schools for vet tech in the us

9 Best Schools for Vet Tech in the US (Online & Offline)

Only fully accredited Veterinary Technology (Vet Tech) schools in the US can help you turn your love for animals into a rewarding career.

I mean, what’s better than making a good living from something you actually have a genuine love for? 

Learning from one of the best vet tech schools in the US will prepare you to be a certified, licensed, or registered veterinary technologist or technician in as short as two years. 

This article will provide you with all the information you need about studying vet tech and making a good living from it. 

Also, you will find a list of top vet colleges in the US (both online and on-campus) that will help you to attain this career.

Let’s begin by looking into what vet techs do.

What do vet techs do?

Veterinary technologists and technicians assist veterinarians in taking proper care of animals by conducting tests and carrying out treatments on the animals as required by the veterinarian.

Vet Techs are to animals what nurses are to humans. They conduct medical routine tests, prepare animals for surgery, and ensure they receive the required treatments as prescribed by the physician.

Are vet techs in high demand?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for Vet Techs will increase by 15 percent between 2020 and 2030.

As pet lovers continue to grow in number and wealth, the need to take proper care of pets continues to increase too. In fact, it is estimated that the demand for veterinary technicians will outweigh the supply.

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What are the best on-campus schools for vet tech in the US?

Here are the best on-campus schools for vet techs you can find in the US:

1. Purdue University

Purdue University, a public land-grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, ranks as one of the best schools for vet tech in the US.

The school offers both associate and bachelor’s degree programs in veterinary technology. They also offer online and distance learning vet tech programs, with the condition that the students complete their clinical requirements at veterinary clinics near them.

2. University of New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire is a public land-grant research university in Durham, New Hampshire. The school offers two programs—an associate degree in vet tech and a bachelor’s in biomedical science with a Veterinary Sciences option.

Both programs have full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association. The bachelor’s program also prepares you to further your education into medical school to become a veterinarian.

3. SUNY College of Technology, Alfred

This school is a part of the State University of New York (SUNY) College system, making it one of the best vet tech schools in the US.

The school offers an associate’s degree in vet tech, with the program having full accreditation from the AVMA. The school, located in Alfred, prepares you with the theoretical and practical knowledge to pass the VTNE and eventually become a vet tech.

4. Foothill College

Foothill College offers two veterinary programs—a veterinary assistant program and an associate degree program for vet techs. While the first doesn’t have any professional recognition, the second has full accreditation from the AVMA.

Foothill is one of the best schools for vet techs in the US. In fact, Foothill is the only school in the San Francisco Bay Area that has vet tech accreditation from the AVMA.

This school is located in Los Altos Hills, Silicon Valley, California, which is home to the world’s most popular tech brands.

5. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University (NSU) of Louisiana is a public university in Natchitoches. NSU of Louisiana has full accreditation from the AVMA to offer an associate degree in vet tech. The school is dedicated to preparing students to become registered veterinary technicians (RVT) after graduation.

However, the school has biology as a core prerequisite to gain admission into its vet tech program.

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What are the best online schools for vet tech in the US?

These schools offer online programs to help busy people acquire the necessary skills in veterinary technology:

1. Penn Foster, Scottsdale, Arizona

Penn Foster is a private college in Scottsdale, Arizona that offers an online associate’s degree in vet tech. The school has a partnership with leading veterinary hospitals in the US to provide clinical experience to its online students.

The vet tech online program at Penn Foster has full accreditation from the AVMA.

2. San Juan College, Farmington, New Mexico

San Juan College is one of the best online schools for vet tech in the US. The school is a community college located in Farmington, New Mexico. They offer one of the ten online vet tech programs with full accreditation from the AVMA.

San Juan College offers three vet tech programs—the associate degree program, the veterinary assistance certificate program, and the veterinary practice management program. While the first prepares you to work as a vet tech in a hospital, the second prepares you to work as a vet assistant, and the last one prepares you for a management role in a vet hospital.

3. Jefferson State Community College, Birmingham, Alabama

This state community college has several campuses in Alabama. Its Birmingham campus offers one of the best online vet tech programs in the US. The school has one of the best online vet tech programs in the United States.

Jefferson State Community College ensures you work for or volunteer to work for a veterinarian while taking its online program. This is to enable you to acquire the necessary clinical skills to become a licensed veterinary technician upon completion of the program. The school has a 100% graduate employment rate for its graduates who passed their board exams. The vet tech program at Jefferson State Community College has full accreditation from the AVMA.

4. St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg College is a public college in Pinellas County, Florida. It’s one of the best online vet tech schools in the US. The schools offer two vet tech programs—the on-campus bachelor’s degree program and the associate degree program in veterinary technology.

The associate’s degree (the only one available for online learning) has full accreditation from the AVMA. St. Petersburg College, however, has strict requirements for the online program. You must complete at least 18 out of the 22 credits of general education courses and must be working at least 20 hours a week in a veterinary hospital or for a veterinarian.  

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What GPA do I need to be a vet tech?

The minimum GPA requirement for Vet Tech is 2.0. However, this depends majorly on the school you’re applying to, as most schools with a high application rate have higher GPA requirements.

How many years do I need to study to be a vet tech?

To become a veterinary technician, you need to acquire a 2- year associate’s degree in veterinary technology. 

However, to become a veterinary technologist, you need to acquire a bachelor’s degree in the same program, which takes nothing less than four years to complete.  

What subjects do I need to study for vet tech?

