Veterinary science technology and veterinary services management programs provide students with the opportunity to take relevant science courses, such as anatomy and microbiology. There are also internship opportunities providing hands-on training in real veterinary offices and hospitals. Students will build strong management skills and an understanding of business office practices through coursework. Some programs provide flexibility of scheduling through online or hybrid formats. Students can also fulfill requirements for professional certification as well as prepare for future studies allowing career advancement.
High school students with a minimum 2.5 GPA and coursework in chemistry, biology, mathematics, reading, writing and oral communication are encouraged to apply to associate degree programs. Candidates must pass a math exam (with one year of defined math under their belts), a biology exam with 75 or better, and a chemistry exam.
Prerequisites for bachelor's degree programs depend on the institution. Some require previous coursework in math, natural and social sciences, humanities, history, civilization, foreign language and/or communication. Depending on the student's state of residency, eligibility for or actual licensure, registration or certification as a veterinary technician is also required.
Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Science Technology
This 2-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program focuses on basic skills needed to assist veterinarians in handling and restraining animals. Students apply anatomy, pharmacology, pathology and physiology to veterinary medicine. Clinical sites are used to practice procedures. Grads acquire working knowledge of instruments, skills to assist in surgery and the ability to work as a vet tech.
Studies begin with basic nursing, biology and biochemistry as well as oral and written communication courses. Freshmen delve into anatomy, physiology, microbiology and research as it relates to farm and companion animals, exotic species and laboratory animals. Courses also include:
- Veterinary office procedures
- Clinical pathologies
- Principles of anesthesia
- Animal therapies
- Nutritional concerns
- Database basics
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Bachelor of Technology in Veterinary Services Management
This Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree is available as an articulation program at some colleges, springing from and building upon completion of a 2-year degree program in veterinary technology. Programs provide knowledge and skill for managing a business or organization focusing on veterinary care.
Educators concentrate on a foundation in basic business and accounting principles and apply them to management of specific types of veterinary businesses and institutions. Schools offer an internship within a veterinary setting. Today's program options include a physical campus, online courses or a combination of both. Course offerings can include:
- Financial and managerial accounting
- Business law
- Human resource management
- Veterinary hospital management
- Public health concerns and policies
- Veterinary medicine: issues and views
Popular Career Options
Graduates gain entry-level technical positions in laboratories, animal rescues and shelters, clinical practices, animal pharmaceuticals and research, veterinary supply, equipment manufacturing and sales. They also work in farms and stables, state and federal agencies and zoo/wildlife medicine. Samples of jobs are assistant business office manager, assistant director of animal health, clinical coordinator or supervisor and emergency veterinary technician.
Managerial positions in animal-related industries are in high demand as administrative tasks expand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), during the 2014-2024 decade, employment for administrative services managers in general is expected to grow by 8% (www.bls.gov). In terms of annual earnings, the BLS suggest that the current median salary of administrative services managers in general is $86,110.
The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) offers vet techs a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) designation (www.vhma.org).
After six months of laboratory employment, grads are eligible to take the veterinary technician licensing examination and certification examinations of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). One of these is the Certified Manager Animal Resources (CMAR) certification program, designed to improve competency and professionalism in the field of Animal Resources Management (www.aalas.org).
Vet techs attend classes, seminars and lectures offered through membership in professional certification associations. Management institutes hold immersion programs that last a day, weeks or months. Consulting firms offer veterinary management training seminars. Veterinary technicians also stand at the gateway to ongoing academic careers that branch into agribusiness, veterinary medicine or marketing graduate degree programs.
Individuals looking to work within veterinary management might consider earning a bachelor's degree in veterinary services management. However, these programs aren't widely available, in which case a general associate degree program in veterinary science could also be beneficial for entry into this field. In addition, continuing education and professional certification might aid in career advancement as well.