Veterinary technicians work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian in a variety of settings, including private practices and research, zoo and wildlife facilities. Programs can be found at any number of schools that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Work in this field is regulated by the state, and may require you to become licensed.
In order to pursue an associate's degree in this field, students are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. While enrolled, students are expected to complete hands-on clinical training working with live animals, as well as learn about a number of topics relating to animal health and care, including animal nutrition, laboratory procedures, anesthesiology, radiology and nursing. After completing this degree, students have the option to become a veterinary technician, or continue their education at the bachelor's degree level.
Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology
Aspiring veterinary technicians must meet prerequisites and complete specialized coursework for their program. Some of these programs require the completion of college level courses in biology and math, in addition to having experience in the field working with large or small animals. Coursework in a veterinary technician associate's degree program prepares students to work with animals performing a variety of tasks from handling the equipment to creating diets and providing emergency medical treatments. The following are some of the typical courses found in this type of degree program:
- Animal nutrition
- Animal diseases
- Anatomy and physiology
- Animal behavior
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Employment opportunities for veterinary technologists and technicians are expected to grow at a rate of 19% from 2014 through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for these professionals in 2015 was $31,800. The top ten percent of earners made an annual salary of $47,410 or more, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
In order to work as a veterinary technician, graduates need to take an exam that is regulated by the State Board of Veterinary Examiners. Many states use the National Veterinary Technician (NVT) exam.
Graduates can also choose to transfer to a 4-year bachelor's degree program with a major in veterinary technology to become veterinary technologists. Graduates with a bachelor's degree may pursue graduate studies in the field or go on to complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
For students looking to become veterinary technicians there are associate's degree programs available, teaching individuals a variety of subjects relating to animal care. These courses of study prepare you to become certified as a technician to pursue a career in various care or research facilities, or further your education in the field.