Program Spotlight: Veterinary Technician

Resident veterinarian Dr. Christy Hutchins and transfer student Bethany Einer

The Veterinary Technician program at DCTC is academically rigorous. You must be a highly motivated individual with better than average ability to master a significant course load of scientific and medical material in a relatively short time. Experience with animals and an understanding of the field of veterinary medicine is ideal. As an applicant to the program, you are strongly encouraged to spend at least one week observing or working in a veterinary clinic with a veterinary technician.

A veterinary technician is a key component of the animal healthcare team. Veterinary technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing injuries and illnesses of animals. Vet techs are able to perform vital tasks, including:

  • Evaluating an animal’s condition
  • Collecting and evaluating biological samples
  • Educating clients on nutrition and behavior
  • Administering and monitoring anesthesia
The Veterinary Technician program prepares you for a career caring for animals in vet clinics, animal research or wildlife rescue.

Learn more…

Faculty Spotlight: Christy Hutchins, DVM

Christy Hutchins, DVM

Christy Hutchins, DVM

Christy Hutchins, DVM, is the resident veterinarian for the Veterinary Technician program, at Dakota County Technical College. Dr. Hutchins started teaching at DCTC in January 2018, and has been working in the veterinary industry since 2004. Although her focus is primarily small animal medicine, she has worked with all types of animals from hamsters to horses.

Dr. Hutchins graduated from the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical College in 2010 and has worked at several small animal clinics around the greater Twin Cities metro area. She worked as the resident veterinarian and taught in the veterinary technology program at Minnesota School of Business for three years until the school closed. She found teaching to be extremely rewarding and was excited for the opportunity to teach again at a great school like DCTC.

Dr. Hutchins resides in Roseville, Minnesota with her cat Evie and a tankful of “fancy” guppies. In her free time, she likes to stay active and enjoys kayaking, rock climbing, swimming. She has been doing obstacle course training at a local gym inspired by the show American Ninja Warrior.

“Not all DVMs understand the extent of what a certified veterinary technician is taught and is able to do. I had no idea how comprehensive the veterinary technology degree is until I started teaching. At that point, I realized just how much I had been under-utilizing my support staff when I was in clinical practice.”
Christy Hutchins, DVM, Resident Veterinarian
Veterinary Technician Program
Dakota County Technical College

Christy Hutchins, DVM Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that learning should be fun and have obvious real world application. If I can’t give an example or a specific reason as to when, why, or how they will use the information in the future, they are less likely to commit the information to memory.

What do you love best about teaching?
Seeing and being part of student successes and student improvements is my favorite part about teaching. When you’ve worked with a student who has difficulty with a particular skill, or is scared to do something, e.g., drawing blood or doing math, and that student comes to you after months of work excited to show you the math test that he/she aced or to tell you that he/she was able to get blood from a patient on the first try, it is wonderful to know that you were a part of that success.

Three words that describe you as a veterinarian:

What is one thing every veterinary technician should know?
Not all DVMs understand the extent of what a certified veterinary technician is taught and is able to do. I had no idea how comprehensive the veterinary technology degree is until I started teaching. At that point, I realized just how much I had been under-utilizing my support staff when I was in clinical practice. Many technicians are undervalued due to the lack of understanding about the degree. You need to advocate for your skills.

What is your greatest strength as a veterinarian?
Prior to going to school to become a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), I worked in clinics as an uncertified technician. I had no formal school training, I was just trained on the job. Because I worked in this position for several years, I feel it has given be a better appreciation for two aspects of a certified veterinary technician’s job. 1) I know how hard they work and how much they do behind the scenes (and I didn’t even do all of it because I didn’t have the certification) and 2) I recognize just how much I did NOT know as an uncertified technician and how valuable a certified veterinary technician is for a clinic.

Of all the types of animals you’ve treated, large and small, which one has altered your opinion most over the years?
I would have to say rats. For a long time, I preferred the “cute” rodents like hamsters and pretty much had the average person’s viewpoint on rats—“Eeww. It’s a rat.” Plus, the hairless tails creeped me out a bit. Once I started working with them more, I realized that rats are actually amazing little animals. They have fantastic personalities and can be trained to respond to commands or even do cute little tricks. They are like really tiny, much less yappy dogs. Knowing what I know now, I would recommend a rat over a hamster as a first pet for a kid.

