Becoming a Veterinary Technician in Washington

Veterinary technology is a fast growing field nationwide, and the state of Washington is no exception. Between 2012 and 2022, jobs in veterinary technology were projected to grow by 27.5 percent in Washington, only slightly slower than the projected nationwide growth rate of 29.5 percent for this field. [Leer en español]

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Salaries for Veterinary Technicians

The median salary for veterinary technicians in Washington is $34,900 per year. This is somewhat higher than the median salary for vet techs nationwide, which is $32,350. In addition, the highest-paid veterinary technicians in Washington may earn as much as $44,580, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Requirements for Veterinary Technicians

Veterinary technicians in Washington must be licensed by the state in order to practice. Licenses are issued to qualified candidates through the Washington State Department of Health. In order to qualify for licensure, candidates must first successfully complete a veterinary technician program that has been approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Next, candidates must pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. The final step to qualify for a license is passage of the Washington state exam, which tests each candidate’s knowledge of Washington state law as it relates to veterinary practice.

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

There are four veterinary technician programs in Washington with full accreditation from the AVMA, and one that currently has initial accreditation. The fully credited programs are Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood, Pima Medical Institute-Seattle, Pima Medical Institute-Renton and Yakima Valley Community College in Yakima. The program that currently has initial accreditation is Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham. The Pierce College program culminates in an associate in veterinary technology degree, while completion of any of the other programs will earn students an associate of applied science degree.

Major Veterinary Technician Employers in Washington

There were 1,780 veterinary technicians employed in Washington state as of 2012, and that number is projected to grown to 2,270 by 2022. Washington vet techs work primarily with small animals in facilities such as animal hospitals, animal shelters and research laboratories. Some of the facilities in need of licensed vet techs include:

Professional Organizations

The leading professional organization for veterinary technicians in this state is the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians (WSAVT). Vet techs in Washington are also eligible to join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

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College and University Listings

Bellingham, WA Area

Bellingham Technical College

3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, Washington 98225-1599
Veterinary Technician – Certificate Program, Veterinary Technician – Associate Program

Bellingham Technical College offers various Certificate program options in Veterinary Technology a Certificate program and a Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Bellingham. Most of the school’s 2,301 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $3,389 and for students from other states likely to be about $8,728 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,080, although this varies from program to program.

Longview, WA Area

Lower Columbia College

1600 Maple Street, Longview, Washington 98632-0310
Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Lower Columbia College is taught at their campus in the city of Longview, WA. This public college has about 3,208 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly around $4,131 and for out-of-state students around $4,644 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,155, depending on the program.

Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA Area

Skagit Valley College

2405 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

Skagit Valley College’s Certificate-level Veterinary Assistant program is based at their campus in the city of Mount Vernon. This public college has approximately 4,993 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $4,200 and for out-of-state students in the order of $4,700 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division Area

Pima Medical Institute-Renton

555 South Renton Village Pl-Ste 400, Renton, Washington 98057
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program, Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

Pima Medical Institute offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their Renton campus in the city of Renton, WA. The majority of of the school’s 777 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are usually around $12,176 annually. Study materials can cost around $743. Typically, the program is completed in 8 months.

Pima Medical Institute-Seattle

9709 Third Ave NE Suite 400, Seattle, Washington 98115
Veterinary Technician – Associate Program, Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

Pima Medical Institute offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their Seattle campus in the city of Seattle, WA. Most of the school’s 760 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Tuition fees for the Vet Tech program are in the order of $18,843 per year. Study materials can cost around $1,824. Usually, the program is completed in 20 months.

Renton Technical College

3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, Washington 98056-4123
Veterinary Assistant – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Renton Technical College can be taken at their campus in the city of Renton, Washington. This public college has about 3,359 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees are around $4,836 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,050, depending on the program chosen.

Tacoma, WA Metropolitan Division Area

Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom

9401 Farwest Dr SW, Lakewood, Washington 98498-1999
Veterinary Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program at Pierce College is taught at their Fort Steilacoom campus in the city of Lakewood. The majority of of the school’s 5,927 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-state students are generally around $3,643 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,981 annually. Learning materials may cost around $1,050, although this will vary with the program.

Yakima, WA Area

Yakima Valley Community College

South 16th Ave. & Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima, Washington 98907-2520
Veterinary Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program at Yakima Valley Community College is taught at their campus in the city of Yakima, Washington. This public college has in the region of 3,950 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $4,225 and for out-of-state students in the order of $4,626 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,050, 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.

Other Options

Washington residents have further educational options in the neighboring states of Idaho, Oregon and California.