Best Online Vet Tech Programs: 5 Schools Are Accredited & Affordable

If you’ve been wanting to make a career move and devote your professional life to animals, then you have definitely considered becoming a veterinary technician. However, not every state has a brick-and-mortar school and you might not have the schedule to attend a regular school.

If one of these is the case, then there’s still hope! You can still chase your dreams thanks to online colleges for veterinary technicians. Below are a list of schools that provide valuable programs and resources on how to become a vet tech online.

Online Vet Tech Programs (Accredited)

A laptop would work best as it has all the tech you need to attend your courses online.

Penn Foster

Penn Foster prides itself on its flexible schedule and its affordable pricing for their vet tech program. You’ll pay just $79 per credit with no application fee and after two years, you’ll get your Associate’s degree. Because no medical education is complete without hands-on experience, Penn Foster has partnered with two of the country’s top veterinary chains, Banfield and VCA Animal Hospitals, to provide students with a top-notch externship experience. The program’s staff is littered with a variety of professionals, too, which is why they are considered one of the best online vet tech programs. Your class time will be well spent here.

You’ll be educated by veterinary practitioners, committee members of veterinary technology education associations, and even authors of published works. The program is completely accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). This accreditation gives you the opportunity to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).

Distance Education Veterinary Technology Program (DEVTP)

Internships are a great way to get experience while enrolled in a program.

The DEVTP has been fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) since 2001. It’s only one of a handful of AVMA accredited vet tech programs, so you’ll be guaranteed an education that’s thorough, balanced, trusted, and financially sound.

Getting a certification from an accredited program will help tremendously in increasing your annual salary.

Your instructors will be highly educated, versed in their ethical obligations, and have years of practical experience in a variety of medical settings. The main part of the program focuses on the key aspects of veterinary medicine.

You’ll take your online courses focused on pharmacology, surgical techniques and assistance, radiology/ultrasound, laboratory procedures, and nursing skills. Your courses are based online and you’ll learn from intense multimedia courses. Each course will combine textbooks, Internet assignments, videos, and in-clinic practicums for hand-on education.

The scheduling is completely flexible so you, as a busy adult with a job and a family, can complete your education while still maintaining your current live. Your teachers are always just a phone call or email away to answer questions or offer guidance. At the end of the course, you’ll graduate with an Associate’s degree and be eligible to take the VTNE for certification.

San Juan College’s Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program

San Juan College’s veterinary technician program became accredited by the AVMA in 2006. The school realized the need for quality distance education and expanded their on-site program to help students who could only accommodate an online education schedule. To get your vet tech degree online, your courses are divided into four levels, each of which lasts 12 weeks.

The classes start in in January, May, and August and you can start during any of these months. As your schedule allows, you should be able to finish up to four courses a semester. The program says you can expect to spend four to six hours per week for each course studying, finishing assignments, completing exams, and finish clinical assignments.

Of course, the clinical aspects are just as important as the book learning, so the program has rigorous hands-on requirements. Each student is required to attend an approved small animal hospital before you can register for tiers two, three, and four. When you’re in tier four, you’re also required to finish certain clinical tasks on livestock.

Online Vet Tech Schools

Students doing their lab work training at a local school.

Purdue University

Considered as one of the best online vet tech schools, Purdue’s Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program (VTDLP) sets students up with a distance education plan to complete an Associate’s degree while still working full time jobs. The program is still rigorous, and because of this, the program recommends their distance education students be employed by a veterinarian to get the most benefit from the program.

Because there isn’t any physical class time, it’s important that you be completely self-motivated and have enough discipline to complete your coursework without lot of guidance from your teachers. Time management is also critical, as the program estimates most students spend between four to six hours per week on each credit hour they’re taking.

The curriculum has a total of 35 courses and 17 clinical mentorships. The curriculum is modeled after Purdue’s on campus program, while practical skills are performed under the direction of a local veterinarian during the mentorships. The prerequisite courses can be taken online through Purdue or you can take them through a local college if they offer them. The practical skills required for each course need to be documented by video to be submitted to course practitioners for proof you can perform these essential tasks.

Jefferson State

Focused Pug using its laptop to get some homework done!

Jefferson State’s online program is another distance education plan that requires you to work for a veterinarian during your education, except this plan requires 20 hours a week. While this seems like a lot, this school knows how important it is to mix class learning with hands-on practice, especially as the coursework progresses and becomes more advanced.

