For those who love animals and want to work daily with them but don’t have the desire to go through ten years of the veterinary school becoming a certified veterinary technician (CVT) or vet tech for short is a perfect path. Vet Technician schools offer entry-level veterinary practice that you will need before starting your career. Those seeking this career path need to know what courses, certifications, and experience are necessary to be employed as a vet tech as well as what their role will be in a veterinarian office. To help, we’ve made a list of the best vet tech schools to study veterinary medicine.
Top 5 Vet Tech Schools
|1||Pima Medical Institute of Tucson Arizona||Tucson, Arizona|
|2||Michigan State University||East Lansing, Michigan|
|3||Vet Tech Institute of Houston||Houston, Texas|
|4||University of Nebraska||Lincoln, Nebraska|
|5||Purdue University||West Lafayette, Indiana|
Requirements for vet techs vary from state to state, so the first step is to research what certifications and experience are required in the state you desire to work in. Most states require a minimum of a two-year to four-year associate degree in the field from an accredited program. The program needs to have an accreditation by the AVMA Committee on Veterinarian Technician Education and Activities. Graduates of these programs are qualified to take the certification exam required to be employed as a vet tech in their state. A student can expect to participate in 60 credit hours of education and at least 240 clock hours of on-site practicum with a veterinarian clinic to gain clinical experience.
The following are some important items to consider when choosing a program:
- Make sure the credit hours can transfer to other schools or universities in the event you choose to earn a bachelor’s degree.
- Ensure the program and school are accredited.
- Create employer confidence in your education credentials.
- Make sure you will have access to financial aid.
Though each state has regulations for veterinary technician programs, the certification exam is the same across the nation and is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. The Veterinary Technician National Examination is comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions.
The exam is timed for 3 hours and is broken into 9 areas including pharmacy and pharmacology, surgical nursing, dentistry, laboratory procedures, animal care and nursing, diagnostic imaging, anesthesia, emergency medicine, and pain management.
Once vet techs have completed all the requirements and are employed at a veterinary clinic they will still need to complete a set number of continuing education courses each year to maintain their certification.
A vet tech can expect to perform a variety of duties in their career as they assist the veterinarian throughout the day. Vet techs will often take care of check-in procedures of the animal by checking vitals, administering medications and interacting with the pet-owner. They will also assist during surgery and may replace bandages and clean wounds. A vet tech will help educate pet owners and work with other staff in the animal hospital or clinic.
While most vet techs will be employed in animal hospitals or private veterinary clinics some are employed at zoos, laboratories, humane societies, veterinary hospitals, and online programs or university campuses.
List of the Best Accredited Vet Tech Schools
Pima Medical Institute of Tucson Arizona
Though Pima Medical Institute of Tucson Arizona is based out of Arizona there are multiple campuses across the country students can attend to earn the required certification. The courses include lab animal science, exotic medicine, diagnostic imaging, surgical nursing, and large animal nursing. This program takes 18 months to complete.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University’s veterinary nursing program has held a 99% pass rate for the VTNE for the past three years.
Leading the nation in veterinary science, Michigan State offers an innovative and hands-on educational experience for students aspiring to become veterinary nurses. Courses included in the program are anatomy, physiology, nutrition, animal diseases, and more. Students will be fully certified and earn a bachelor’s of science upon completion of the program.
Vet Tech Institute of Houston
The Vet Tech Institute of Houston has four locations students can attend and participate in innovative learning while earning their vet tech certification. The program lasts 18 months and provides students with laboratories, surgical suites, animal-friendly classrooms, radiography rooms, and on-site kennels. Students will have access to learn and participate in hands-on learning and an externship off-site to build networking skills with others in the profession.
University of Nebraska
University of Nebraska provides aspiring vet tech students with different paths to achieve their goals. Students can either earn an Associate degree and qualify to take the certification exam to be employed as a vet tech or they can enroll in the bachelor’s degree program. Each program offers either an emphasis in veterinary science or business. They have the same core courses but will allow for different positions within a veterinary clinic or animal hospital. Students at the University of Nebraska have unique opportunities to study anima production and research animal products.
