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

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.



Program Costs

Veterinary Technician 

Program Entry Semester: Summer


Credits: 10 10
Tuition: $1,860 $1,860
Fees: $185 $185
Books: $200 $200


Year One

Credits: 17 18 35
Tuition: $3,162 $3,348 $6,510
Fees: $50 $200 $250
Books: $250 $500 $750



Credits: 4 4
Tuition: $744 $744
Fees: $50 $50


Year Two

Credits: 18 14 32
Tuition: $3,348 $2,604 $5,952
Fees: $110 $130 $240
Books: $400 $300 $700




Costs provided are estimated and based on in-state tuition rates. Book cost estimates are for new books. Individual expenses may vary. These costs also do not factor in potential financial aid benefits. For a complete view of your specific cost expectation, visit our Cost Estimator Tool.
Included fees: Technology Fee, Lab Course Fee, and Ancillary Expenses (Uniforms, and Miscellaneous). Additional lab fees may apply to certain elective or technical courses. Optional: Stethoscope and Rabies Vaccination; cost varies.
Current Tuition Rates per Credit Hour: $ 186 In-State; $ 249 Out-of-State; $ 372 International
Updated: 6/1/2021

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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, 2018 - June 30, 2021
Number of first-time candidates who have taken the VTNE  53
Three-year VTNE pass percentage 77%


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

Iryna Bezverkha

“I could talk about my experience at Kirkwood for hours! Professors are top notch – they are there for you and truly want to see you succeed.”

Iryna Bezverkha,
Coralville, Iowa

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

All students applying for admission into the Veterinary Technician programs will be required to take the HESI entrance exam. Please read the information below carefully.

All students are required to attend a program conference for the Veterinary Technician program. Students must pre-register by going to the Veterinary Technician page on the Kirkwood Community College website and clicking on the program conference tab.

Once a student attends a program conference, a student list will be provided to the Kirkwood Bookstore within three business days of attending a program conference. After the third business day, the student will be able to go to the Kirkwood Bookstore (1st floor, Benton Hall) to purchase access to the HESI entrance exam. The cost of the exam is $48 (price is subject to change). Cash and debit/credit card payments are accepted.

Once the HESI exam has been purchased, the student should schedule a time to take the exam at the Test Center on Cedar Rapids Main Campus. The link to schedule a time to take the exam is The exam is offered on Monday and Thursday mornings. Keep your bookstore receipt and take it with you on the day of the exam. Proof of payment (receipt) will be required in order to take the exam. Students must also create an account through Elsevier ( and bring the log-in information with them on the day of the exam.

On the day of the scheduled exam, students must bring a valid (not expired) photo I.D., such as a driver’s license or passport for to verify identification. In addition, to a valid photo I.D., proof of payment (bookstore receipt) and Elsevier user name and password will be required for testing. Students will be allowed four hours to complete the entrance exam and will receive their results immediately upon completion. Students are allowed two attempts at the exam.

Students must meet with an advisor to go over their exam results, whether the required scores were met or not. Students should contact Ashley Moeller at or Holly Feldmann at to schedule a time to discuss results. Ashley and Holly are both located in Washington Hall. The advisor will work with the student to determine their next steps.


The exam is divided into the following sections:

Grammar 75
Reading 75
Vocabulary 75
Biology 72
Chemistry 70
Math 72



**Admission requirements must be met by April 1st of each year for the Veterinary Technician program. Completion of admission requirements does not guarantee admission into the program. The program admits 24 students and is determined on a first-come, first serve basis.


It is highly suggested that students prepare for this entrance exam, in advance. HESI Admission Assessment Exam Review workbook (ISBN: 9780323582261) is strongly encouraged to be used as a study material. This book is available on Amazon and through Elsevier.

Students can also access Brainfuse through the State Library of Iowa. → Brainfuse Test Preparation → Nursing School Exams → HESI Practice Tests.


Agricultural Sciences
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