Students who earn an online associate degree in vet tech prepare to assist veterinarians and other support staff in treating animal patients. This page presents 2020's top vet tech degrees and provides links to each program's website.
In addition to information about each program, this guide covers common courses, admission requirements, career prospects, and frequently asked questions.
What Are the Best Vet Tech Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Four:
|1||Colby Community College||Colby, KS|
|2||St. Petersburg College||Clearwater, FL|
|3||Medaille College||Buffalo, NY|
|4||San Juan College||Farmington, NM|
While earning a vet tech degree, students learn essential knowledge and skills that they will need to succeed as entry-level veterinary technicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the need for these professionals will grow by 19% in the United States between 2018 and 2028 — almost four times the growth rate of the average occupation in the nation.
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2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Vet Tech Programs
Colby Community College
|Colby, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Located in Kansas, CCC enrolls around 1,900 students. The school reports that it ranked first in the state among community colleges in terms of graduation rate in 2018 and 2019.
The school's online associate in veterinary nursing includes 22-26 credits of prerequisite classes and 60 credits of core coursework. The program offers asynchronous courses and optional on-campus weekend mentorship opportunities during the fall and spring. CCC does not require campus visits from distance learners.
Participants must work with a veterinary hospital (starting in their second term) to complete clinical courses. Learners must record the successful application of these hands-on skills via video.
The school features an open-enrollment policy, and applicants only need a high school diploma or GED certificate. In-county and in-state residents receive discounted tuition rates. CCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
St. Petersburg College
|Clearwater, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
Based in Clearwater, Florida, SPC reports that its graduates rank first among Florida community colleges in terms of entry-level earnings.
SPC's associate in veterinary technology includes courses like veterinary office procedures, avian and exotic pet medicine, large animal diseases, and animal emergency medicine. Learners must work in a veterinary hospital for at least 20 hours per week each semester.
Applicants interested in earning this online associate degree in vet tech need a high school diploma or GED certificate. They must also have worked or volunteered at a veterinary hospital for at least 40 hours before applying. Florida residents receive a discounted tuition rate. SPC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|Buffalo, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
Based in Buffalo, New York, Medaille features a 95% job placement rate among its graduates. The school's 72-credit associate degree in veterinary technology can be completed online in about two years. This program satisfies requirements for professional licensure in the state and prepares students to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam.
Graduates of this associate in vet tech program can pursue careers in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics, biomedical research facilities, and animal shelters.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate, and they must submit standardized test scores. Active-duty military students receive a discounted tuition rate. Medaille is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The associate in veterinary technology program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
San Juan College
|Farmington, NM||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 28%||
Based in Farmington, New Mexico, SJC enrolls around 15,000 students each year. SJC's online associate programs do not require any on-campus visits from students.
The 80-credit associate in veterinary technology at SJC includes core courses in veterinary anesthesia and surgical assisting, small animal disease and medical care, pharmacology and medical therapeutics, and veterinary anatomy and physiology.
Students pursuing their online associate degree in vet tech must also complete a clinical component; online learners can do this at local veterinary hospitals or attend in-person, fast-track laboratory sessions in Waco, Texas, to meet clinical requirements each semester.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate. New Mexico residents receive a discounted tuition rate. SJC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Online Associate in Vet Tech Program Overview
Vet tech programs prepare graduates to pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). On exam day, candidates answer 170 multiple-choice questions within three hours. The AAVSB website offers short practice tests for a fee.
You can start your job hunt once you graduate and pass the VTNE. Although you may qualify for many fulfilling job opportunities with an associate degree, you can also increase your career and salary potential by enrolling in a bachelor's program. Many vet techs who already hold an associate degree can earn a bachelor's in two years without having to pause their career.
Typical veterinary courses include animal anatomy, veterinary office procedures, and medical terminology. Read on to learn more about common courses.
Common Associate in Vet Tech Degree Courses
- Animal Anatomy
Animal anatomy refers to common household pets' organs, muscles, and other structures. Students memorize relevant terms that are essential knowledge when helping a veterinarian treat an animal patient. This class may also have a lab component.
- Veterinary Office Procedures
In addition to assisting veterinarians, vet techs ensure that a veterinary office runs smoothly. This course covers the laws and regulations that govern veterinary clinics.
- Veterinary Medical Terminology
Vet techs and veterinarians use medical terminology when diagnosing animal patients, filling out medical charts, and communicating. This course introduces degree-seekers to many common terms.
- Veterinary Clinical Pathology
This intermediate course introduces degree-seekers to common ailments that affect dogs, cats, and other domestic animals. Course topics include parasites and blood disorders. Students take this course after completing at least one clinical rotation where they gain experience drawing blood and performing physical exams.
- Veterinary Anesthesia and Surgical Assisting
Vet techs play an essential role in ensuring that animal patients have a successful surgery. Covered topics in this course include evaluating an animal before surgery, administering anesthesia, monitoring vital signs, and providing postoperative care. Students hone these skills during a clinical rotation where they observe and assist in operations.
Online Associate in Vet Tech Admission Requirements
High school seniors and recent graduates should submit academic transcripts along with every college application. Admissions offices use transcripts to assess college readiness and make scholarship decisions.
The federal government uses the FAFSA to determine federal grant and loan eligibility. To complete this form, you need recent tax returns and other financial information. Your results may also qualify you for need-based institutional grants.
Standardized Test Scores
ACT and SAT scores help a college judge your potential and award scholarships. The ACT and SAT cover core academic topics, such as mathematics and reading comprehension. Not all schools require these test scores.
Meet With an Advisor
Some online programs ask that you meet with an advisor before registering for courses.
Complete a Career Assessment
Your college may ask you to complete a career self-assessment before enrolling. Although the test's results may not change your mind, you can use them to explore other academic areas while earning an associate degree.
Online Associate in Vet Tech Career Paths
After you earn an online associate degree in vet tech, one step remains between you and an entry-level career as a veterinary technician: the VTNE. However, if you choose an accredited program, you should be well prepared to pass this certification exam soon after graduation day. Many colleges also post VTNE pass rates on the program website.
Veterinary technicians can advance into veterinary technologist positions by earning a bachelor's degree or completing significant on-the-job experience. Students who want to become a fully licensed veterinarian must earn a doctor of veterinary medicine.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What can I do with a vet tech degree?
While earning an online associate degree in vet tech, you develop the academic knowledge and clinical experience needed to work with veterinarians, veterinary technologists, and other veterinary technicians in a veterinary office. Some technicians work in local animal care clinics, while others find employment at zoos and shelters.
- Can I be a vet tech with an associate degree?
Yes. An associate degree is the minimum education requirement needed to work as a vet tech. You can stand out from other applicants by excelling in your clinical placements and earning a high score on the VTNE.
- Is a vet tech degree worth it?
This degree may be an excellent investment if you have a strong passion for helping animals, working in the medical field, and collaborating with like-minded peers.
- How much does a vet tech make?
According to the BLS, veterinary technologists and technicians earn a median annual salary of $35,320, with workers in the top 10% earning more than $51,230 a year.
- How many years does it take to become a vet tech?
You can earn an online associate degree in vet tech in two years if you study full time. Part-time students may need an additional year to graduate.
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