Veterinarian Technician Degree Program Overviews

Jan 02, 2019

Veterinarian technicians treat sick or injured animals under the direct supervision of licensed veterinarians. Duties can include clinical and laboratory procedures and diagnostic tests.

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Essential Information

Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology and Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology programs prepare students to pursue licensure as veterinary technicians. Students entering these program need to have a good grasp of math and science. Both programs include general education courses, lab sessions, veterinary care courses and clinical experiences. Internships in animal surgery, anesthesiology and parasitology are required, and online courses and programs are available.

Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology

Students enrolled in an Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology degree program will learn about veterinarian technology and procedures. A high school diploma or equivalent (and SAT or ACT scores recommended) is required to enter an associate program. Associate programs are usually two years in length. Veterinarian technology programs teach students about different animal behaviors, animal anatomy and physiology and how to properly diagnose certain conditions. Veterinary mathematics is taught so that the veterinarian technician can properly handle medications, calculate dosages and determine length of care by body weight, age and breed of animal.

Coursework in an Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology program requires prerequisites by most colleges. When a student completes the prerequisites, he or she may enroll in the veterinarian technology program. Students will take internships in animal surgery, anesthesiology and parasitology. Coursework at colleges and schools would include the following:

  • Introduction to veterinary medicine
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nursing skills for small and large animals
  • Diseases of large animals
  • Hematology
  • Immunology
  • Dentistry for large and small animals
  • Preventative health care

Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology

A person wishing to advance to a position in administration as a veterinarian technologist should consider a Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology degree program. An Associate degree in veterinary technology or a similar program is necessary. Bachelor's programs take roughly four years to complete. A student gains the skills necessary for leadership roles in a variety of settings, such as animal clinics, laboratories and research facilities. The student will also gain advanced technical and clinical skills through a bachelor's program.

In a Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology degree program, students build on the knowledge that they acquire in an associate's degree program. Colleges require a specified amount of general education credits. The following list of courses is typical:

  • Diseases of companion animals
  • Legal and ethical issues in veterinarian technology
  • Nutrition for small animals
  • Anesthesia procedures
  • Management in a veterinary hospital
  • Ophthalmic nursing in veterinary technology
  • Supervision procedures in a veterinary hospital
  • Ultrasonography procedures in veterinary medicine

Popular Career Options

Veterinarian technicians can find employment in a variety of settings. Many work at private clinics assisting a licensed veterinarian. Other options, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, include:

  • Laboratory animal caretakers
  • Veterinary assistants
  • Animal care and service workers

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Prospects for a veterinary technician remain strong, with the BLS reporting a 19% increase in opportunities between 2014 and 2024. Job opportunities will be excellent due to advances in veterinary medicine and an increase in the pet population. Salary information from the BLS indicates that veterinarian technicians and technologists earned an average of $33,280 per year in 2015.

A two-year Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology degree program and a four-year Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology degree program are necessary for a career as a veterinary technician. Coursework includes anatomy and disease study.

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