Best Online Vet Tech Schools and Degrees 2021

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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.

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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.

Top Online Associate’s Vet Tech Schools & Degrees

Rank School Location
1 San Juan College Farmington, NM
2 Colby Community College Colby, KS


  • 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.


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.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

The calculation tool below can help aspiring vet techs compare attendance costs between schools. Most schools include the required information on their websites. Prospective online students should determine whether a prospective college or university charges an additional technology fee for off-campus enrollees since this can impact attendance costs.

College Affordability Calculator

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.

Students 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.

This 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.

Students 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%.

Veterinary Technician
Bottom 10% Median Annual Salary Top 10%
Less than $25,520 $36,260 More than $52,410

Source: BLS

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.

  • Doyle L. Shugart Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: 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.

    Amount: $1,000

    Explore Here

  • CME Beef Industry Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: 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.

    Amount: $1,500

    Explore Here

  • Love Your Career Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: 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.

    Amount: $1,000

    Explore Here

Best Online Vet Tech Schools and Degrees 2021

See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. San Juan College

    Farmington, NM

  2. Colby Community College

    Colby, KS

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