There are a number of online associate's degree programs offered in veterinary technology. Associate's degree programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) require at least one hands-on clinical experience. Depending on the program, clinical experiences may be completed at schools and veterinary offices near the student's home; however, some programs may require students to travel to the campus. Research-oriented veterinary tech positions may require certification through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. Applicants to these programs may need to have completed general education or science courses as well as a certain amount of hands-on hours in a veterinary hospital prior to admission.
Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology
Students in an online associate's degree program in veterinary technology learn about large and small animals, how to assist veterinarians in surgery and communicate with animal caretakers. Programs typically take about two years to complete.
Online veterinary technology associate's degree programs require students to use programs like the Microsoft Office suite, Adobe Reader and other common computer software. Students use virtual classroom platforms to view lectures, submit assignments and communicate with classmates. Instructors are available through e-mail, telephone and online chat programs.
Required courses for an associate's degree in veterinary technology cover animal anatomy and biology, animal pharmacology, veterinary nursing and other aspects of working as a veterinary technician. General education requirements may include communication, sociology and mathematics.
Anatomy and Physiology
This course examines organ systems in large and small animals. Students learn about the relationship between organs and organ systems. Animal diseases are also discussed.
Students learn about the medicines and drugs prescribed to animals and how to educate owners in their use. Proper storage procedures and dosage guidelines are other topics covered in a pharmacology course.
This course prepares students to handle various types of animals in a veterinary office and other clinical settings. Students learn how to handle emergency situations and restrain animals.
The procedures, methods and common practices of assisting veterinarians in surgery are covered. Students learn about anesthesia, surgery preparation and surgical instruments.
Career Information for Graduates
Job growth for veterinary technicians between 2018 and 2028 is expected to be 19%, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), because clinics and hospitals are expanding vet techs' duties to include additional animal-care and lab work (www.bls.gov). Most states require veterinary technicians to obtain licensure or certification by taking an exam, which is often the National Veterinary Technician exam. According to PayScale.com, veterinary technicians with an Associate of Science earned between $10 and $28 per hour in November 2019.
Continuing Education Information
Also according to PayScale.com data, veterinary technicians with bachelor's degrees may find higher-paying jobs. The AVMA accredits many bachelor's degree programs. Those interested in research positions can earn certification through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. The BLS reported that research-based veterinary technician jobs often pay more. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from an accredited college and state licensure is required to become a practicing veterinarian.
Associate's degree programs in veterinary technology are available online but typically require some in-person clinical work. These programs train students in animal management, pharmacology and prepare them for certification; graduates have the option to pursue bachelor's degrees and/or additional certification for research-based positions as veterinary technicians.