Online veterinary technology programs require 3-5 years of study and may require students to have experience in the field, as well as employment at a veterinary facility. The curriculum combines online coursework with off-site clinical experiences under a licensed vet. Students should look for programs that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association for licensing and certification.
Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology
These online associate's degree programs prepare students to work as veterinary technicians. In addition to general education courses, the science-based coursework teaches students about working with both small and large animals. Schools offering online programs in veterinary technology typically expect students to already have some work experience in the field. Maintaining employment in a veterinary setting throughout the duration of the program may be required as well.
Program Information and Requirements
Although associate's degrees often require two years of study, online veterinary technology programs can take 3-5 years to complete. Students not only complete several courses, but also take part in a number of clinical experiences. In addition, schools often assume or expect that applicants to these online programs are working adults, so the courses are offered on a part-time basis.
The coursework is completed in a virtual content management system that contains interactive components, such as message boards and chat rooms. Examinations may have to be taken on-site at the school or at an approved location with a proctor. Clinical experiences must be under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian at an appropriate setting.
Other than the standard computer and reliable Internet connection requirements, students in these online programs may need a CD/DVD drive. Some schools require students to document their clinical work with a video camera.
List of Common Veterinary Technology Courses
Associate's degree programs require some amount of general education coursework, although each school's requirements can vary widely. Some students may only need to take a few while others are required to complete a comprehensive curriculum in mathematics, communications, science, computer literacy and more. The veterinary technology coursework focuses on animal anatomy, veterinary medicine and office procedures.
The course focuses on the anatomical structure of animals that are treated in a veterinary setting. Programs may put more emphasis on a particular kind of animal, such as dogs.
Laboratory Animal Health and Medicine
Students learn the proper procedures for working with animals in a laboratory environment. Diseases and healthcare issues related to animals commonly used in labs are covered.
This course covers the use of veterinary drugs in the treatment of animal diseases or conditions. Students also discover how animals' bodies respond to a drug internally.
Small Animal Care
Students learn about the behaviors and proper veterinary care of small animals. This is particularly focused on companion animals typically treated in a veterinary facility, including dogs and cats.
Large Animal Care
The coursework is focused on large animals' physiological processes and health management. Students learn about livestock animals in particular.
Graduates of online associate's degree programs in veterinary technology commonly find employment in animal hospitals, veterinary offices and research laboratories. The BLS reports that, at a projected growth rate of 19%, employment in the field is expected to substantially outpace the average growth of other occupations during the 2014-2024 decade. The median yearly wage for veterinary technicians and technologists was $31,800 as of May 2015, according to BLS data.
Continuing Education Information
Some schools offer online bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology, which can help technicians advance into a supervisory position or that of veterinary technologist. Although technicians and technologists do similar work, technologists can also find employment in a research laboratory, reports the BLS.
Most veterinary technicians must obtain clearance to work in this field from a state veterinary licensing body. Requirements for licensure vary, but most states use the National Veterinary Technician examination for credentialing purposes.
Veterinary technology programs prepare students to take the licensing exam necessary to work as a technician. Coursework can be taken online, while clinical practicums can be completed at an approved location under the supervision of a vet.