The field of veterinary technology is growing rapidly nationwide, and it is growing at a particularly fast rate in Tennessee. While vet tech jobs across the country are expected to grow by 16 percent between 2018 and 2028, they are expected to grow by 30 percent in Tennessee, an increase of around 590 total jobs.* For Tennessee animal lovers, veterinary technology is a great career choice. [Leer en español]
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for veterinary technicians in Tennessee was $27,760 per year in 2020. Despite the fact that this salary is below the national average of $36,260, Tennessee vet techs can still make a good living thanks to the low cost of living in the state. The overall cost of living here is 11.3 percent below the national average, and housing prices are also well below average in Tennessee. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, top earners in the field in Tennessee may earn as much as $40,180 per year.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Conditions in your area may vary.
Practicing veterinary technicians in Tennessee must apply to the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for a license. Before a license can be issued, candidates must complete a number of qualifying steps. First, they must graduate from a veterinary technician program that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Second, candidates must pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Finally, candidates must pass a criminal background check and submit a letter of recommendation from a practicing Tennessee veterinarian.
There are five total veterinary technician programs in Tennessee that have been accredited by the AVMA. Chattanooga State Community College, Columbia State Community College and Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate all have fully accredited programs. The first two both offer associate of applied science degrees, while Lincoln Memorial offers either an associate of science or a bachelor of science degree. In addition, one Tennessee school has a program under initial accreditation, Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin.
Tennessee offers a range of working environments for veterinary technicians, ranging from small animal clinics in urban areas to ranches and farms in the state’s beautiful rural regions. Some of the Tennessee facilities in need of qualified veterinary technicians include:
- BluePearl Veterinary Partners, Nashville
- Hardin Valley Animal Hospital, Knoxville
- Shallowford Animal Hospital, Chattanooga
- Metro Public Health Department, Nashville
The leading professional organization for veterinary technicians in Tennessee is the Tennessee Veterinary Technicians Association (TVTA). The TVTA works to keep members informed about relevant legislation and other changes that may impact veterinary practice in the state. Vet techs who join the TVTA will also receive a discount in membership in the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).
College and University Listings
- Chattanooga, TN-GA
- South Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
- North Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
- Western Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
- Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
Chattanooga State Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The college has in the order of 9,332 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 students living in the state is about $3,973 and for students from other states around $15,373 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,500, depending on the program.
550 Alabama Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38105-3604
Assistant Animal Laboratory Technology – Certificate Program
Tennessee College of Applied Technology offers various Certificate program options in Veterinary Technology. All programs are based at their Memphis campus in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. The college has roughly 1,051 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $5,148 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $4,075, although this will vary with the program.
1480 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, Tennessee 37066-3188
Veterinary Assistant – Associate Program
Volunteer State Community College’s Associate-level Veterinary Assistant program is offered at their campus in Gallatin in Sumner County, TN. This public college has approximately 7,664 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-state students are about $3,925 and for students from other states approximately $15,325 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,200, depending on the program.
6965 Cumberland Gap Pkwy, Harrogate, Tennessee 37752-9900
Veterinary Health Science and Technology – Bachelor Program, Veterinary Medical Technology – Associate Program
Lincoln Memorial University offers multiple training options, including a Bachelor program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of Harrogate. Of the 3,735 students, about 55% are postgraduates. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees are around $20,546 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,400, depending on the program chosen.
1665 Hampshire Pike, Columbia, Tennessee 38401
Veterinary Technology – Associate Program
The Veterinary Technology Associate’s degree program at Columbia State Community College is offered at their campus in the town of Columbia, Tennessee. The college has round 5,117 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 students living in the state is roughly about $3,919 and for students from other states around $15,319 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,600, depending on 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.