Veterinarian technician programs usually combine classroom instruction with hands-on training in the care of small and large animals; students learn about animal nutrition, emergency care, pharmacology and dentistry. Graduate-level education in veterinary medicine or technology is offered as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree for those interested in advancing their career beyond the veterinary technician level.
Applicants to an associate's degree program are required to have a high school diploma or GED and prove academic proficiency in math and science before starting veterinary technology classes. Applications to veterinary technology programs generally include a processing fee.
Bachelor's degree program applicants need a high school diploma or GED as well as SAT or ACT scores. Applicants for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program need a bachelor's degree and acceptable scores on the Veterinary College Admissions Test (VCAT).
Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology
Students in an associate's degree program study clinical and laboratory procedures relating to veterinary science and medicine. Courses in veterinary technology cover medical terminology, pharmacology and hospital management. Associate's degrees also cover social sciences, like psychology, sociology and philosophy. Students enrolled in an associate's degree program for veterinary technology take classes in the following:
- Veterinary technology
- Supervising veterinary hospitals
- Dentistry in veterinary medicine
- Small animal nutrition
- Animal behavior
Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology
Students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology learn advanced concepts in biology, veterinary medicine and small hospital management. Undergraduate education in veterinary technology takes place in classrooms, labs and clinics. Veterinary technology programs are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. A bachelor's degree curriculum includes general education studies in addition to the animal medicine and biology courses. Students in veterinary medicine take courses in the following areas:
- Veterinary pharmacology
- Large animal nursing
- Emergency animal care
- Veterinary hospital marketing
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Prospective veterinarians prepare for their careers through a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. Courses cover advanced concepts in biology, zoology and veterinary medicine. This degree in veterinary medicine can be completed in as little as three years. Any individual interested in attending veterinary medical school may have to interview with an admission officer or faculty member. Students in a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program take courses in the following:
- Veterinary anatomy
- Animal physiology
- Medical biochemistry
- Veterinary immunology
Popular Career Options
Students with a bachelor's degree in veterinary technology can start careers in the following:
- Animal hospital administration
- Veterinary technology
- Animal husbandry
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) predicted jobs for veterinary technologists and technicians to grow by 19% during 2014-2024, which is significantly faster than average. Opportunities may also be available in areas including animal safety, disease control and biomedical research. The BLS found the median hourly wage for veterinarian technologists and technicians to be $15.29 in May 2015.
Veterinarians are also expected to see good job prospects between 2014 and 2024 with a 9% employment increase, according to the BLS. In May 2015, the BLS found that the median annual salary of veterinarians was $88,490.
Continuing Education Information
Initial licensing and state-level certification requirements for veterinary technologists vary from state to state, but include passing an exam in addition to academic coursework. The National Veterinary Technician (NVT) exam allows veterinary technicians to transfer their credentials between all states using the NVT. National certification is available through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
Students interested in providing care to animals can become a veterinary technician by earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in veterinary technology, or pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine to become a veterinarian. All careers focus on animal biology, care, and medicine and require state licensing or certification upon graduation.