Animal Technician Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Veterinary and animal technicians may assist in surgery, perform laboratory tests, administer injections and monitor sick and injured animals. Continue reading to see what you should consider when choosing an animal technician program, and to view some programs available in United States schools.

Animal technicians may work in research laboratories, veterinary offices or animal shelters under the supervision of a veterinarian. Veterinary technician or veterinary technology degree programs can be found at community colleges, technical schools and 4-year colleges and universities.

Schools with Veterinary Technician Programs

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer veterinary technician programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Arkansas State University - Beebe Beebe, AK 2-year, Public Associate In-state $3,480; Out-of-state $5,370
Blinn College Brenham, TX 2-year, Public Associate In-district $2,256; In-state $3,912; Out-of-state $5,904
Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs, CO 4-year, Public Associate In-district $1,556; In-state $2,756; Out-of-state $9,140
Gaston College Dallas, NC 2-year, Public Associate In-state $2,562; Out-of-state $8,708
Harcum College Bryn Mawr, PA 2-year, Private not-for-profit Associate 22,060
Murray State University Murray, KY 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $7,608; Out-of-state $20,712
Parkland College Champaign, IL 2-year, Public Associate In-district $3,945; In-state $9,555; Out-of-state $14,355
San Juan College Farmington, NM 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate In-state $1,474; Out-of-state $4,114
University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $7,448; Out-of-state $16,688

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

There are several important considerations when selecting an animal technician program.

  • Though bachelor's degree programs in veterinary technology take longer to complete, they offer more comprehensive training in the field. Associate degree programs are shorter and can lead to entry-level technician positions in veterinary offices or kennels.
  • Some bachelor's degree programs dedicate the final two years to clinical experience in the field, which can increase professional skills and the chance of employment.
  • Some schools offer on-site facilities, such as kennels, or have associations with local farms and zoos.
  • Upon graduation, veterinary technicians and technologists must pass the National Veterinary Technician (NVT) exam. Some schools may offer assistance in preparing for this exam or have a higher pass rate for graduates.

Associate Degree Programs

Veterinary technician degree programs may be completed in around 18 to 24 months, depending on the program length and whether students enroll full-time. Clinical practicums and externships may be required. Associate degree programs may have online options available, though some may be intended for those working in veterinary offices seeking advancement rather than for entry-level students.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Students enrolled in 4-year degree programs are often required to enroll in advanced internships or clerkships. This gives them the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in specialty areas, such as anesthesiology, companion animal medicine and equine medicine. Veterinary technologists may have an advantage over technicians in pursuing a career in a research facility.

Aspiring animal technicians can prepare for their career by completing an accredited veterinary technician associate's degree or bachelor's degree. All students must pass the NVT exam to be certified after earning their degree.


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