If your local clinics don’t offer particular skills or access to large/exotic animals, you might be required to travel to Birmingham to attend various clinics that Jefferson State offers for distance students.

You’ll be required to work on a wide variety of animals, so you’ll have to establish relationships with a number of local clinics. Something that you should do regardless of which online veterinary technician schools you choose to enroll in.

Food animals, laboratory animals, birds, reptiles, and even zoo animals will be required in your clinical rotations. Your courses will be varied and filled with information. Learn about emergency procedures in your Vet Tech Emergency and First Aid course.

Clinical Procedures and Pathology will teach you about laboratory procedures in:

  • Hematology
  • Urology
  • Cytology

Additionally you will learn how to run and evaluate bloodwork and diagnose skin anomalies in dogs and other conditions. Anesthesia and Diagnostic Images will educate you on the different types of anesthesia, how to administer and monitor anesthesia, the basics of radiology, and how to successfully take radiographs. These advanced courses will require the completion of set tasks during your weekly clinic work.

Online Veterinary Technician Colleges

Many colleges partner with local shelters and animal hospitals to provide hands on training to students.

Colby Community College

Online vet tech colleges and their courses are quite rigorous and require you to be dedicated and motivated to complete your work without attending an actual class. On top of your online courses, where you’ll get your assignments and take your exams, you’ll also be spending a lot of time in veterinary clinics completing your practical assignments. When it comes time to complete the large animal and laboratory animal practicum portion, you can visit the campus for a weekend-long course to complete those requirements.

You’ll be required to have the following 4 items at home:

  1. a decent computer or laptop
  2. a webcam with a microphone (most come standard)
  3. a headset or speakers
  4. a reliable high-speed internet access

The camera is needed to prove to course staff that you can reliably complete the tasks required of them to graduate. Most laptops do have camera’s builtin but if your does not, you can buy an inexpensive one online.

St. Petersburg College

A healthy dog is a happy dog 🙂

The college’s online AAS program will prepare you for a veterinary technician career in a variety of fields. Whether you want to work in a large animal practice, with exotics, or in medical sales, this degree program will set you up for success in both your work and in taking the VTNE.

Just be aware that before you can begin the vet tech certification online, you have to finish at least 18 hours of the required 22 hours of prerequisites. These include composition, speech, math, and natural sciences. You can take these at any accredited college, on the actual St. Petersburg campus, or through their online campus.

Admission isn’t as easy as just applying and getting in. St. Petersburg maintains a strict admissions policy and once you’ve sent in your application package, you have to complete a full 40 hours of observation at one of your local veterinary clinics. Once you’re admitted, you’re expected to maintain good relationships with your local clinics and fulfill 20 hours of work or observation in a clinic for each semester you’re enrolled. These hours will help you learn and become proficient in over 200 skills and tasks, including learning the use of typical veterinary technology and be a star assistant to the veterinarian.

Cedar Valley College

Cedar Valley College’s AVMA accredited vet tech program is 10 years of work resulting from the collaboration of Cedar Valley and the American Animal Hospital Association. The school places great emphasis on both thorough classroom learning and hands-on experience with your local veterinary clinic. This ensures students cannot test out of their online vet tech classes or get class credit for on-the-job experience. Each practicum level is carefully coordinated with each class to build on previous skills. You’re required to work at least 10 hours a week in a vet clinic to participate in the second, third, and fourth levels of classes.

Note: If you’re depending on financial aid to pay for your course, keep in mind that financial aid isn’t accepted for levels one to three, but it is available for the level four classes.

In a digital age, everything we do is gradually going the way of the Internet. From pizza delivery to wine straight to your door, it’s no surprise that even education is becoming more digital.

Want to know hands on what its like being a vet tech student? Watch this short video:

Online colleges for veterinary technicians is a viable way to ensure you’re still getting a quality and thorough education. When your passion is helping owners take care of their pets and taking the pain away from sick dogs, cat, and other animals, you’ll want the best education possible, but if distance and time aren’t on your side, getting your vet tech degree online can easily make all of your dreams come true.

With with the right guidance, motivation, good time management, and plenty of gumption, you’ll sail through your courses and come out on the other end with a shiny new veterinary technician license and the skills to take care of a wide variety of animals.