Veterinary Technician

Get acquainted with all areas of animal patient care through the Veterinary Technician program at Iowa Lakes. You will earn an Associate in Applied Science degree and develop the skills needed to assist doctors of veterinary medicine in a range of ways. Veterinary technicians need in-depth training and practical experience to best care for and handle animals. Additionally, they need to be able to help their clients understand the care their animal is receiving. Through our program’s coursework, you will gain hands-on experience with lab tests, radiology procedures and surgical assisting through our animal clinic observations classes and internship opportunities.

Our program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. You’ll be equipped with the training and skills needed to pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and the Iowa Veterinary Technician State Exam.

Program Acceptance Requirements

1. Complete an application for admission to Iowa Lakes Community College.

2. Satisfy the assessment requirement:  take a placement test and meet minimum Reading, Writing, and Math score requirements:

  • ACCUPLACER Next Generation Writing Skills Score of 250 or higher
  • ACCUPLACER Next Generation Reading Score of 245 or higher
  • ACCUPLACER Next Generation Algebra (QAS) Score of 250 or higher
  • ACCUPLACER Sentence Skills Score of 60 or higher
  • ACCUPLACER Reading Score of 70 or higher
  • ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra Score of 60 or higher
  • ACT English Score of 17 or higher
  • ACT Reading Score of 16 or higher
  • ACT Math Score of 19 or higher

3. High School Grades

  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • GED of 550 or higher or HiSet of 45 or highter

4. College Grades

  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher

5. Submit all official transcripts (high school and college).

6. Complete the following pre-requisite courses with a grade of “C” or better:

  • Introductory Biology or higher (or one year high school biology)
  • Introduction to General Chemistry or higher (or one year high school chemistry)

7. The College Admissions Office will determine the 24 students who will receive an invitation for the program orientation, and registration. At the time the College formally processes your admission application, you will receive additional information regarding all requirements for this program.

8. Program Conference: Applicants as determined by assessment scores and admission dates will be invited to a program orientation with the Veterinary Technician Coordinator.

VTNE Pass Rates

The VTNE pass rates for the previous three years has been as follows:

  • Number of First time test candidates from July 2020 – June 30, 2023 = 23
  • Three year pass percentage from July 2020 – June 30, 2023 = 43.48%

Iowa Lakes Community College is fully accredited, however due to the current rolling average pass percentage rate of 43.48%, the program has been placed on probationary accreditation. The graduates of this program are graduates of an accredited program. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technical Education and Activities (CVTEA) has a three-year rolling average Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) pass percentage for first time test takers benchmark set for 50% or higher.

New Immunization REQUIREMENT
In accordance with American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Committee On Veterinary Technician Education And Activities (CVTEA)® Accreditation Standard 4e, Immunization for Rabies will now be REQUIRED to attend the Iowa Lakes Community College Veterinary Technician Program. We will follow the CDC guidelines for pre-exposure vaccination. The full two-dose pre-exposure series must be attained before starting the program your freshman year.

Faculty Contact

Dr. Thomas Beall
Veterinary Technician Program Coordinator & Assistant Professor
712-852-5332 |

Program Details


DEGREE: Associate in Applied Science (77 credits)

CAMPUS: Emmetsburg

Clinical Assignments & Preceptorship

Did You Know?

Starting Salary: $26,768 | Average Salary: $35,502

Projected Employment Growth: 2.6%

Accreditation: American Veterinary Medical Association

Last Dollar Scholarship Program


Term 1

Credits: 3

This course introduces the basics of animal identification, hus­bandry, behavior, safety and healthcare. Career opportunities in animal related fields are explored. The student will also complete the American Red Cross Animal First Aid and CPR certification.

Credits: 4

This course provides instruction in anatomy and physiology of domestic animals. The course focus is on skeletal, musculature, renal, ophthalmic, cardiac and respiratory systems. Lab activi­ties focus on skeletal identification and dissection of related body systems of domestic animals.

Credits: 2

Introduction to word parts, directional terminology, and analysis of common veterinary terms.

Credits: 3

Includes an overview of veterinary practice management and office procedures, with basic filing, record keeping, telephone etiquette, cash drawer management, and the economics of veterinary practice. Instruction on the use of veterinary practice management computer software is provided.

Credits: 2

Preparation for and observation at a veterinary practice to focus on small animals, including cats, dogs and other species as avail­able.

Credits: 1

Dosage Calculations emphasizes the basic math skills and dos­age calculations required of Veterinary Technicians .Includes pharmaceutical mathematics with an emphasis on dosage calculations and fluid therapy as related to veterinary medicine.

Credits: 3

The fundamentals course develops the basic skills involved in a variety of communication situations, including oral presentations and interpersonal speaking.  Emphasis is placed on organization, audience analysis, vocal and physical delivery, listening, nonverbal communication, critical thinking, and methods of dealing with communication apprehension through class discussion and activities.

Term 2

Credits: 4

This course provides instruction in anatomy and physiology of domestic animals. The course focus is on digestive, nervous and sensory, endocrine and urinary systems. Lab activities focus on structure identification and dissection of related body systems of domestic animals.

