While there aren’t any wolverines remaining in Michigan, the Wolverine State still boasts plenty of veterinary services and career opportunities for animal lovers. For example, the Michigan Humane Society provides services for tens of thousands of animals annually. In 2015, this estimable organization found homes for 100 percent of the healthy dogs and cats in its care, and it aims to achieve guaranteed placement of all treatable animals as well. Established in 1877, this is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country, working to end pet homelessness, reunite lost pets with owners, and advocate against animal cruelty.
Becoming a veterinary technician in Michigan is a high-growth career prospect for people interested in animal healthcare. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), vet techs have several job responsibilities, such as restraining animals during common procedures; assisting veterinarians with the administration of anesthesia, dental procedures, surgeries, or diagnostic imaging; processing laboratory samples; sterilizing medical equipment; and monitoring the health condition of animal patients.
Some vet techs choose to specialize and hone their skills in areas such as clinical pathology, equine medicine, dermatology, rehabilitation, behavior, livestock, marine animals, radiology, and other subfields of the discipline.
AVMA (2022) adds that the scope of practice for vet techs varies by state. In Michigan, the regional restrictions specified for veterinary technicians and assistants are that they cannot diagnose, prescribe medication, or perform surgeries. Veterinary personnel isn’t liable for civil damages when things go wrong, barring special circumstances. The relatively relaxed governing of the profession in this state allows vet techs to take on greater responsibilities. That said, to practice as a vet tech in MI, a person must be a licensed veterinary technician (LVT).
So how does a resident of the Great Lakes State pursue this in-demand career? Here are the typical steps to becoming a vet tech in MI:
- Graduate from high school, completing courses such as chemistry, biology, and algebra
- Enroll in a two- to four-year veterinary technology program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) program-approval body
- Pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
- Apply for state licensure through the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine and pass the Michigan Veterinary Technician Examination administered by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
Read on to discover the bright outlook for vet techs in MI and to learn about accredited programs as well as professional licensure.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in Michigan
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Baker College of Cadillac||9600 East 13t Street, Cadillac, Michigan, 49601||No||Yes|
|Baker College of Jackson||2800 Springport Road, Jackson, Michigan, 49202||No||Yes|
|Baker College of Muskegon||1903 Marquette Avenue, Muskegon, Michigan, 49442||No||Yes|
|Baker College of Owosso||1020 W. Washington Street, Owosso, michigan, 48867||No||Yes|
|Macomb Community College||44575 Garfield Rd. Clinton, Township, Michigan, 48044||No||Yes|
|Michigan State University||784 Wilson Road, Rm F101, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824||No||Yes|
Career Outlook for Vet Techs in Michigan
Luckily for veterinary technicians in Michigan and beyond, this is a high-growth career. For illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) projects that openings in this field will swell 20 percent across the US between 2021 and 2031, much more robust than the growth expected of all occupations during that time (5 percent). With the anticipated addition of 24,100 vet tech positions nationwide, there will be ample employment opportunities for these trained professionals in the years to come.
Vet techs in Michigan can seek employment in various environments, including veterinary hospitals, animal clinics, sanctuaries, kennels, research labs, farms, aquariums, zoos, and other facilities. Although some vet techs work regular business hours, due to the nature of providing animal healthcare, some may be asked to work weekends, evenings, or holidays according to the needs of patients.
The Michigan Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT)—a professional organization for vet techs in MI—offers a wealth of services, such as a quarterly newsletter, access to continuing education, networking opportunities, mock exams for licensing, and scholarships. MAVT also maintains an active job post page with openings at places such as Animal Emergency Hospital and the Schultz Veterinary Clinic.
Additionally, the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) provides a continually updated list of job openings at facilities such as Michigan Medicine, Lakeview Animal Hospital, River Rock Animal Hospital, and Northside Veterinary Hospital.
Vet Tech Salaries in Michigan – How Much Do Vet Techs Make?
So how much do veterinary technicians typically earn annually across the country, and how do these figures compare with Michigan’s? The BLS (May 2021) found that the average annual salary for the 3,230 vet techs working in Michigan is actually slightly higher than the national average. Here is a more granular look at the salary percentiles among veterinary technicians in MI versus the US as a whole (BLS May 2021). This is the latest data available as of August 2022:
|Number of vet techs employed||118,670||3,230|
|Average annual salary||$38,250||$38,540|
|50th percentile (median)||$36,850||$37,440|
It’s important to note that these figures also varied based on the source of data. For illustration, Indeed (October 2022) found an average annual salary of $33,809 among MI veterinary technicians, and Payscale—a data aggregator of self-reported salaries in common occupations—found the following percentiles nationally:
- 10th percentile: $29,000
- 50th percentile (median): $38,920
- 90th percentile: $55,000
When considering earning potential, the cost of living is a key piece of the puzzle. Vet Techs in MI fared slightly better than people in this industry nationwide. This salary point is particularly interesting because Michigan is one of the cheaper states to live in across the country. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2022) found that MI was the 10th most affordable state, with below-average costs for everything. This is something to keep in mind when evaluating the salary data within this region.
Vet Tech Schools in Michigan With Degree Programs
Although application requirements vary for vet tech programs in MI, admissions committees generally call for official high school transcripts with proof of specific coursework (e.g., biology, chemistry, algebra, English); test scores (SAT or ACT, and TOEFL for non-native speakers of English); a background check; proof of immunizations and health insurance; and an application fee. At this stage, it also may be advisable to pursue volunteer or internship work at an animal healthcare facility as more competitive vet tech programs prefer candidates with some experience.
