Due to the clinical, field and laboratory requirements, it is impossible for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program to be offered totally online. Some schools offer bachelor's degree programs in veterinary science that combine online and on-campus studies. Those who work as veterinary assistants can find associate's degree programs in veterinary technology that offer coursework completely online. Students looking into these programs should find a distance education program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
There are also dual DVM/master's degree programs that combine training as a veterinarian with a master's degree program in public health or food safety. These programs require extensive clinical research and lab experiences, as well as an internship, but do offer some courses online. These online courses often require students to have access to headsets or webcams. DVM/master's degree programs usually take about five years to complete.
Bachelor's Degree in Veterinary Science
Bachelor's degree programs investigate veterinary medicine and technology by exploring one or more specialized areas of study, such as clinical medicine, laboratory animal medicine and pre-veterinary studies. Many bachelor's degree programs combine online classroom assignments and discussions with on-campus laboratory projects. These programs provide a foundation for careers in veterinary medicine or veterinary research.
Program Information and Requirements
Some institutions require bachelor's candidates to complete prerequisite coursework in animal biology, animal anatomy and veterinary medical terminology. Students usually are required to participate in an internship or field experience in a veterinary hospital or other type of animal clinical setting. Online courses are presented utilizing online course management systems and communication tools.
Online learners need a computer with high-speed Internet access. Some online courses require students to have headphones and speakers, a webcam and word processing software.
Bachelor's students explore veterinary technology with particular focus in areas such as emergency medicine and critical care, clinical laboratory technology and laboratory animal medicine. They also learn how to work in medical and pharmacological research.
Clinical Animal Behavior
In this course, students examine animal behavior such as communication, development and maternal instinct. Discussion is centered on how these factors affect medical problems in animals.
Students learn the scientific fundamentals and the practical applications of pharmacology, as well as explore the most commonly used classes of drugs. Record keeping practices with relation to handling and prescribing medications are also explored.
Hematology and Small Animal Disease
This course covers the variations in blood cells and serum components among various species of animals, as well as the differences in disease states within a single species. Students examine the immune system and the effects of immune stimulation on blood test results.
Dual DVM/MPH Degree
Dual Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)/Master's of Public Health (MPH) degree programs provide students with advanced clinical and theoretical knowledge needed for work in diseases and public safety. Through clinical research and data analysis, students examine prevention and control strategies for in addressing animal-associated human health risks. This program allows graduates to advance the scope of their veterinary career to include positions in agriculture and food, public health and infectious diseases, in addition to private veterinary practice.
Program Information and Requirements
Students generally must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Many DVM/MPH programs require applicants to have completed a program in veterinary science. Degree programs of this type generally consist of on-campus lectures and clinical research; however, online theoretical classes are available. Students are expected to complete a rotation or internship in a clinical setting, as well as a master's project.
Online courses in the DVM/MPH program are accessed through online course management systems; requiring a computer with an Internet connection. Word processing software is recommended for the completion of assignments. Lectures presented using real-time web conferencing software may require the use of a headset or webcam.
DVM/MPH students examine the correlation between human wellness and animal health. They explore public health issues through the examination of microbial and non-microbial hazards.
This online course explores the philosophies and theories that define public health. Major areas of study include an examination of ethical, legal and political issues in animal-related health risks.
Principles of Epidemiology
In this course, students are introduced to the concept of epidemiology and the study of factors that affect the health and illness of populations. Students explore topics such as determinants of health and disease in human and animal populations, as well as the application of epidemiologic methods in controlling disease.
Statistical Methods in Health Science
This course covers the use of data summarization of basic statistical methods in analyzing animal-associated diseases. Students are introduced to best practices in leveraging ANOVA (analysis of variance), along with regression methods for continuous, binary, and survival data in public health research.
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in veterinary science can pursue careers as veterinary technicians or technologists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecast a much-faster-than-average growth rate of 19% for veterinary technicians and technologists from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). In May 2018, the median annual wage for veterinary technologists and technicians was $34,420, according to the BLS.
Graduates with a DVM/MPH degree are qualified to work in positions that address diseases that can be spread from animals to humans and their effects on public health, such as a research veterinarian. According to Salary.com, in 2019 the average annual salary for research veterinarians working in higher education was $120,947.
Students interested in careers as veterinarian technologists, technicians or research veterinarians may not be able to pursue fully online training due to hands-on requirements, but hybrid bachelor's degrees, DVM programs and dual DVM/MPH degree programs do offer some coursework online. These courses cover topics such as clinical animal behavior, pharmacology, hematology, epidemiology, public health and statistics.