of California:

Major Veterinary Technician Employers in California

Nearly 9,000 vet techs and 10,000 veterinary assistants are currently employed in California. There are many opportunities for jobs in this field, including small private veterinary practices, large animal hospitals, university animal hospitals, specialty clinics, research facilities and rescue shelters. Here are some of the facilities that employ vet techs and other types of animal caregivers:

Professional Organizations

Licensed vet techs working in California can join the California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association (CRVTA) in order to network and to access resources such as educational opportunities, scholarships and information about licensing. Vet techs may also join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, or NAVTA. NAVTA offers members resources on a national level.

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College and University Listings

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division Area

California Healing Arts College

500 East Carson Plaza Drive, Suite 103, Carson, California 90746-7323
Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

California Healing Arts College’s Certificate-level Veterinary Assistant program is based at their campus in the city of Carson. Most of the school’s 44 students are on diploma programs of under two years. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are generally about $16,910 per year. Typically, the program is completed in 8 months.

Carrington College-Pomona

901 Corporate Center Drive, Ste. 300, Pomona, California 91768-2642
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program

Carrington College’s Associate program is offered at their Pomona campus in Pomona in Los Angeles County, CA. Most of the school’s 374 students are on 2-year programs. The Vet Tech program, with a duration of 64 credit hours, is the college’s largest program. The cost of tuition is usually in the order of $32,266 per year. Study materials can cost roughly $1,900, although this will vary with the program.

Los Angeles Pierce College

6201 Winnetka Ave, Woodland Hills, California 91371-0002
Veterinary Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program at Los Angeles Pierce College is taught at their campus in the city of Woodland Hills, CA. The college has roughly 21,034 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are around $1,220 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $7,016 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,764, although this varies from program to program.

Mt San Antonio College

1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, California 91789-1399
Registered Veterinary Technology ( Official ) – Associate Program

Mt San Antonio College’s Associate program in Registered Veterinary Technology ( Official ) is offered at their campus in Walnut in Los Angeles County, California. The college has about 29,045 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college’s retention rate for full-time students is 80%. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $1,348 and for out-of-state students approximately $7,960 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,764, depending on the program chosen.

Modesto, CA Area

Modesto Junior College

435 College Ave, Modesto, California 95350-5800
Veterinary Technician – Certificate Program

Modesto Junior College’s Certificate program in Veterinary Technician is offered at their campus in the city of Modesto. Most of the school’s 17,578 students are on 2-year programs. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $1,162 and for out-of-state students in the order of $6,370 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,746, depending on the program chosen.

Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division Area

Carrington College-Pleasant Hill

380 Civic Dr., Ste. 300, Pleasant Hill, California 94523
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program

Carrington College’s Associate program is offered at their Pleasant Hill campus in Pleasant Hill in Contra Costa County. This private, for-profit college has in the region of 599 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The Vet Tech program, with a duration of 64 credit hours, is the college’s largest program. The college is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Tuition fees are, as a rough guide, around $32,266 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,900, although this varies from program to program.

Carrington College-San Leandro

15555 E. 14th Street, Suite 500, San Leandro, California 94578-1977
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program

The Associate’s program at Carrington College is based at their San Leandro campus in the city of San Leandro, California. This private, for-profit college has round 509 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are broadly about $32,266 annually, while books and supplies may cost about $1,900. Program completion is normally 22 months.

Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA Area

Carrington College-Citrus Heights

7301 Greenback Lane, Ste A, Citrus Heights, California 95621
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program

Carrington College’s Associate program in Veterinary Technician is based at their Citrus Heights campus in Citrus Heights in Sacramento County, CA. The majority of of the school’s 517 students are on 2-year programs. The Vet Tech program, with a duration of 64 credit hours, is the college’s largest program. The college is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Fees for tuition are broadly about $32,266 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,900, depending on the program.

Carrington College-Sacramento

8909 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, California 95826
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program

The Veterinary Technician Associate’s program at Carrington College is offered at their Sacramento campus in Sacramento in Sacramento County. This private, for-profit college has round 1,385 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is about $32,266 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $1,900. Typically, the program is completed in 22 months.

Cosumnes River College

8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento, California 95823-5799
Veterinary Technology – Associate Program, Veterinary Technology – Certificate Program

Cosumnes River College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Sacramento, California. The college has around 14,467 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $1,104 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $7,440 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,746, although this varies from program to program.

Salinas, CA Area

Central Coast College

480 S Main Street, Salinas, California 93901-3301
Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Central Coast College can be taken at their campus in the city of Salinas, California. Most of the school’s 276 students are on diploma programs of under two years. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are around $12,800 annually. Typically, the program is completed in 9 months.

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Area

Carrington College-San Jose

5883 Rue Ferrari, San Jose, California 95138
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program

Carrington College’s Associate-level Veterinary Technician program is offered at their San Jose campus in the city of San Jose, CA. The majority of of the school’s 805 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The cost of tuition for the Vet Tech program is around $32,266 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,900. Program completion is normally 22 months.

Foothill College

12345 El Monte Rd, Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Veterinary Assisting – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program at Foothill College is based at their campus in Los Altos Hills in Santa Clara County, California. Most of the school’s 15,030 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is in the order of $1,551 and for students from outside the state around $8,391 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,764, although this will vary with the program.

Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA Area

Allan Hancock College

800 South College Drive, Santa Maria, California 93454-6399
Registered Veterinary Technician – Certificate Program

Allan Hancock College’s Certificate program is taught at their campus in the city of Santa Maria. The majority of of the school’s 11,047 students are on 2-year programs. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $1,346 and for out-of-state students in the order of $6,750 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,746, although this will vary with the program.

Stockton, CA Area

Carrington College-Stockton

1313 W. Robinhood Drive, Suite B, Stockton, California 95207
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program

The Veterinary Technician Associate’s program at Carrington College can be taken at their Stockton campus in the city of Stockton. The majority of of the school’s 549 students are on 2-year programs. The Vet Tech program, with a duration of 64 credit hours, is the college’s largest program. The college is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Fees for tuition are broadly about $32,266 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,900, depending on the program.

Visalia-Porterville, CA Area

College of the Sequoias

915 S. Mooney Blvd, Visalia, California 93277-2214
Animal Science – Certificate Program

College of the Sequoias’s Certificate program in Animal Science is based at their campus in the city of Visalia. The college has approximately 10,647 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $1,388 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,988 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,700, although this will vary with the program.

* 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.

Other Options

California residents have further educational options in the neighboring states of Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.