Veterinary technology associate's degree programs prepare animal lovers to work alongside veterinarians as veterinary technicians, commonly referred to as veterinary techs. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Veterinary Technology typically consists of classroom learning and hands-on training experiences through internships. Students should ensure that they attend a program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org). To qualify for employment in animal healthcare, graduates must sit for the National Veterinary Technician (NVT) examination or other state-mandated licensing examination. A veterinary tech holding an associate's degree might work for a private veterinary office, veterinary hospital, clinic or even a zoo.
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Veterinary Technology
Most 2-year degree programs are offered by community colleges and vocational schools, but some larger colleges also confer associate's degrees. Community colleges require a completed application and high school diploma or the equivalent for admission to the school. The curriculum for a program leading to an associate's degree in veterinary technology will focus on all aspects of a career as a vet tech. Students learn surgical assisting, nursing and laboratory testing procedures necessary to animal care services, as well as veterinary office management skills. Common courses include:
- Laboratory animal management
- Administrative veterinary procedures
- Veterinary medical terminology
- Animal anatomy and physiology
- Anesthesiology for veterinary techs
- Veterinary pharmacology
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
With advances in veterinary medicine and a projected increase in the demand for veterinary care, employment for veterinary techs is expected to grow 19% between 2014 and 2024, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). In May 2015, the BLS reported the median annual salary for veterinary techs was $31,800.
Veterinary technologists typically earn an associate's degree from an accredited program in order to be licensed. When students complete their degree they can work in settings such as a private veterinary office, veterinary hospital, clinic or even a zoo.