Online Animal Health Degree Program Information

Apr 01, 2021

Essential Information

Online associate's degree programs in veterinary technology are relatively easy to find, although these programs may require students to complete an in-person internship, practicum, or clinical training. These programs prepare graduates to work as veterinary technicians. Online bachelor's degree programs that prepare individuals to work as veterinary technologists are also available, although these are relatively rare. These bachelor's degree programs are designed as bachelor's degree completion programs for those who already hold an associate's degree and who have hands-on experience in animal care.

Veterinary technicians and technologists are required to be professionally licensed, certified, or registered in all states, although the specific requirements for credentialing vary by state. Check for state-specific requirements; in some locations, it may be important to choose a degree program accredited by the American Veterinary Medicine Association.

Associate Degree Programs in Veterinary Technology

Animal lovers may consider an animal science career in veterinary medicine. Online associate degree programs in veterinary technology are commonly available and designed to meet the needs of working professionals, especially those already employed in the animal health care industry. Graduates are fully trained for jobs as veterinary technicians and meet the education requirements for state licensing. Students acquire essential skills to assist veterinarians in restraining and handling animals, as well as to provide exceptional customer service.

Information and Requirements

A veterinary technology associate degree can be obtained online in two years. Distance learners are often required to conduct hands-on clinical training, which usually can be completed at a student's current workplace or other local animal care facility. Access to a high-speed Internet connection and e-mail are necessary for Web-based assignments. Students may be expected to devote at least four hours per week to each online class.

Common Online Courses

General education courses in a veterinary technology program include communication and writing, which give students the tools for effectively communicating with veterinarians and customers. Applied math classes provide the skills needed for accurate dosage of medicine and office accounting. Introductory biology classes also prepare students for advanced study of animal science. Veterinary technology coursework covers such topics as medicine, medical procedures, anatomy, diseases, pathologies and biomedical research.

Large Animal Disease

Proper sanitation conditions are imperative for the prevention of diseases in livestock. Students in this online class learn about the prevention, transmission, diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses in large animals.

Small Animal Care

Distance learners study the equipment and techniques used in treating small animals. Common diseases and parasites afflicting dogs and cats are also reviewed.

Veterinary Equipment

The tools used by veterinarians are introduced in this class. Online students learn the proper procedures for safely operating ultrasound and X-ray equipment.

Career Information for Graduates

A veterinary technology associate degree program prepares graduates for entry-level jobs as veterinary technicians, assisting veterinarians in animal hospitals, kennels and shelters. As of May 2020, the mean salary for veterinary technologists and technicians was $37,860 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Veterinary Technology

Bachelor's degree programs in veterinary technology are not common, and online programs are even rarer due to the intensive clinical training components. Applicants must already possess an associate degree in veterinary technology and have hands-on experience working with animals. This bachelor's degree distance learning program is ideal for technicians already working in the industry and can be tailored to management or medical roles in animal science.

Information and Requirements

A bachelor's degree program in veterinary technology typically accepts transfer credit from 2-year degree programs and, therefore, can be completed online in an additional two years. Successful students often dedicate at least 10 hours per week to each online class. Interactive online discussions and assignments may necessitate the use of a webcam with a microphone.

Common Online Courses

Introductory science coursework provides the foundation for advanced veterinary medicine courses. Students gain valuable communication skills through writing and speech classes. While all distance learners enroll in the basic veterinary technology courses, electives can be geared towards either a clinical or a management career path.

Veterinary Business

Students learn the roles of a veterinary hospital manager. Accounting, financial forecasting and other general business concepts are introduced, as well as topics specific to the animal health industry.

Animal Nutrition

Proper diet is essential to animal health. Distance learners gain an understanding of the role of nutrition for animals of different sizes, ages and physical conditions.

Veterinary Safety

Students are introduced to safety regulations and procedures that protect themselves, as well as their animal patients from potentially dangerous situations. License and permit requirements are reviewed.

Career Information for Graduates

Veterinary technologists often possess bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology and may work in animal hospitals, animal health research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and zoos. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow much faster than average from 2019-2029, increasing by roughly 16%.

While associate's degrees will allow students to move through the program relatively quickly by focusing on the necessary hands-on skills involved in being an animal technician, bachelor's degrees will likely be more comprehensive and build on prior knowledge. These bachelor level programs are hard to find online and may require students to already have an associate's degree.

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