Associate of Veterinary Technican: Degree Overview

An associate's degree program in veterinary technology can prepare students to work as technicians in veterinarians' offices and other settings. Learn about the program, coursework, and job outlook.

Essential Information

Veterinary technicians work under the supervision of licensed professionals to perform medical tests, take blood samples and record histories of their animal patients. Associate's degree programs in veterinary technology are 2-year programs that teach students how to perform these clinical tasks and provide further care for animals, including cats, dogs and livestock. Internships or other field work are often required.

Applicants interested in enrolling in associate's degree programs in veterinary technology must show proof of medical insurance and have certain immunizations. These may include, but are not limited to, tetanus, tuberculosis and rabies. A high school diploma or GED is often required for admission to these programs. They may also be able to prove they can lift up to 50 pounds and can work closely with animals of various sizes.


Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology

The bulk of the courses within this program cover veterinary-based science topics, such as radiology, anesthesia and nursing procedures. In addition to traditional classroom instruction, students typically participate in externships and practical experiences where they work directly with animals at shelters or other animal facilities. Depending upon the school, students may even work with animals on campus. Common course topics within this program include:

  • Pathology
  • Parasitology
  • Pharmacology
  • Laboratory animal science
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Surgical assisting

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for veterinary technicians and technologists is projected to grow 19% from 2014 to 2024, which is well above the national average employment growth rate for that time (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that veterinary technicians and technologists received a median annual salary of $31,800 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

A graduate of this associate's degree program can seek immediate employment or pursue further education by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in veterinary technology. These 4-year programs prepare students for leadership roles in the vet technician field, and some offer concentrations in areas such as veterinary hospital management or clinical applications.

Students interested in becoming a veterinary technician or technologist can earn an associate's degree in veterinary technology. Students will learn the required medical and animal care skills needed to work alongside licensed veterinarians.


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