Vet Tech gallery

Transfer Student Spotlight: Bethany Einer

Bethany Einer

Bethany Einer

Bethany Einer, 25, only needed to complete her internship to graduate from the Veterinary Technology program at Argosy University Twin Cities when the nationwide for-profit system abruptly closed down.

With help from Nicole Nieman, CVT, the director of the Veterinary Technician program at Dakota County Technical College, Bethany will be able to complete her vet-tech internship in fall 2019 and graduate from DCTC with her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree.

“I feel fortunate to have the chance to complete my degree,” Bethany said. “Nicole worked out the process of transferring my credits from Argosy. She has really made transitioning to a new school much less stressful.”

A 2012 graduate of Montello High School in Montello, Wisconsin, her hometown, Bethany earned a Bachelor of Computer Science (B.C.E.) in Game Development from Herzing University. Finding a job in the videogame field that didn’t require relocating to the West Coast proved problematic. She went back to college to become a veterinary technician because she loves animals and wanted a job she would be happy doing for the rest of her life.

“My plan is to work in an animal emergency clinic or animal shelter,” Bethany said. “Eventually, I would like to provide aid to animals injured during a natural disaster.”

Bethany works as a veterinary technician assistant at South Metro Animal Emergency Care in Apple Valley, Minnesota. SMAEC is the likely location for her Veterinary Technician internship, which is an off-campus learning experience at a veterinary facility. Bethany will be involved in the day-to-day work of her internship location, including restraint and handling of animals, office procedures, clinical laboratory techniques, radiography, pharmacology, and surgical preparation and monitoring.

More about Bethany…

Bethany’s mom takes care of disabled people in her home. Bethany’s sister, Jesse, 23, is studying to be a chef. Most of Bethany’s family resides in Wisconsin.

Bethany has three pets, a medium-sized (35 pounds), mixed-breed, 3-year-old dog called Jabba the Pup, a domestic shorthair cat called Marshmallow, 6, and a domestic longhair cat called Lucifer, 3.

When she’s not working or going to school, Bethany enjoys traveling and playing videogames. Some of favorite games include the Final Fantasy and Resident Evil franchises as well as Dead by Daylight, a survival horror game. Bethany resides in Woodbury, Minnesota.

Bethany Einer Q & A

What do you like best about studying veterinary technology?
Getting to know my classmates and hearing their work stories about our field.

What is the most challenging part of studying veterinary technology?
Getting down to the nitty-gritty of things and remembering the important details and techniques.

Would you rather work for a large animal or small animal veterinary practice?
Small animal—some of the larger animals scare me.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What is your favorite breed of dog?

What is your favorite breed of cat?
Sphynx and munchkins

What is your favorite domestic pet?

Bethany Einer 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Swimming
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Tokyo
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Foreign exchange student for one year in Tasmania, an island state of Australia
  4. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “We’ll carry on.”
  5. Favorite all-time TV show: Scrubs
  6. Favorite all-time movie: Emperor’s New Groove
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Do as much traveling as I can.
  8. Your national bird if you could have one: Raven
  9. Dream occupation: Helping aid injured animals from natural disasters.
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Dead: Freddy Mercury; Alive: Jennifer Lawrence
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Learning foreign languages, including ASL, so I can talk to more people
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Too much hate and not enough kindness
Learn more about the Veterinary Technician program at DCTC by contacting:

Nicole Nieman
Vet Tech Program Director

Christy Hutchins
Vet Tech Resident Veterinarian

Leslie Epstein
Vet Tech Instructor

Meri DuRand
Vet Tech Instructor

Vet techs love animals

Dogs and cats from rescue shelters are cared for by DCTC vet tech students under the supervision of a veterinarian. Not only do the cats and dogs receive a full regimen of exemplary care, they also greatly increase their chances of getting adopted by a human family.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Perform medical tests under the supervision of a veterinarian.



Median: $17.37/hour
High: $20.10/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $17.92/hour
High: $21.20/hour


This career is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 22.3 percent, or well above statewide average. There will be a need for about 2,677 new Veterinary Technologists and Technicians to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education