Credits: 3

Animal Nutrition provides instruction regarding essential nutrients and the role of each in an animal’s metabolism. Topics include ba­sic clinical and therapeutic nutrition, pet food analysis, nutritional deficiencies, and toxins. Emphasis is on dogs and cats with an introduction to large anima

Credits: 3

The first of three courses to introduce and practice the fundamen­tals of animal nursing. Includes animal handling and restraint, patient admission and history, preparation and administration of vaccines and medications, care of hospitalized patients, introduc­tion to radiology, practice management, client relations and sanitation. Limited to Vet Tech students

Credits: 3

Introduction to veterinary clinical pathology with an emphasis on laboratory procedures commonly performed in private practice. Fecal analysis, basic urinalysis and basic hematology are covered. Proper care and maintenance of laboratory equipment is stressed.

Credits: 2

Preparation for and observation at a veterinary practice to focus on large animals, including cattle, horses, sheep and swine.

Credits: 3

This is a general survey course which includes sets; number systems; elementary algebra; exponents; equations and inequalities; fractions; ratios; proportion and variation; probability and statistics; elementary graphing; consumer mathematics; and an introduction to geometry.

Prerequisites: Appropriate placement score or MAT 054 – Math Strategies

Term 3

Credits: 3

Students are given the opportunity to apply human relations concepts and evaluate experience and observations. Social skills required in various occupational settings will be developed, emphasizing how appropriate personal attitudes lead to social and business success.

Credits: 4

This course requires an employment experience at a veterinary practice or clinic of at least 320 contact hours. A training sponsor at the employment site will provide supervision, in cooperation with the college instructor. Students will gain hands-on experi­ence and demonstrate knowledge and skills developed in the classroom.

Term 4

Credits: 1

Preparation of the farm management student for entry into the non-family farm job market.

Credits: 3

Discusses moral, ethical and legal principles applicable to vet­erinarians and their employees, breeders, kennel operators, pet groomers and other allied to the small animal industry. Considers state, local and federal regulations relating to the industry. Effective client relations and telephone courtesy skills are also stressed.

Credits: 3

This course is a continuation of Animal Nursing I. Covers foundation material in pre- and post-surgical care, surgical assisting, fluid therapy, dental prophylaxis, anesthesiology, and basic nursing skills. Clinic and hospital record keeping are covered with an introduction to practical radiology.

Prerequisites: AGV 161 – Animal Nursing I

Credits: 3

Basic clinical pathology laboratory procedures including speci­men collection and preservation, hematology, and fecal exam preparation. Hematology will include preparation and performance of PCV, Hb, WBC, RBC counts, preparation and staining blood smears, and performance of differential cell counts. Limited to Vet Tech students.

Prerequisites: AGV 167 – Veterinary Clinic Pathology I

Credits: 3

This course involves the study of pharmacology, application of an­esthetic agents, the physiological effects and means of monitoring them, principles and administration of inhalant anesthetics, and a broad overview of anesthetic protocol and care. Emphasis will be on anesthetic practical skills and anesthesia equipment.

Prerequisites: AGV 161 – Animal Nursing I and AGV 167 – Veterinary Clinic Pathology I

Credits: 3

Emphasis on expository and argumentative writings including a review of usage and mechanics.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory score on the ACT, Accuplacer, ASSET,COMPASS as determined by Iowa Lakes policy

Term 5

Credits: 3

This course covers the study of drugs and other pharmaceuticals used in veterinary medicine. Emphasis will be on drug usage, client education, calculations, measurement, administration, in­ventory, and storage. This course will give a detailed outline of the technician’s role and responsibility in the pharmacy.

Credits: 4

This course is a continuation of Animal Nursing II. Emphasis is on radiology, dentistry, emergency care, record keeping, anesthesiology and surgical assistance.

Prerequisites: AGV 162 – Animal Nursing II

Credits: 3

This course re-introduces the student to computer software com­monly used in veterinary practice. Students will become proficient in the use of Microsoft Office software and software used in the routine management of veterinary records.

Prerequisites: AGV 150 – Office Procedures for Veterinary Technicians

Credits: 4

Refinement of hematology and other skills acquired in Veterinary Clinical Pathology II. Additional units include urinalysis, electro­cardiography, necropsy, cytology, parasitology and specialized clinical procedures.

Prerequisites: AGV 168 – Veterinary Clinic Pathology II

Credits: 1

This course will help students review material from the Veterinary Technician Program and prepare to take the Veterinary Techni­cian National Exam. Emphasis will be placed on the domains of the VTNE.VTNE sample questions will be utilized for student practice.

Prerequisites: AGV 168 – Veterinary Clinic Pathology II, AGV 162 – Animal Nursing II

† indicates a course that fulfills the diversity requirement. This course may also fulfill another general AA requirement.

Licensure and Certification Disclosure Requirements by State: 

  1. Graduation from Iowa Lakes Community College qualifies students to sit for the VTNE (Vet Tech National Exam) which is required to work in all 50 states.

The Veterinary Technician program is accredited by the AVMA Center for Veterinary Medical Accreditation.