Veterinary Technician - California

In Demand

Online Vet Tech School in California

If you’re passionate about helping animals and are looking for a rewarding career, becoming a registered vet tech in California could be the right move for you! With Penn Foster’s online Veterinary Technician Associate Degree, you can take the first steps toward becoming an RVT on your schedule – from home.

  • Penn Foster's online Vet Tech Program is fully accredited through AVMA-CVTEA
  • Prepares you to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
  • Prepares you to meet the requirements to be a veterinary technician in California
  • Requirements to become a vet tech in California include graduating from an AVMA-accredited veterinary technician program, a federal background check, and passing the VTNE.
Self Paced

Save up to $400 Ends 5/29/2024

First Semester


$1,999 Save $400


$69/month, Start for as low as $20

1-800-471-3232 (10AM - 6:30PM ET)

What You Will Learn

  1. How to prepare to sit for the VTNE exam by studying animal healthcare, animal anatomy and physiology, veterinary practice management, veterinary pharmacology, and more. View test scores for Penn Foster's Vet Tech students.
  2. How to recognize an animals’ integumentary, urinary, and endocrine systems using engaging visual learning aids and interactive assessments.
  3. How to care for large and small animals, small and large animal medicine, animal nutrition, laboratory animal medicine, and more.
  4. How to be a part of a working veterinary team and apply knowledge and skills in a mixed-animal practice.
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Career Outcomes for California Vet Techs

Veterinary Technician in Fresno



SALARY (<1 year)**


SALARY (5-6 years)**


Veterinary Technician in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim



SALARY (<1 year)**


SALARY (5-6 years)**


Veterinary Technician in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario



SALARY (<1 year)**


SALARY (5-6 years)**


Veterinary Technician in Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade



SALARY (<1 year)**


SALARY (5-6 years)**


San Diego-Carlsbad



SALARY (<1 year)**


SALARY (5-6 years)**


San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward



SALARY (<1 year)**


SALARY (5-6 years)**


San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara



SALARY (<1 year)**


SALARY (5-6 years)**


Penn Foster’s Veterinary Technician Degree Program is designed with career readiness in mind. Our expert faculty, interactive curriculum, and required hands-on externship experience make for an engaging online learning experience that will help prepare you for an in-demand career. According to national averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for veterinary technicians in California is expected to grow 21% through 2031.*

State Licensing Requirements

Licensing requirements for Registered Veterinary Technicians vary greatly from state to state throughout the United States and may contain specific educational course approvals. You should contact your state's appropriate licensing bureau for the current requirements, or your state legislature for pending legislation. See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

How to Become a Registered Veterinary Technician in California

To become a registered veterinary technician in California, you need to follow a few steps.

  1. Graduate from an accredited vet tech school. In order to get a job as a vet tech in California, you first need to earn a degree from an AVMA-accredited college.
  2. Pass the VTNE. Passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) is a requirement to becoming an RVT. Once you sit for and pass the exam, you’ll receive a letter confirming you successfully completed the exam. You’ll need this letter for verification when applying for registration in California.
  3. Complete a federal background check. You’ll need to pass a federal background check to be eligible for employment as a vet tech in the state of California.
  4. Pay the application and initial license fee to the California Veterinary Medical Board. The application fee is $225 and the initial license fee is $225.

quote icon

Megan Chadwick, CVT

Academic Director, Veterinary Academy at Penn Foster

“Getting certified/licensed/registered as a vet tech in California is important because it allows you to be able to have the designation of veterinary technician or registered veterinary technician. Veterinary Technician is a protected title.”

Vet Tech Program Curriculum Details

  • 4 semesters
  • 30 exams
  • 73 credits
  • 2 externships

Estimated completion time per semester:

  • Fast track = 9 months
  • Average time = 13 months

With Penn Foster, you can learn at whatever pace works best for you. Some learners will be more comfortable moving faster, and dedicating more time, and the fast track estimate will apply to them. The average track will apply to most learners who can dedicate a few hours per week to completing their coursework. The estimated completion times per semester are based on completion times for learners enrolled in this program from November 2020 - October 2021, excluding withdrawals.

Through Penn Foster’s online Veterinary Technician Degree, you’ll learn the skills and knowledge that can help you take the first steps toward a successful career in veterinary medicine. Your online classes include:

  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Pharmacology for Veterinary Technicians
  • Surgical Nursing for Veterinary Technicians
  • Small and Large Animal Medicine
  • Laboratory Animal Medicine and Nursing

Show Full Curriculum
veterinary technician with a dog.

