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Best 20 Vet Schools in California in 2021

April 15, 2021 | Staff Writers

Vet Schools in California
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There are only 30 American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA)-accredited veterinary schools in the U.S. In other words, winning entry to a veterinarian school is very competitive. There are several items in common with admission criteria for veterinary schools; however, particular requirements can differ across the board. Therefore it is advisable to become acquainted with the entry criteria early in your career, as this can influence the selection of courses, particularly during your first year of college. Studying veterinary medicine is a long and challenging path but ultimately fulfilling. The patients in this scenario are not human beings but rather animals, and you get to promote their health and welfare. California is host to some of the nation’s best-ranked colleges providing veterinary programs.

The integrated application program run by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges is utilized by most U.S. veterinary schools (Veterinary Medical College Application Service-VMCAS). This application service recognizes and distributes your application and your letters of assessment to each school you specify. Applicants should be confident that their transcripts are sent to VMCAS. Most schools often provide a secondary application upon request.

There are various reasons why becoming a vet is rewarding.

  1. You are not required to choose a specialty and get to work with a variety of animals in a day. This can be highly satisfying and fulfilling, especially if you love animals.
  2. According to the US Bureau of labor statistics, the employment rate of vets is expected to increase by 20% in the next five years. This, therefore, means there will be no shortage of jobs. In addition, the jobs come with a good salary of up to $107,000 a year.
  3. You are likely to get incredible colleagues as most vets are compassionate, caring, and very understanding. This will help you build a strong professional background and great industry expertise.
  4. You get to expand your knowledge every time, and this will quench the natural thirst in you as a curious person in nature.
  5. You have the opportunity to shape your career and expands to other careers along the way.
  6. Your relationship with other people is likely to be better as people see vets as doctors who save lives.

Best Vet Schools in California

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Programs

1. The University of California – Davis, California (90 points)

The public University of California-Davis is one of the world’s leading research schools in the world. The school is highly ranked nationally because of its award-winning faculty. The school offers a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, as well as a Master’s in Preventive Veterinary Medicine and Ph.D. options. The school has flexible programs that allow the students to focus on livestock, zoology, pathology, public health, and research.

The School of Veterinary Medicine provides clinical service, public service programs, educational research to advance the care and health of animals and their environment. Students have one of the very lowest debt loads of any veterinary students because of how much of their fees are paid through return-to-aid and philanthropic funds.

*2019-2020 graduation is 99%; average graduation rate over 7 years is 94%

  • Tuition per year: $32,127.25 (CA Resident); $44, 372.25 (Out of State Resident)
  • Graduation Rate: 99%*
  • Acceptance Rate: 15%

2. Western University of Health Sciences – Pomona, CA (85 points)

The Western University of Health Sciences is a private university that offers an excellent Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in Pomona, California. With a student-teacher ratio of 14:1, the students are offered excellent education and services by the lectures and hands-on experience. The college encourages its students to grow by encouraging both personal and professional development. The community boasts of competent, caring, and ethical professionals where scholarship, cooperative learning, and public service can flourish.

  • Tuition: $59,600 per year
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A

Vet Assistant and Vet Tech Programs

1. Stanbridge University – Irvine, California (88 points)

Stanbridge University offers undergraduate courses in veterinary technology and is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. They offer educational service that’s highly rewarding and is leading in healing and caring for animals.

  • Tuition: approximately $12,352 per year
  • Graduation Rate: 81%
  • Acceptance Rate: 32%
  • VTNE Pass Rate: 86%, 3-year average from 2017 to 2020

2. Platt College – Alhambra, California (80 points)

Platt College offers undergraduate programs in veterinary technology. It takes about 18 months to get an associate’s degree. The courses provide depth for the students to get necessary entry into the career world.

  • Tuition: $13,794 approximately per year
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%

3. Carrington College – Sacramento, California (79 points)

Carrington College offers a veterinary assistant certificate that can be completed in as little as 9 months. It prepares students for entry-level jobs in a veterinary clinic. It also offers a 19-month veterinary technician program for those who are keen on becoming animal practitioners. They offer hands-on training in veterinary medicine and get to earn an associate’s degree in 19 months.

  • Tuition: approximately $33,546
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%

4. San Joaquin Valley College – Visalia, California (78 points)

The College of San Joaquin Valley is a private institution that offers both a veterinary assistant certificate (9 months) and a veterinary technician program (18 months). Both will lead to great careers in a fast-growing field.