These high school subjects would provide a good background for your career journey as a Vet Tech:

  • Algebra
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics

As someone who will be dealing with people (pet owners), classes in communication and psychology would prove to be very helpful.

What are the key skills I need to succeed as a vet tech?

Apart from the clinical skills you’d acquire from Vet Tech schools, having these important skills will not just make your work easier but also increase your relevance in the workplace and, of course, increase your salary:

  • Empathy for both the pets and the pet owners
  • Teaching skills (you’d need to teach pet owners how to take proper care of their pets)
  • Good customer service skills
  • Good communication skills are very important
  • Ability to pay attention to details
  • Organization skills as you’d be the one documenting some important information in the lab
  • Good technical knowledge as you’d be making use of certain tech tools.

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Are there vet tech specializations?

Yes, there are key areas you might want to specialize in while studying Veterinary Technology. Here are some of them:

  • Clinical Pathology
  • Anesthesia
  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Practice
  • Internal Medicine
  • Equine Nursing
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Animal Behavior
  • Dentistry

What is the difference between veterinary technologists and technicians?

While their roles are the same, there’s a difference between veterinary technologists and technicians. The veterinary technologists have deeper and more detailed educational training than the technicians.

Veterinary technologists have bachelor’s degrees in veterinary technology, while veterinary technicians are associate degree holders in the same discipline.

What jobs can I do with a vet tech degree?

With a degree in Vet Tech, you can work as a:

  • Surgical Technician
  • Pathology Assistant
  • Anesthesia Technician
  • X-ray technician
  • Imaging Specialist
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Behavior Technician
  • Veterinary Technology Teacher

What is the highest salary a vet tech can earn?

According to Indeed, veterinary surgical technicians are the highest earning vet techs, with an average annual salary of $73,058.

What is the average salary for a vet tech in the US?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a vet tech in the US is $38,250.

Those within the 10th and 25th percentile earn a mean annual salary of $28,370-$29,810. However, those in the 75th and 90th percentile range earn a mean annual salary of $45,750-$48,100.

How do I become a vet tech?

Here are the steps you need to take to become a veterinary technologist or technician:

1. Acquire a degree in veterinary technology

After high school, you need to acquire either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Technology. However, you have to ensure your school has full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or Committee on Veterinary Technician Education (CVTE).

The associate’s degree takes two years to complete, while the bachelor’s requires four years of extensive training.  

2. Pass a credentialing exam

To practice as a Vet Tech in the United States, you have to pass a credentialing examination. This exam gets you either certified, licensed, or registered to practice as a vet tech in the US.

3. Apply to work as a Vet Tech

Once you have the credentials to practice as a vet tech, you can start applying for jobs at the relevant institutions.

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How can I work with animals without being a vet tech?

If you love working with animals but do not have the zeal or patience to go to college, here are career opportunities for you to work with them:

1. Groomer

As a groomer, your role is to help care for the animals by bathing, feeding, and even trimming them up. You can make as much as $35,000 per year doing this.

2. Kennel Attendant, Pet Sitter, and Dog Walker

Kennel attendants, pet sitters, and dog walkers take care of pets in their owners’ absence. As a kennel attendant, or pet sitter, you’ll provide temporary care for pets while the owners are away. While dog walking would require you to go to the homes of the dog owners, take their dogs out for a walk, and return them after the process. You can make as much as $35,000 annually in this job.

3. Lab Animal Caretaker

You can make a living from taking care of lab animals. In this job, you’ll work alongside animal scientists, biologists, or veterinarians to feed and groom animals kept in the labs. You can make as much as $37,000 annually in this job.

4. Pet Trainer

As a pet trainer, your duty is to train pets for different tasks like protection, riding, humility, etc. You also have to train them to understand and obey instructions from their owners. You can make as much as $58,000 in this job every year.

5. Pet Breeder

You can breed animals based on their genes and characteristics and make as much as $76,000 per year doing it.

You can go into dog breeding, cat breeding or even breeding of exotic pets.

Best paying states for vet techs are?

Here are the states that pay the highest mean average salaries to Vet Techs in the US:

StateMean Annual Salary for Vet Techs
District of Columbia$68,110
Washington$47,550
New York$45,560
California$45,140
Connecticut$44,380

Conclusion

Just like every other health-related discipline, veterinary technology can be really challenging. Dealing with all the classroom work coupled with the clinical classes, you’d feel like giving up at some point. But what’s the truth about this career line? 

Its rewards surpass the initial challenges you might face. Have this at the back of your mind when applying to any of the best vet tech schools outlined in this article. 

Now that you’ve got all the information you need about becoming a vet tech, I hope you’ll stop at nothing to make that beautiful dream of yours a success.

Frequently Asked Questions about Vet Tech

Can I Own a Clinic as a Vet Tech?

Yes, you can own a clinic as a vet tech. However, you need to hire a licensed veterinarian to be in charge of the management of the clinic.

What is the Difference between a Vet Tech and a Vet Assistant?

A veterinary technician has either an associate or a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology, while a veterinary assistant has no degree in the program.

What is the Difference Between a Vet Tech and a Veterinarian?

A vet tech has either an associate or a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology, while a veterinarian is a medical doctor who specializes in animal care.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Vet Assistant?

There’s no formal education required to become a veterinary assistant. However, you can take a one-year certification training program to prove to employers you can take care of their pets.  

What State Pays the Most for Vet Tech in the US?

The District of Columbia, with an average annual salary of $68,110, is the highest paying state for veterinary technicians in the US.

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