Can You Become a Vet Tech Online?

Veterinary technicians and technologists provide assistance to veterinarians, as well as perform research in the field of veterinary medicine and animal care. Several schools provide vet tech distance learning options that meet state requirements for certification and licensure.

Veterinary Technician Online Programs

A few schools across the country offer accredited online learning programs for students interested in becoming a veterinary technician. Programs cover similar topics, though prerequisites, eligibility requirements and program outlines can vary. Common prerequisites include work experience or observation hours at a veterinary clinic and completion of general education coursework.

Most online vet tech programs can be completed within three years, and students may be able to take a combination of distance and on-site courses, if desired. Hands-on clinical experiences are usually undertaken at an approved veterinary site near the student, though it's important to note that some schools limit clinical sites to specific states, or they may not be able to offer distance education to students in certain states.

Graduates typically earn an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree. Programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) meet eligibility requirements to take certification and state licensure examinations.

Veterinary Technologist Programs

The few bachelor's programs available for aspiring veterinary technologists may allow students to specialize in a course of study, such as vet hospital management, equine studies, companion animals and advanced clinical applications. Most of these bachelor's programs only admit students who have already graduated from an AVMA-approved associate's program.

Differences Between Technicians and Technologists

The major differences between veterinary technicians and technologists include management and research skills. Veterinary technicians are typically required to hold an associate's degree. These professionals assist veterinarians with medical procedures, such as dental care, examinations, anesthetics and general nursing for animals. Veterinary technologists often receive specialized training in pharmaceutical research and testing, large animal handling, cellular biology or clinical management in 4-year bachelor's degree programs.

American Association of Veterinary State Boards Certification

Veterinary technicians typically need at least a 2-year associate degree from an AVMA-accredited vet tech program, though some state boards allow related 2- and 4-year degrees. A few states also accept work experience to meet eligibility requirements for the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).

The American Association of Veterinary State Boards must provide approval to take the VTNE, though individual states award the certification and licensure. The test is only offered during three time windows each year, and applications must be submitted a month prior to the beginning of the examination period. Each state has its own requirements for certification eligibility. Students should check with their state veterinary examination board or association for the necessary qualifications.

State Licensure and Certification

Most states require passage of the VTNE prior to state registration as a vet tech. Scores from the VTNE are submitted directly to the student's state board for review and certification conferral. Some states also provide their own test before awarding licensure. Typically, a fee must be paid to the state board or association responsible for licensing vet techs.

Employment Forecast

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for vet tech and technologists were anticipated to increase 19% between 2014 and 2024. Veterinary technologists have additional employment options in research facilities providing biomedical advances, diagnostic discoveries and improved safety measures for animal-related products and services.

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