Veterinary Technician

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 

School Year: 2024–2025

Program Entry Semester: Fall/Spring/Summer

Pre-Reqs Summer Fall Spring Summer Fall Spring Total
Credit Hours per Semester 0 10 17 15 7 17 17 83
In-State Tuition $0 $2,170 $3,689 $3,255 $1,519 $3,689 $3,689 $18,011
Technology Fee per Semester $0 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $300
Clinical Expenses (mileage, lodging, screenings, etc.) $0 $1,400 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $1,400
Conferences/Seminars $0 $0 $20 $0 $0 $0 $20 $40
Course Resources (textbooks, software, etc.) $0 $200 $250 $500 $0 $500 $300 $1,750
Course/Section Fees $0 $40 $60 $65 $0 $235 $265 $665
Laptop (required devices) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Testing Fees $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Third Party Credentials $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Tool Sets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Uniforms $0 $200 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $200
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Estimated Cost $4,060 $4,069 $3,870 $1,569 $4,474 $4,324 $22,366


Costs provided are estimated and based on the following current tuition rates: $217 (In-State), $290 (Out-of-State), $400 (International).

Fees and costs are subject to change. To view all costs associated with attending college visit our Tuition and Costs page.

Explore More

Veterinary Technician students are encouraged to join the Kirkwood chapter of SkillsUSA, a workforce development organization for students with nearly 400,000 members nationally. 

SkillsUSA is one of eight recognized members of the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO). CTSOs are co-curricular groups that help students in career and technical education programs further their knowledge and skills by participating in activities, events, and competitions.

What career could this lead to?

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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

As a graduate of this program, you’ll be eligible to sit for state and national licensing exams. Registered Veterinary Technicians in the state of Iowa must graduate from an AVMA accredited program, pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam, and the state of Iowa Veterinary Technician Exam. View the state guide to see the U.S. states in which this program meets the educational requirements for licensure.

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, 2020 - June 30, 2023
Number of first-time candidates who have taken the VTNE  51
Three-year VTNE pass percentage 73%


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
2023 15 15 100
2022 20 20 100
2021 11 11 100
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

Kirkwood Student Kalyn Wise

“The best thing about my Kirkwood experience so far is honestly the people. Faculty are awesome and make an effort to connect with you on a deeper level.”

Kalyn Wise,
Cedar Rapids, 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 $50 (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. You can schedule your exam here. 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 to schedule a time to discuss results. Ashley's office is 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.


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