Best Veterinary Tech Programs 2021

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Veterinary technicians assist veterinarians with medical tests, surgeries, and other routine services. While veterinarians must complete a doctorate in veterinary medicine, technicians typically earn a two-year degree or certificate in veterinary technology.

The best veterinary technology degrees are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Programs include general coursework in the life sciences, animal husbandry, and veterinary pharmacology.

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Veterinary technicians must meet the requirements for licensure in their state. Technicians also need to stay up to date with advancements in the field. The profession requires patience, since technicians engage directly with sick or injured animals. Jobs for veterinary technicians continue to grow much faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The following article provides a general overview of the field and ranks the best veterinary technology degrees.

Top 10 Veterinary Technician Schools and Programs

Rank School Location
1 Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH
2 Central New Mexico Community College Albuquerque, NM
3 Miami Dade College Miami, FL
4 Portland Community College Portland, OR
5 Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City Kansas City, MO
6 San Juan College Farmington, NM
7 Vincennes University Vincennes, IN
8 Valencia College Orlando, FL
9 Edison State Community College Piqua, OH
10 College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls, ID

FAQ


  • How long does it take to complete a veterinary technology program?

    Technicians typically earn a degree in two years. Technologists generally need four years of study to qualify for licensure.


  • Do I need a license to be a veterinary technician?

    Technicians in most states must meet AVMA’s licensure requirements. This includes specific coursework and an exam.


  • Where do veterinary technicians work?

    Technicians work in private veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, laboratories, and university research facilities.


  • What's the difference between a veterinarian and a veterinary technician?

    Veterinarians must complete a doctorate in veterinary medicine. Veterinary technicians only need a two-year degree to qualify for most jobs.


Career and Salary Outlook for Veterinary Technicians



Veterinary technicians and technologists may follow a number of career paths. Many work in private veterinary clinics or animal hospitals. Others assist researchers in private laboratories or at university research facilities. Technicians and technologists conduct tests, prepare animals for surgical procedures, and administer medication. Some specialize in areas such as dentistry, anesthesia, or zoological medicine.

Jobs for veterinary technicians continue to grow faster than average. The most recent data from the projects a 16% growth rate from 2019-2029 for veterinary technology jobs. Pay for veterinary technicians varies by location, experience, and specialty. Technicians who work in research positions tend to earn more than those in clinical positions.

Career Top 10% Median Annual Salary Bottom 10%
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians Less than $24,530 $35,320 More than $51,230

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Veterinary Technology Programs

Prospective students in veterinary technology should check the accreditation status of each school before applying. Schools should hold regional accreditation from a credible organization such as the Higher Learning Commission.

The best veterinary technology programs hold accreditation from AVMA. This organization maintains standards for veterinary professions to ensure that technicians gain the proper skills. AVMA also ensures that technicians stay current in the field through continuing education.

Veterinary Technician Certification



Although individual state regulations vary, each state requires veterinary technicians and technologists to qualify for licensure and certification. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards oversees the certification process and verifies that a candidate completed an AVMA-accredited program. Certification also guarantees that a technician possesses the relevant technical skills needed to practice their profession.

Most students also need to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) to qualify for a job in the field. The exam covers topics such as animal care and nursing, anesthesia, and laboratory procedures.

Courses in a Veterinary Technology Program



The typical course load for a veterinary technology program includes both general classes in anatomy, physiology, and chemistry, as well as specialized courses. These include classes in veterinary dentistry, pharmacology, and animal husbandry.

Learners study basic medical services, like administering anesthesia or conducting diagnostic testing. Classes teach students how to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to various medical situations. Coursework ensures that students know how to use common veterinary technologies such as X-ray machines.

The courses discussed below represent only a sample of those typically offered in veterinary technology programs.

Veterinary Pharmacology
This course typically covers the development and use of various drugs in veterinary medicine. It prepares technicians to understand the differences between and benefits of antibiotics, antiseptics, and other common veterinary drugs. The course teaches especially useful information, since technicians often maintain responsibility for administering medications in clinical settings.
Introduction to Veterinary Technology
Most veterinary technology programs offer an introductory course that surveys the field. The class frequently focuses on key terminology in veterinary medicine. Learners study basic aspects of animal reproduction, animal husbandry and behavior, and preventative care. The course also teaches students the history of the field.
Veterinary Anesthesiology
Many of the best veterinary technology degrees include a course on anesthesiology. This class provides students with an in-depth understanding of how practitioners administer anesthesia to small and large animals. The course also teaches students how to operate common anesthetic technologies.
Veterinary Dentistry
In this course, students learn the key components of veterinary dental care. They study preventative strategies and learn how to identify common dental problems. The class also prepares technicians to assist veterinarians with dental surgeries. Dentistry courses often focus primarily on small and companion animals.
Veterinary Clinical Experience
Veterinary technology programs incorporate at least one clinical experience to meet AVMA’s accreditation standards. This includes working in a research laboratory, serving as an intern at a private clinic, or practicing at an animal hospital. Clinical experiences prepare students to take on the various responsibilities of the profession. Many schools require more than one clinical experience.