  • Tuition: approximately $16,606
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%

5. California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, California (75 points)

The California State Polytechnic University offers several programs for those wishing to work with animals. Their four-year B.S. in Animal Health Science prepares students to become veterinary technicians, and their M.S. in Agriculture with a sub-plan in Animal Science allows students to learn more about their particular interests in animal health, nutrition, physiology, production, and management. It also prepares students for pursuing a doctorate, should they choose. The location of the school offers rich opportunities for students to obtain specialized and practical educational experiences. They have courses like production management, feeding habits, and marketing organizations.

  • Tuition: approximately $7,353 per year
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%

6. Pima Medical Institute- San Marcos, California (72 points)

Pima Medical Institute offers a veterinary assistant certificate and an undergraduate program to be a veterinary technician, which basically means an animal nurse. The students who undergo the veterinary technician program are dedicated and caring professionals who nature the health and well-being of the animals. By the end of the programs, the students will be able to:

  1. Perform laboratory tests such as urinalysis and blood tests.
  2. Provide nursing care for the emergency and recovering animals.
  3. Take and develop x-ray images
  4. Observe the behavior and condition of the animals.
  • Tuition: approximately $10,830 per year
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Acceptance Rate: 31%

7. Central Coast College – Salina, California (71 points)

Central Coast College is a private college that offers both a veterinary assistant and veterinary technology program. The vet assistant certificate is a 38- weeks course that fills the students with a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge to successfully work alongside other professional vets. Students wanting to be a veterinary technician will spend their first year becoming a veterinary assistant, and then continuing on to complete an A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology.

  • Tuition: $12,800 estimated per year
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%

8. Foothill College – Los Altos Hills, California (68 points)

Foothill College is a community institution in Los Altos that offers three veterinary assistant courses,, after which students can earn a certificate, or a two-year undergraduate program for those wanting to become veterinary technicians. The program focuses on building competency in essential skills through hands-on training. The required number of course credits is 92.

  • Tuition: approximately $1,527 per year
  • Graduation Rate: 13%
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%

9. Yuba College – Marysville, California (62 points)

Yuba College is a community college offering various undergraduate courses, including those that lead to an A.S. in Veterinary Technology. This program runs for at least two years, where the students are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and become great veterinary technicians. For those who can’t attend campus, a veterinary assistant & receptionist certificate is available completely online and will familiarize students with effective communication techniques, veterinary terminology, procedures for medical records and admitting/discharging patients, animal behavior basics, inventory and ordering techniques, how to deal with difficult clients, bookkeeping skills, animal restraint, animal grooming, veterinary record-keeping, administration of medication and medical assisting.

  • Tuition: approximately $5,170 for two-year program
  • Graduation Rate: 20%
  •  Acceptance Rate: 100%

10. Santa Rosa Junior College – Santa Rosa, California (62 points)

Santa Rosa Junior College is a public community institution that offers great undergraduate education to its students. The vet tech courses have been designed to meet the state’s requirements for those who want to become technicians in California, and will supply students with a veterinary technician certificate upon graduation.

  • Tuition: approximately $1,280 per year
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%

11. Mt. San Antonio College – Walnut, California (60 points)

Mt. San Antonio College is a registered veterinary technology program that welcomes all kinds of students and supports them in achieving their career and their personal and educational goals in an environment with academic excellence. The students must be well educated in the handling of all species where they work under supervision. The classes are a combination of lecture, demonstration, lab, and clinical hours.

  • Tuition: approximately $2,760
  • Graduation Rate: 24%
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%

12. Modesto Junior College – Modesto, California (59 points)

Modesto Junior College is a simple, diverse community that offers an associate degree for those wanting to be veterinary technicians. Students will have the chance to choose between pursuing a small animal science or a large animal science concentration. Those who pursue large animal science can also receive a certificate in addition to their degree.

  • Tuition: approximately $11,66 per year
  • Graduation Rate: 25%
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%

13. Allan Hancock College- Santa Maria, California (58 points)

Allan Hancock College is a public community that provides quality education that enhances intellectual, cultural, and creative students. They offer undergraduate education for veterinary programs. They have 20 units that are divided into two falls.

  • Tuition: approximately $46 per enrollment unit
  • Graduation Rate: 15%
  •  Acceptance Rate: 100%

Ranking Methodology

This ranking was based on the analysis of the best software data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the respective university websites. The schools were ranked based on tuition amounts and the rate of graduation. Both factors were accorded 50 points. Each school was assigned points based on how it compared with others on tuition and graduation rates. The points earned for both ranking factors were then added together to get each school’s total score. The school with the most points ranked first in the list.

We strive to provide current and accurate information to our readers. If you’re associated with one of the schools we ranked above, and you realize an error in the information provided, please feel free to contact us and let us know so we can make the necessary corrections.

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