Veterinary tech schools prepare students to take careers in the animal health industry. Veterinary technicians work in animal clinics.
They assist veterinarians in taking care of the animals. Vet techs may handle things such as primary animal care, administering vaccines and medicine, laboratory work and kennel maintenance.
They may even be allowed to assist licensed veterinarians in performing animal surgeries.
People who hold a vet tech license can work in a number of different animal facilities. They may work in zoos, animal shelters, animal hospitals, group veterinary practices, private vet clinics, research facilities, animal training organizations and grooming facilities.
The demand for this profession is increasing every year. With this, many local colleges and online schools offer degrees and diplomas for aspiring vet techs.
However, it is important that prospective students choose the best school for their chosen field. Their future lies in the online or classroom-based program they pick.
Choosing Reliable Vet Tech Schools
- AMVA Accreditation
Both online and classroom-based vet tech programs should be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The AVMA oversees the operation of veterinary schools and their programs. A fully accredited veterinary technician school will offer programs that meet the standard AVMA requirements.
Veterinary technician schools without AVMA accreditation will only put students’ futures at risk. Without this, they will not be able to take licensure exams. They will find it hard to work in facilities where they can apply their skills and training. At present, there are about 172 veterinary technician programs accredited by the organization. However, only 21 of them offer a bachelor’s degree. Nine accredited schools have a distance learning option. Students should make sure that their prospective schools are among these accredited institutions.
- Facilities and Instructors
Aspiring vet techs should also take the facilities and instructors at prospective schools into consideration. Both factors are very important in education and training. Before choosing any vet tech school, students should ensure that the school has all the facilities needed for the program. They should find out about instructor reliability and credentials. Most importantly, they should know the rotation of classroom lectures and lab work in advance. With this, they can ensure a balance of practical applications and theories.
- Class Size
Class size can be an important factor in determining the best school to attend. A large class size does not always mean that the school is popular and reputable. Sometimes, smaller class sizes mean that students will have more one-on-one discussions with instructors.
Vet Tech Programs
Future vet techs may opt for a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree. They can either choose to study at online or campus-based vet tech schools. Either way, they should ensure that they go to an AVMA accredited institution.
- Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree requires four years of study. These programs are offered at universities. There are also vet tech schools online, but they are quite rare. These programs are more expensive, but the training and education are truly advanced. Students will be exposed to classroom, clinical and lab settings.
The degree includes courses like veterinary anatomy and physiology, animal diseases, medical terminology, surgical nursing, clinical methods, parasitology, veterinary management and a practicum.
- Associate Degree
This program only requires two years of study. Associate degree programs are offered at both vocational schools and local colleges. However, there are some students that may not be able to complete the entire course in two years. This is because these programs are usually offered part-time and through online classes.
The associate degree covers courses such as pathology, pharmacology, veterinary radiology, surgery and anesthesia. Students are also required to complete internships in animal clinics under the supervision of a licensed vet.
Vet Tech Programs By State
View schools in each state and what is required in that state to become a vet tech.
Prerequisites for Vet Tech Schools
Typically, a vet tech school will require enrollees to present their GED or their high school diploma. It is highly recommended that high school students who plan on enrolling in the program take courses such as math, biology and science.
Meanwhile, individuals who have already finished high school should take related coursework from community colleges or universities. They should have a background in clinical or laboratory settings. There are some schools that require students to have coursework like precalculus or chemistry. These requirements may vary depending on the school.
The Future for Vet Tech School Graduates
Aspiring vet techs have a bright future ahead.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that career opportunities for vet techs will increase. The demand for vet techs seems unaffected by the economy. This is due to emerging technologies in veterinary medicine. Many pet owners have now realized the importance of animal health, and this results in the rising need for vet techs.
As the demand increases, the number of vet tech programs also increase. Vet tech school graduates have higher chances of getting hired in veterinary facilities. Many employers prefer licensed vet techs.
Individuals who have completed vet tech programs are eligible to take the National Veterinary Technician exam. This will allow vet tech graduates to practice their profession legally and become more attractive to employers.
Vet Tech Scholarship Programs
Becoming a veterinary technician requires a lot of time, effort and money. Vet tech tuition fees are typically more than what an average student can handle.
There are organizations that are willing to help lower financial burdens for aspiring vet techs. All AVMA accredited schools honor these scholarship programs. Interested students should gather more information about these scholarship programs through their school or individual scholarship websites or offices.
- The American Kennel Club
Full-time vet tech students who are enrolled in AVMA certified schools and a member of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians are eligible to apply for American Kennel Club scholarships. The AKC provides $1000 scholarships for students who meet their criteria and requirements. They accommodate 25 scholars each year.
Applicants should submit their school transcript and their NAVTA membership card. They are also required to submit an application form along with a typed essay. Scholars are chosen according to their academic achievement. In addition, applicants should be active participants in NAVTA activities or small animal research.
- Specialization Scholarships
Vet students can choose their areas of specialization. Specializations can include anesthesiology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, dental technology, behavioral science and equine health. The Society of Veterinary Behavioral Technicians provides scholarships for students who opt for a behavioral science specialization. Eligible applicants can get up to $2,000 in financial support from the organization.
- Oxbow Animal Health
Vet tech students who demonstrate interest in exotic animal health may qualify for the Oxbow Animal Health scholarship. Students from AVMA accredited vet tech schools can apply by submitting a scholarship application, proof of enrollment, transcripts, current GPA and a letter of reference.
They are also required to submit an essay that describes their passion for exotic animal health. Only two vet tech students are selected every year, and they are awarded $500.
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