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Online Degrees in Animal Care: Program Overviews

Learn about online degree programs with animal care courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements, and course descriptions available, as well as career and continuing education information.

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Essential Information

Associate's degree programs that prepare the graduate to be a veterinary technician are available in a hybrid format that combines online coursework with an in-person internship or practicum. These programs usually take two years to complete, and graduates can pursue professional licensure. Applicants are typically required to have a minimum high school GPA and have completed math and science courses. Technicians are required to be professionally licensed, registered, or certified in some states; check with state-specific regulations when choosing an educational program. Hybrid bachelor's degree programs are also available.

Veterinary Technician Associate's Degree

Online veterinary technician associate's degree programs teach students to assist in veterinary surgeries, dentistry, nursing, radiology, laboratory, and anesthesia. Prerequisites typically include coursework or exams in science and math, along with transcripts with a minimum grade point average (GPA) in high school or any previous college classes. Graduates are awarded an Associate of Applied Science (AAS).

Program Information and Requirements

These animal care degree programs are offered in a hybrid format with an internship or practicum requirement. Four semesters of courses take approximately two years to complete. Some programs require an internship in the final semesters, while others introduce practical experience immediately and continue throughout the program. The programs are designed to meet state licensing requirements and educational standards set by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Students must have access to an Internet connection, and some schools require a Windows-based personal computer. An e-mail account is also needed for communication with peers and faculty.

Common Courses

Veterinary technician coursework includes topics such as pharmacology, pathology, surgical procedures, animal care, and microbiology. Some of the common courses are outlined below.

Veterinary Technology

This class provides an overview of veterinary medicine and the roles of technicians and other animal health care professionals. Typical topics covered include patient history, physical examination, restraint, animal handling, supplies, equipment, facilities, and infection control.

Animal Surgical Procedures

This class covers the methods, principles and practices used in common animal surgical procedures. Students learn to maintain a sterile operating environment and identify and use surgical instruments.

Pharmacology for Animals

Students study the drugs used in veterinary medicine along with dosages, administration, actions, interactions and adverse reactions. This class has a lab requirement and also covers testing methodology and prescription topics.


Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for veterinary technologists and technicians was $31,800 as of May 2015. The BLS also reported that employment in the field was expected to grow by 19%, much faster than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

Some veterinary technology associate's degree programs offer seamless matriculation to a bachelor's degree program, with the final two years completed entirely online. In addition, animal care workers can pursue a master's degree in laboratory animal science.

Online animal care associate's degree programs teach students how to assist veterinarians in various medical procedures, examine patients and use equipment. Further education is available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels.

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