Purdue University is one of the best vet tech schools because it offers two different pathways for students seeking to become a vet tech. Students that can attend the campus in West Lafayette can earn a 4-year bachelor’s degree, whereas those seeking an online learning format can enroll in a two-year associate degree program. Each program is fully accredited and will prepare students to become competent and confident vet techs. Purdue students have consistently scored a very high pass rate on the certification exam, 90-95%.
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Cedar Valley College
Cedar Valley College offers both on-site and distance learning methods to meet the needs of students and provide quality vet tech education to those that are seeking it. The Cedar Valley campus operates a large 32,000 square foot facility with a 170-acre stock farm with the breeding herd for horses, cattle, and goats.
Students have access to college advisors and learning support.
Blue Ridge Community College
Blue Ridge Community College provides both an on-campus learning model as well as an online learning option for distance learners. The campus provides a surgical suite as well as radiological suite where students can learn practical skills and receive hands-on experience. For students that choose the online method for learning, they will earn their hours by working at a veterinary clinic near them and they will receive hands-on experience in that location. Those students will need to be clocking in 20 hours per week.
The veterinary technologist program at Mercy College leads to a 4-year bachelor’s degree that is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee. Graduates become skilled members of the veterinary team. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities where they learn the necessary skills in veterinary nursing. Students have opportunities to participate in externships at highly sophisticated, multi-disciplinary centers and zoos.
Jefferson State Community College
Jefferson State Community College has a hybrid vet tech program that provides many of the courses online while requiring students to earn their on-site hours either volunteering or working for a veterinary clinic at a minimum of 20 hours per week. This is perhaps one of the best vet tech schools available to all living within Alabama. Students will only have a few required times they need to be on the Birmingham campus to fulfill those specific items. Most skills and laboratory requirements will be completed at the location of the veterinary clinic they are working at. C
MESA Community College
Mesa Community College is home to one of the top vet tech programs in the state of Arizona and continues to graduate highly trained and qualified vet techs with exceptionally high pass rates on the board certification exams. Students take courses in basic medical practices, animal care, management, pharmacology, and client communications. Graduates are often employed in veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, humane societies, and biomedical research offices.
Graduates of Pierce College are prepared to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam that qualifies them to work as a vet tech upon passing. Students will take general education courses before they take core courses in animal science and veterinary science. Upon completion, students will earn an associate degree in veterinary science. The program is engaging and allows for ample time for students to work with a variety of animals right on campus.
College of Southern Idaho
College of Southern Idaho offers a professional technical vet tech program that provides motivated students that love animals a pathway to make a career with what they love. This is among the best vet tech schools in Idaho. Its program prepares students to work in a variety of veterinary medical settings with both large and small animals. Upon completion of the fully accredited program, students can take the national certification exam for licensure.
Colby Community College
Opening the Vet Tech program in 1969, Colby Community College has one of the oldest programs in the nation. On-campus students receive training on advanced technologies such as digital radiology, class IV laser therapy, and color Doppler ultrasound. Students receive hands-on experience with numerous animals on campus.
Students also receive hands-on experience with large farm animals at the agricultural center owned by the college that houses larger animals. The distance learning program offers all the coursework online while students gain the necessary skills at a local veterinary clinic of their choice.
San Juan College
San Juan College offers an accredited online vet tech program that allows students to complete with an associate degree in veterinary science and enables them to take the national certification exam for licensure. The faculty and staff are caring and responsive to their distance learners and provide guidance and support. Students do need to have the necessary computer and technical skills to succeed in the online delivery method for the coursework and have a veterinary clinic they can log their hours and gain hands-on experience.
Veterinary Technology Programs Ranking Methodology
The career of being a vet tech is one that requires both technical skills and interpersonal skills, as many of the vet techs work with both the veterinarian and the pet owners. Attending a good vet tech school is imperative.
In as little as two years aspiring vet techs can have their certification and licensure to begin working directly with head veterinarians. Vet techs earn a salary ranging from $24K to $45K per year.
Schools were ranked according to a matrix of cost, program availability, and delivery methods. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and contact us.