Veterinary Technician Degree
A veterinary technician degree generally takes two years to complete, allowing graduates to enter the workforce and start earning a salary sooner than students pursuing a four-year degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), veterinary technicians earn a median annual salary of $36,260. This figure falls short of the median annual salary of $41,950 for all occupations. However, vet techs can often boost their earning capacity by pursuing further studies or certification online.
Online vet tech schools prepare graduates for a growing professional arena. The BLS projects jobs for vet techs to grow 16% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average projected 4% growth rate for all occupations.
Vet Tech Questions
What is a veterinary technician degree?
Students who pursue a veterinary technician degree learn how to conduct medical tests to help diagnose animals' illnesses and injuries. Full-time learners can usually complete this associate degree in two years.
What is the difference between a veterinarian and veterinary technician?
After earning a bachelor's degree, veterinarians must complete four additional years of schooling in the veterinary field itself or a closely related science arena. Veterinary technicians generally assist veterinarians in their practice.
Do I need a license to be a veterinary technician?
Most states require veterinary technicians to be licensed or certified. Requirements vary, but most states mandate passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
Are veterinary technicians in demand?
Yes. The BLS projects jobs for vet techs to grow 16% between 2019 and 2029.
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Why Get a Vet Tech Degree?
Learners who pursue a vet tech degree can enter the workforce sooner than students who enroll in a four-year program. A vet tech degree also provides a solid foundation for a bachelor's program in veterinary medicine. Vet tech graduates can seek certification in a specific interest area, such as emergency and critical care, equine nursing, and nutrition.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a recognized and respected professional organization in the field, includes several colleges and universities in its list of institutions offering an accredited veterinary technician degree online. Distance learners often spend less on their degree than learners who attend on-campus programs since they do not incur expenses for room and board and campus resources.
Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.
Courses in a Veterinary Technician Program
On-campus and online vet tech schools usually offer two-year veterinary technician programs comprising at least 60 credits. Enrollees typically take courses in research, composition, and humanities. Most veterinary technician schools also require learners to complete an externship experience where they work in an actual practice under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
Vet tech programs typically offer coursework that prepares students to sit for the VTNE. Most states require vet techs to pass this exam before they can practice. See below for some common courses in veterinary technician programs.
Animal Anatomy and PhysiologyStudents examine the structure and function of the animal body, paying close attention to common domestic animals such as dogs and cats. The course familiarizes enrollees with the different organ systems, including the skeletal, muscular, digestive, and cardiovascular systems. Learners also study cell metabolism, tissue differentiation, and body organization.
Clinical PathologyThis course focuses on the diagnosis and prevention of disease. Students develop an in-depth understanding of the theories behind various tests they will likely use in the workplace. Enrollees explore hematological procedures for assessing blood-related irregularities, detection of immunological abnormalities, and methods of determining organ disorders.
Radiography for Veterinary TechniciansStudents learn how to position animals to obtain clear and accurate radiographs. The course covers a variety of topics, including X-ray production, ultrasound and radiation, and film types. Enrollees receive hands-on training in darkroom and developing procedures, equipment care and operation, and radiation safety.
Career and Salary Outlook for Veterinary Technicians
Several factors impact vet techs' earning potential, including their industry and location. According to the BLS, veterinary technicians earn the most working in the federal executive branch ($55,700), followed by general medical and surgical hospitals ($46,470), museums and historical sites ($45,200), and organizations offering scientific research and development services ($44,860).
Top-paying locations for veterinary technicians include the District of Columbia ($66,850), followed by Connecticut ($48,620), Nevada ($48,390), California ($47,580), and Massachusetts ($46,480).
Vet techs who go on to earn a bachelor's in the field usually earn higher salaries and enjoy lower unemployment rates. The BLS reports that bachelor's degree-holders earn a weekly median salary of $1,305 and have an unemployment rate of 5.5%, while associate-trained workers earn $938 per week and face an unemployment rate of 7.1%.
Career Salary Potential
||Median Annual Salary
|Less than $25,520
||More than $52,410
Scholarships for Vet Tech Students
Vet tech schools often support enrollees through scholarship and grant programs. They may administer these opportunities with partner organizations and companies with vested interests in the veterinary field. Learners can also explore financial assistance from private nonprofits, professional associations, and state and federal government agencies. See below for three opportunities open to vet tech students.
Scholarships for Vet Tech Students
||Who Can Apply
Doyle L. Shugart Scholarship Program
||The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories accepts applications from veterinary technician students enrolled in an AVMA-accredited program. Applicants must submit an essay on the topic in the application.
CME Beef Industry Scholarship
||Students interested in pursuing a career in the beef industry may apply. Applicants should be enrolled in or plan to enroll in a two-year or four-year school and study an area related to the beef industry, including education, communications, and veterinary technology. Previous winners may reapply. Applicants must submit a letter of intent, two recommendation letters, and a 750-word essay.
Love Your Career Scholarship
||JonesTshirts.com awards this scholarship twice annually to learners studying any subject at a U.S. college or university, including online vet tech schools. Applicants must submit proof of enrollment and an essay containing 1,000-3,000 words outlining how they plan to pursue a career they love.
Best Online Vet Tech Schools and Degrees
#1 Online Veterinary Tech Schools
San Juan College
- Farmington, NM
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
San Juan College is a leader in online learning. Learners complete online vet tech coursework in a flexible learning environment. Coursework in the veterinary technology associate program covers core vet tech topics and specialized training.
San Juan College Numbers:
Learners Receiving Financial Aid: 85%
Average Price With Financial Aid: $7,075
Awards Transfer Credits: No
The institution delivers affordable, high-quality undergraduate programs. The school offers in-person and virtual student support services. Learners can take advantage of peer and professional tutoring from the institution. The school has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Higher Learning Commission