Work Alongside California Veterinarians

You’ll gain hands-on experience working with licensed California veterinarians in your two required externships. You'll complete the externships at a clinic or animal hospital near you.

Vet Tech Student Success Stories

Penn Foster’s online Vet Tech Program has helped recent graduates in California, and across the country, prepare for new careers in the veterinary field. Learn more about our vet tech students' experiences and how Penn Foster worked for them.
View Student Success Stories
quote icon

Tammy C.

Veterinary Technician Graduate

"Without Penn Foster I would more than likely still be working in retail. Penn Foster gave me the courage and direction to finally work in the field I had wanted."

Looking for veterinary technician training for your workers?

Penn Foster currently works with hundreds of leading employers to meet their unique organizational needs.
Banfield Animal Hospital, VCA Animal Hospitals, NVA, BluePearl, SVP logos.
Learn More

Veterinary Technician Associate Degree Tuition

Take the first step toward your new veterinary technician career by enrolling in Penn Foster's online Vet Tech Program. Simply choose from one of our customized payment plans below and get started today!

Option 1: Pay semester in full

Save up to $400 Ends 5/29/2024

First Semester


$1,999 Save $400

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

First Semester


  • Pay $69 per month
  • Start for $20 down
  • All major credit and debit cards accepted
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

First semester


  • Pay $69 per month
  • Start for $49 down
  • Mail your payments
Enroll Now

California residents please click here for Required California Disclosures.

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-471-3232 (10AM - 6:30PM ET)

Request Info

Our Proven Vet Tech Learning Model

Empowering Penn Foster students to reach their professional goals.


  • No set start date
  • No exam due dates
  • Payment Plans


  • Engaging digital study guides
  • Easy to use digital textbooks
  • Practical exercises


  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Engaging online student community
  • Connect with peers in real-time through discussion boards


  • Unlimited access to expert instructors
  • Robust learning resources
  • Dedicated student services team

Online Vet Tech School in California FAQs

How long does it take to become a vet tech in California?

It can take anywhere from 2-5 years to become a vet tech in California. California vet techs need to be registered with the California Veterinary Medical Board to work in the state. In order to be eligible for registration, they need to graduate from an AVMA-accredited vet tech school and pass the VTNE. The formal education component can take a minimum of 2 years to complete, though some students may take more or less time depending on their school and learning speed.

How do I become a licensed vet tech in California?

In California, veterinary technicians are “registered,” not licensed, though the terms mean the same thing. To become registered as a vet tech in California, you must graduate from a recognized school, pass the VTNE, and apply for registration through the California Veterinary Medical Board.

Is a vet tech degree worth it?

If you want to be a veterinary technician in California, a vet tech degree is absolutely worth it! You can’t work in the field without being registered and, in order to be an RVT, you need to graduate from an AVMA-accredited veterinary technician school.

Do you need a degree to be a vet tech in California?

Yes, to be a vet tech in California, you need a degree. Generally, that means an AVMA-accredited vet technician degree, though an alternate route to becoming an RVT can include relevant work experience and proof of completion of some veterinary medicine courses. However, this route is generally best for those who already work in the field. Those new to being a vet tech are likely to have more success in becoming registered if they complete their degree first. 

Do California vet techs have to take the VTNE?

Yes. In California, you must be registered in order to work as a veterinary technician. To become registered, you must graduate from an AVMA-accredited school and pass the VTNE. 

What is the vet tech salary in California?

On average, California vet techs earn between $36,130 and $55,110 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, depending on where they live, their experience, and their employer. Vet techs in the San Jose area earn the most, followed by San Francisco, Sacrament, and San Diego veterinary technicians.

How much do vet techs make hourly in California?

The hourly pay for vet techs in California can vary based on a few factors, including where you live and your work experience. For example, a veterinary technician in Los Angeles may make an average of $24.94 per hour while vet techs in San Diego earn $23.03 per hour.

What is the highest paying vet tech job?

The highest paying vet tech jobs are usually those that are specialized roles that require higher education and more experience. Emergency and critical care veterinary technicians, for example, can make as much as $77,000 per year.

What is the highest degree a vet tech can get?

The highest degree for a vet tech is a Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. However, veterinary technicians can pursue other degrees in order to advance their careers in the field, from business to healthcare administration.