Scholarships for Veterinary Technology Students

Veterinary technology students may qualify for several scholarships. Major organizations like the American Kennel Club sponsor these opportunities to provide support for students enrolled in AVMA-accredited programs. Students may seek additional scholarships from their school.

Doyle L. Shugart Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories sponsors an annual scholarship for veterinary technology students. Students in their second year of an AVMA-accredited program may apply. Applicants must submit a 250-300 word essay.
Amount: $1,000

AKC/Hartz Veterinary Technician Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The American Kennel Club and The Hartz Mountain Corporation co-sponsor this scholarship. It awards funds to students enrolled in AVMA-accredited programs. The organizations evaluate applicants based on academic achievement and extracurricular activity.
Amount: $1,000 or $2,000

Oxbow Veterinary Technology Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Oxbow Animal Health offers scholarships to veterinary technology students who show a strong interest in small or exotic animals. Students must submit a resume, one recommendation letter, and proof of enrollment at an AVMA-accredited program.
Amount: $500

ASAHP Scholarship of Excellence

Who Can Apply: The Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions (ASAHP) offers annual scholarships to students enrolled in various health professions, including veterinary medicine. Students enrolled at any ASAHP member school may apply. Students of any academic level may apply.
Amount: $1,000

Best Veterinary Tech Programs 2021



The following rankings highlight 25 of the best veterinary technology degrees.

  1. Sinclair Community College
    Location

    Dayton, OH

    Located in Dayton, Ohio, Sinclair offers an associate degree in veterinary technology. The program prepares students for careers in animal clinics, laboratories, zoos, and shelters. The 65-credit curriculum includes classes in animal anatomy and physiology, veterinary pharmacology, and large animal husbandry.

    Learners explore various career options during introductory coursework, and most students earn the degree in five semesters. Degree-seekers complete multiple clinical experiences and develop practical skills during placements in veterinary hospitals. Enrollees accumulate more than 500 hours of hands-on experience. Graduates qualify to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam. Applicants need a minimum 2.7 GPA. Candidates must submit recommendation letters, a resume, and an essay.

    Sinclair Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. Central New Mexico Community College
    Location

    Albuquerque, NM

    CNM offers an associate in veterinary technology program on its main campus in Albuquerque. The program prepares students for positions in veterinary healthcare. Most students graduate in five semesters.

    Learners begin with coursework in the life sciences to prepare for specialized classes. Students explore topics including radiology for veterinary technicians and applied therapeutics for large and exotic animals. Learners also complete a series of clinical experiences. Graduates of the veterinary technology program qualify to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam.

    Students must stay in good physical health and must feel comfortable lifting animals of up to 50 pounds. CNM maintains an articulation agreement with the University of New Mexico, simplifying the transfer process for students who want to pursue further education in veterinary medicine.

    Central New Mexico Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. Miami Dade College
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Located in Miami, Florida, MDC offers an associate in veterinary technology degree that prepares students for a variety of veterinary healthcare careers. Graduates can work in clinics, zoos, and research centers.

    The 73-credit curriculum includes coursework in veterinary pathology, lab procedures, and animal nursing skills. Students can also take specialized courses in fields such as avian and exotic pet medicine. Students in MDC's veterinary technology program complete some classes online, and they obtain more than 400 hours of clinical experience.

    Most students complete the program in about two years. Florida does not require veterinary technicians to hold licensure, but MDC graduates qualify to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam. Applicants undergo an interview process and background check.

    Miami Dade College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges.

  4. Portland Community College
    Location

    Portland, OR

    PCC offers an associate in veterinary technology degree at its Rock Creek campus. The program prepares students to work as certified veterinary technicians. Learners develop surgical, medical, laboratory, and interpersonal skills while completing coursework and clinical experiences.

    The program requires about two years of studies. Degree-seekers learn about small-animal diseases, animal nutrition, and veterinary pharmacology. Students receive clinical training in hospital settings and in wildlife preserves and zoos. PCC contains a farm, kennel, and cattery. Graduates qualify to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam.

