Hawaii is a dream destination for many people, and for anyone interested in working with animals, it holds some good opportunities. The number of jobs available in the state for veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants and animal caregivers is expected to grow by more than 20 percent over the next several years. Requirements for working in these careers in Hawaii are minimal, but proper training is essential. [Leer en español]
In Hawaii the average annual salary for a vet tech is $31,520, just a little less than the national average of $32,350, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterinary assistants and animal caregivers, who require less pre-job training, can expect to earn an average salary of $24,220 in Hawaii. The top earners in each category make $38,620 and $34,060 respectively.
Veterinary technicians working in Hawaii are not required to be licensed or certified, but most employers will want to see that a vet tech has had the proper education and training. To be marketable to hiring veterinarians, candidates should have completed a veterinary technology program through a school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Many employers will also expect a vet tech to have passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). Veterinary assistants and animal caregivers are not typically expected to have completed any kind of academic program, but they should have experience working with animals.
There is just one school with a veterinary technician program accredited by the AVMA in Hawaii. The program is at Windward Community College in Kaneohe on the island of Oahu. Windward’s two-year program awards associate degrees in science and prepares students to pass the VTNE. The program is in the initial stages of accreditation by the AVMA.
Hawaii is a small state and it has only 370 vet techs and 190 assistants and caregivers currently employed. Those people are employed by veterinary practices, animal hospitals, veterinary specialists, rescues and animal research centers:
- Hawaiian Humane Society, Honolulu
- Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center of Hawaii, Honolulu
- Feather and Fur Animal Hospital, Kailua
- University of Hawaii Animal and Veterinary Service Program, Manoa
Hawaii has a newly-formed professional organization for veterinary technicians. The Hawaii Veterinary Technician Association strives to support its members by providing information, job postings and educational opportunities. Vet techs in Hawaii may also want to join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, which offers even more resources.
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Windward Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are taught at their campus in Kaneohe in Honolulu County. Most of the school’s 2,661 students are 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 likely to be around $2,920 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $7,912 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,000, although this varies from program to 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.