Veterinary technicians work under the supervision of licensed veterinarians to provide a variety of services including testing, diagnosing and treating medical conditions and diseases in animals. A Veterinary technician will draw blood samples, perform laboratory tests, assist with dental care, record patient history, provide specialized animal healthcare for various animals ranging from horses to dogs, cats, sheep, monkeys, pigs and more.
A vet tech will generally seek employment in private or public animal clinics, animal shelters, animal hospitals, research facilities, zoos, animal farms, aquariums and other facilities that provide animal healthcare.
Veterinary Technician Schools in North America
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To become a veterinary technician, there are primarily two education paths to be pursued. Vet tech schools offer two year associate’s degree and four year bachelor’s degree programs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits two year associate’s degree programs offered by community colleges. The veterinary technology program provides instruction in clinical and laboratory environments with hands-on experience with live animals.
The AVMA provides statistics showing that there are currently:
- 191 programs offered by vet tech schools;
- Approximately 21 colleges offer four year degree programs
- 9 institutions offering distance learning programs.
To gain employment as a vet tech you need to pass the National Veterinary Technician (NVT) exam and receive credentialing. To pass the exam you need to study in an accredited program that will provide you with the right kind of education covering veterinary diseases, animal medicine, veterinary imaging, animal dentistry, animal behavior, veterinary pharmacology, laboratory procedures and anesthesiology and surgical assisting.
Most associate degree programs are taught through the AVMA’s accredited degree programs. Vet tech schools have to qualify to earn accreditation from the AVMA.
Vet Tech Schools
A sampling of the top vet tech schools in the U.S. that offer accredited veterinary degree programs include:
- Brown Mackie College offers diploma, certificate, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree programs. Brown Mackie’s colleges in Cincinnati, Findlay, Louisville, Michigan City and South Bend have received provisional accreditation from AVMA’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).
- Sanford Brown offers associate’s degree programs in Applied Science Degree Program in Veterinary Technology through its colleges spread across the country. The program is structured to provide aspiring veterinary technicians with the technical and practical training necessary to become a qualified veterinary technician.
- Vatterrot College provides a veterinary technology program to instruct students in veterinary field and animal care. Students receive classroom training and work experience through the college’s internship program.
Veterinary technology programs are offered by several institutions in the U.S. Students can choose to study in-campus or through distance learning. The important thing to do is verify that the college you choose has been granted accreditation for the program by the AVMA. With the knowledge and practical skills learned through the program, a vet tech is equipped to handle laboratory procedures and office administration, provide surgical assistance and animal healthcare. Coursework generally covers animal safety and behavior, physical examination, grooming, drug administration, veterinary ethics and law.
Veterinary technicians with an associate’s degree under their belt are equipped to seek real-life employment in entry-level positions in veterinary hospitals, zoos, humane societies, boarding kennels and animal clinics.