    Applicants must submit transcripts and a recommendation letter, and they must participate in an interview. The college allows students to apply general education transfer credits toward the veterinary technology degree.

    Portland Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  5. Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City
    Location

    Kansas City, MO

    Located in Kansas City, Missouri, MCC offers an associate degree in veterinary technology and a 19-credit veterinary assistant certificate. Students take veterinary technician courses at MCC's Maple Woods campus.

    The associate-level veterinary technology program features specialized classes in equine medicine and large-animal technology. Students also take general coursework in veterinary anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. Learners obtain foundational knowledge while completing pre-veterinary coursework, which the college offers on all five of its campuses. MCC's hands-on curriculum prepares students for careers in veterinary technology and nursing.

    Most students earn the 78-credit associate in veterinary technology in seven semesters. Applicants must have completed general education requirements and must submit a resume and short essay.

    Metropolitan Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  6. San Juan College
    Location

    Farmington, NM

    Located in Farmington, New Mexico, SJC offers an online associate program in veterinary technology, along with certificates in veterinary assistantship and veterinary practice management. The school's veterinary technology programs blend online coursework with off-campus field experiences. The associate program prepares students to assist in surgical, pharmacology, and clinical procedures.

    The college offers three start dates each year, and each course lasts 12-16 weeks. Students explore topics including veterinary medical terminology, diagnostic imaging, and clinical pathology. The 76-credit associate degree usually takes six semesters to complete.

    Program graduates qualify to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam in any state. Applicants must submit transcripts and a performance standards acknowledgement, which confirms their ability to physically handle both large and small animals.

    San Juan College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. Vincennes University
    Location

    Vincennes, IN

    A public Indiana university, VU offers a certificate in pre-veterinary technology that students typically complete in one year. Graduates of the certificate program often enroll in an associate in veterinary technology program or a pre-veterinary bachelor's program. Students earning the 37-credit certificate gain foundational knowledge in veterinary healthcare.

    The curriculum includes general coursework in biology and chemistry and specialized classes such as animal agriculture. After earning the certificate in veterinary technology, graduates often work in private clinics, animal hospitals, and diagnostic laboratories. The certificate qualities holders to assist with various surgical procedures and to provide nursing care to small and large animals.

    Prospective students submit an online application and high school transcripts. The university waives the high school transcript requirement for applicants with at least 24 college credits.

    Vincennes University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commision.

  8. Valencia College
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Valencia offers an associate of science in veterinary technology in partnership with St. Petersburg College. Students take general education and core courses through Valencia and specialized veterinary technology courses from St. Petersburg College. The program includes both online and in-person classes.

    Valencia's 27-credit core curriculum includes classes in biology, chemistry, and anatomy to prepare students for advanced major coursework. Enrollees also take general education classes in fields such as history, art, and mathematics. Program graduates qualify to sit for the Florida certification exam. Students can receive up to 45 credits for industry certifications, examinations, and prior work experience. Applicants must submit official transcripts and an online application.

    Valencia College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  9. Edison State Community College
    Location

    Piqua, OH

    Located in Piqua, Ohio, Edison State delivers an associate in veterinary technology degree. The program trains students for careers in private practices, hospitals, and specialty clinics. Students typically graduate in six semesters.

    Students gain skills in all facets of animal care. They learn to assist veterinarians during surgical procedures and to administer medicine. Degree-seekers also explore specialized topics. The 65-credit program includes courses in veterinary nutrition, small animal wellness, and dentistry. Learners complete clinical experiences in several types of facilities, and graduates qualify to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam.

    Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA and must submit official transcripts and standardized test scores. Admitted students must provide evidence of health insurance and required immunizations.

    Edison State Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  10. College of Southern Idaho
    Location

    Twin Falls, ID

    Based in Twin Falls, CSI offers an associate in veterinary technology program that covers general life sciences topics and specialized subjects. Learners explore areas including veterinary pharmacology and applied radiology.

    Housed in CSI's agriculture department, the veterinary technology program involves clinical experiences that prepare students for careers in the field. Degree-seekers learn about anesthesiology, anatomy, and animal diseases. The 69-credit curriculum also requires a series of clinical courses, which feature hands-on training in standard veterinary procedures.

    Students must maintain a C average in all veterinary technology courses, and graduates qualify to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam. CSI offers credit for completed examinations, work experience, and industry certifications. Applicants must submit transcripts and take placement tests in English and mathematics.

    College of Southern Idaho is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

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