As of October 2022, there are six campus-based vet tech programs in Michigan accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) main accrediting body for vet tech programs—four of which are offered through Baker College.
These programs all have outstanding first-time pass rates on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which indicates the program’s quality. For more information on accreditation, please visit the section below.
Baker College has four campuses in Michigan with CVTEA-accredited associate of applied science (AAS) programs in veterinary technology. With specialized instruction to prepare students for both the VTNE and Michigan vet tech licensing exam, Baker’s curriculum includes 63 credits of coursework and labs. In addition, students complete a capstone/board review and a 240-hour internship.
Courses in this program include microbiology; anatomy and physiology for veterinary technology; laboratory and exotic animal procedures and nursing; large animal procedures and nursing; veterinary diagnostic imaging; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary pathology; advanced veterinary surgical procedures and nursing; and more, as well as general education requirements.
Of those who take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), three-year, first-time pass rates (2018-2021) are as follows for the four Baker College campuses: Cadillac (76 percent); Jackson (100 percent); Muskegon (85.7 percent), and Owosso (not available; received AVMA accreditation in 2022).
- Location: Cadillac, MI; Jackson, MI; Muskegon, MI; Owosso, MI
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Expected Time to Completion: Two years
- Estimated Tuition: $435 per credit
Macomb Community College of Warren provides a full-time, CVTEA-approved associate of applied science (AAS) in veterinary technology. This 64-credit program includes courses such as vertebrate anatomy & physiology; veterinary microbiology; veterinary parasitology; veterinary pharmacology; veterinary imaging; veterinary clinical methods; large animal medicine & management; laboratory animals and exotics; veterinary anesthesia & surgery; and more. Many of the courses include lecture and lab components.
Prerequisites include general ed courses and math, chemistry, and psychology courses. Students also complete a capstone course and an internship. Macomb reports an impressive 80.65 percent passing rate on the VTNE between 2018 and 2021.
- Location: Brockton, MA
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Expected Time to Completion: Two years
- Estimated Tuition: In-state ($24 per credit); out-of-state ($230 per credit)
Michigan State University (MSU) offers a CVTEA-accredited bachelor’s of science (BS) program in veterinary technology. This 120-credit, four-year program includes general education requirements and courses in veterinary technology such as comparative anatomy for veterinary nurses; hospital procedures and communication; applied biochemistry and nutrients for veterinary nurses; small animal nursing; radiology; preventive health care for veterinary nurses; surgical nursing and anesthesia management lab; and more. Students then complete 15 credits of clinical clerkship electives in areas such as dermatology, ophthalmology, food animal medicine, oncology, and large animal anesthesia.
Please note that a minimum of 80 verifiable hours of veterinary experience is required to apply to the BS program. Additionally, MSU provides a five-semester certificate of completion option in veterinary technology for applicants who wish to earn an associate’s in applied science with a certificate of completion. The College also has a partnership with Lansing Community College to offer students an opportunity to complete an associate’s degree if they wish to do so after completing their certificate of completion.
Notably, between 2018 and 2021, an astonishing 98.22 percent of MSU’s graduates passed the VTNE on their first attempt.
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Accreditation: AVMA-CVTEA; Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Expected Time to Completion: Four years
- Estimated Tuition: Resident ($506.50 per credit); non-resident ($1,392.50 per credit)
Some aspiring vet techs—particularly those living in rural regions of MI—may find it difficult to attend on-campus classes. Others may have familial or other types of time commitments that necessitate some flexibility in scheduling.
For these students, there are currently several CVTEA-accredited, distance-based programs. These typically involve completing web-based coursework in conjunction with approved local internships in veterinary settings.
For instance, the prestigious Purdue University based in Indiana hosts a veterinary nursing distance learning program. Students learn through a rigorous combination of 18 clinical mentorships and 27 targeted courses such as anatomy, physiology, lab animal health, principles of anesthesia, and imaging. From 2019 to 2022, 92.1 percent of Purdue’s distance-based students passed the VTNE on their first try, while 84.9 percent of the campus-based students passed on their first try.
For more information on distance-based programs in veterinary technology, please visit the online veterinary technician programs page.
Licensing for Vet Techs in Michigan
As mentioned above, prospective vet techs in MI must apply for state licensure through the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine. Michigan’s Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs (LARA) reports that to qualify for state licensure, a candidate must submit official transcripts from a veterinary technology program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)—a branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)—as well as pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), pay an application fee, complete a criminal background check, and take the Michigan Veterinary Technician Examination.
Initially, the Michigan vet tech license must be renewed within the first four months to one year. Thereafter it must be renewed every two years.
Finally, Michigan State University (MSU) offers a list of test-prep and professional resources to aspiring vet techs:
- Diagnostic Imaging for Veterinary Technicians
- Diagnostic Parasitology for Veterinary Technicians
- Essential Calculations for Veterinary Nurses and Technicians
- Laboratory Procedures for Veterinary Technicians
- Lavin’s Radiography for Veterinary Technicians
- McCurnin’s Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians
Vet Tech Program Accreditation
As mentioned above, to qualify for licensure as a vet tech in Michigan, a candidate must graduate from a program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the program approval agency created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
This programmatic accreditation institution evaluates several factors in its process such as program finances, admissions procedures, program curricula, quality of facilities and equipment, student outcomes, and other relevant variables.
For a full description of how vet tech programs are evaluated, please visit the CVTEA webpage.