Veterinary Technician

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Veterinary Technician

Channel Your Passion for Animals into a Veterinary Career 

Veterinary technicians provide professional technical support to veterinarians, biomedical researchers, and other scientists.

They also care for hospitalized patients; assist doctors in surgery; perform physical exams, lab work, and technical procedures; take health histories and X-rays; and more.

At Kirkwood, you'll learn to work with a variety of animals including dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, sheep, birds, snakes, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rats.

You'll need a strong passion for biological sciences to succeed as a veterinary technician.

Apply Now Program Details Program Costs

Kirkwood offers more than $3 million in scholarships for students each year. Veterinary technician students may also qualify for the Kibbie Grant.

Graduates of the Veterinary Technician program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate collaborative skills as a member of the veterinary health care team.
  2. Employ office and hospital management procedures.
  3. Apply pharmacologic principles and procedures in veterinary practice.
  4. Perform surgical preparation, anesthesia, and assistance in veterinary surgery and hospital treatment.
  5. Perform food animal, equine, and companion animal inpatient and outpatient nursing.
  6. Obtain samples and perform veterinary clinical laboratory procedures.
  7. Perform diagnostic medical imaging.
  8. Demonstrate laboratory, avian, and exotic animal procedures.
  9. Follow and uphold applicable laws and ethical codes of the profession of veterinary technology.
  10. Adhere to industry and OSHA standards for safety.

A one-hour program conference is required prior to acceptance to the program. You'll learn more about the program, specific admissions requirements, and have the opportunity to have questions answered by program faculty and staff.



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This program is accredited by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). For more information, go to

Successful completion of this program qualifies you to test for licensure, certification, or registry in the following states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Kirkwood does not determine whether program curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification beyond the states listed above.

Our mission is to advance the practice of veterinary medicine through the education and development of motivated, skillful, and compassionate veterinary technicians.

Veterinary Technician National Exam Reporting to the Community.
3-Year Veterinary Technician National Examination Pass Rates

July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2020
Number of first-time candidates who have taken the VTNE 49
Three-year VTNE pass percentage 87%


The three-year pass percentage on VTNE is calculated as follows:

X/Y * 100=Three-year pass percentage whereby

  • X is the number of first time candidates that passed the VTNE and
  • Y is the number of first-time candidates that have taken the VTNE

Veterinary Technician State Exam Reporting to the Community

YEAR Number Taking VTSE Number Passing Percent Passing VTSE
2020 14 14 100
2019 15 15 100
2018 20 20 100
2017 16 16 100
2016 14 14 100
2015 13 13 100
2014 16 16 100
2013 20 19 95
2012 11 11 100
2011 16 15 93.7
2010 23 22 95.6
2009 19 17 89
2008 22 22 100

Rein Crawford

“Kirkwood’s professors and advisors are very encouraging, keeping me hyped to work hard and get ahead. They know how to keep me motivated.”

Rein Crawford,
Kirkwood Student

Frequently Asked Questions

No. You’ll want to take Pre-Veterinary Medicine course through our Arts and Sciences division; then transfer to a four-year college or university to receive a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, animal science, physics, or biology. After that, you’ll attend veterinary school and work toward your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

Self-motivation; a goal-oriented attitude; an outgoing, friendly personality; and maturity are needed to be successful in this career. Working with a veterinarian on a paid or volunteer basis is also a good idea and will expose you to all aspects of the career – including sights, smells, sounds, and issues that may be hard to deal with including euthanasia.

  • Livestock (Cattle, equine, goats, sheep, etc.)
  • Exotic animals-Reptiles
  • Domestic pets
  • Pocket pets (Guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, etc.)
  • Birds

In the State of Iowa, you must graduate from an AVMA accredited program and then pass both the national credentialing exam and the state jurisprudence exam. Requirements vary from state to state so be sure to contact the veterinary medical examining board in the state where you want to practice. Be sure to contact the veterinary medical examining board in the state where you want to practice.

Program Requirements

  1. Everyone who applies for admission into the Veterinary Technician program must take the HESI entrance exam. Once you apply for the program, youll receive information about scheduling your program conference.
  2. Five business days after you complete your program conference, you’ll be able to purchase access to the HESI exam at the Kirkwood Bookstore. The cost for the exam is $44. Cash and debit/credit card payments are accepted. Please note: the exam cost is subject to change. Make sure to keep your receipt because you’ll need it the day of the exam.
  3. Youll take the HESI at the Test Center in 2055 Cedar Hall. Youll need to schedule a time in advance to take the exam. Admission requirements must be met by April 1 of each year. This includes both attempts at the HESI exam.
  4. On the day youre scheduled to take the exam, you’ll need to bring a valid photo ID (driver’s license or passport), proof of payment (Bookstore receipt), and Elsevier username and password (set that up here).
  5. You can take up to four hours to complete the exam. Students must pass with minimum cut scores prior to being fully accepted into the program. Students are able to make two attempts at the exam. The needed exam scores for both the Veterinary Assistant and Veterinary Technician program are listed below.
  6. Once you complete the exam, whether the required scores were met or not, you should contact Ashley Moeller, associate dean, Ag Sciences, or Holly Feldmann, department coordinator, Ag Sciences, to set up a time to meet via Zoom.
  7. It is suggested that you prepare for this exam in advance. The Kirkwood main campus library has copies of the HESI Admission Assessment Exam Review workbook. The review workbook is also available to order on Amazon (ISBN: 978-0-323-35378-6). Find more HESI study materials.

See the needed exam scores below.

Exam Veterinary Technician Veterinary Assistant
English 77 Composite 60 Composite
Grammar 75 40
Reading 75 70
Vocabulary 75 70
Math 80 69
Biology 75 55
Chemistry 73 N/A


Agricultural Sciences
1000 Washington Hall