The field of veterinary technology is rapidly growing. From small, one doctor practices to state of the art specialty centers, there’s a job out for every medical palate out there. With such technical progress in the field, it’s important for prospective technicians to get a thorough education.
Such growth has necessitated the hiring of employees who not only hold strong technical skills but also a solid foundation in things like immunology, hematology, and client interaction, all part of a vet tech’s job description.
States with Top Veterinary Technician Schools
If you’re looking at truly excelling and to get into the world of veterinary medicine with the best chance of a high salary, you’ll want to attend a school that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
This program offers you the chance to get a bachelor’s degree in Animal Health Science. Not only will this afford you a thorough medical education, you’ll also be given the opportunity for a completely hands-on experience. Most schools only offer a certificate or two year associate’s degree, so this is a great first step for those who plan on going to veterinary school. The school is a 1,500 acre campus with a host of small animals and livestock for plenty of animal interaction. The program also presents the opportunity for off-campus internships for a well-rounded education.
This is an intense program that sets you up for successful completion of the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and the California state board exam. Your introduction to anatomy and physiology will help you complete additional anatomy classes that gradually get more in depth as the course progresses. You’ll learn about the care and medical treatments of small animals, laboratory animals, and livestock, all part of what a vet tech does. The school has a small family of animals including cats, dogs, sheep, and horses for students to work with and care for.
Northern Virginia Community College
The school offers a full-time campus program and a part-time online program to suit the needs of busy adult students. The two year program culminates in an Associate of Applied Science and complete preparation for the VTNE after graduation. Classes consist of surgical techniques, laboratory procedures, anesthesia, and client interaction. Scattered throughout the education process is clinical experience so you start your career having been in the thick of the veterinary world.
Blue Ridge’s program is fairly competitive. On average, only 40 students are accepted into the program every term to guarantee close attention from the teachers. The AAS program only takes 21 months, meaning classes are fast paced and packed with information. The campus facilities at this veterinary technician school are quite extensive, too. There are two laboratories, a surgical suite, a treatment area, and a large animal teaching facility. The small animal teaching facility is complete with dog kennels, a cat room, a rodent room, and an isolation room. The large animal facilities have six stalls and a large multipurpose work area. So you can enter the workforce with technological knowledge, there’s also state of the art digital x-ray machines, high tech dental equipment, and lab equipment.
University of Maine at Augusta-Bangor Campus
Students who graduate with their Associate of Applied Science are required to complete two externships during their final semester with the option to complete one at a laboratory. More veterinary technicians are opting to work in the cutting edge world of laboratory sciences, so with the college’s emphasis on laboratory techniques, graduates have the opportunity to choose a career in the lab. The school offers further education with a B.S. degree in Applied Science if you have aspirations of a subsequent graduate degree.
Brown Mackie College-Fort Wayne
By graduation, Brown Mackie will have prepared you for a career in a veterinary clinic with an AAS degree. The program is tailored for busy lifestyles with a “one course a month” schedule. Not only does this minimize how long you’re in college, it also maximizes your learning experience because you’re only focusing on one class at a time. This helps you stay focused and avoid any burn out with such a rigorous academic choice.
The Vet Tech Institute at the International Business College–Fort Wayne
The college’s on-site facilities are quite extensive! You’re guaranteed enough hands-on experience that you’ll go into your career feeling confident. Animals reside on campus for easy access during important teaching lessons. An x-ray room is available for those intense radiology lessons, while a surgical suite hosts real surgeries for advanced students. Because animal care is just as important as surgery or administering medications, all students are responsible for taking turns caring for the school’s animals. Cleaning, feeding, and exercise are all left up to the student population, giving you plenty of opportunities to interact with your most important teachers.
Fully accredited by the AVMA, you’ll have the option for a two year AAS or a four year BS. Even though most students go on to a career in a traditional veterinary clinic setting, you’ll be prepared for a range of medical settings. Whether you want to work at a humane society, in biomedical research, or even in medical supply sales, your degree will leave you well rounded and perfectly prepared to take the VTNE. You’ll attend classes on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, but there is a distance option for part-time students.
Watch this training video on animal safety:
Yakima Valley Community College
The campus facilities are home to a variety of animals, including horses, so students can work with animals in conjunction with specific classes. While practical skills with animals are important, a good veterinary technician is experienced in every aspect of a veterinary hospital, including reception work.
The program ensures you’ll have knowledge in:
- medical record keeping
- computer technology
- and inventory control
Many students leave a veterinary technician program feeling ill-equipped to handle the less technical side of practice, so the program has gone great lengths to ensure their students leave ready to take on every part of their job.
Alfred State’s agricultural program is quite extensive and reaches into their veterinary technology program. As a vet tech student, you’ll work closely with agriculture students to get a grasp of the entire agricultural industry. This can be very handy if you want to work in large animal medicine or biomedical research; veterinary medicine extends far beyond just the medical care and treatment of animals. Technicians with sound knowledge of husbandry (like nutrition) can be a valuable asset to large animal veterinarians. You’ll also take classes to get you ready for things like small animal dentistry, physical therapy, and exotic animal medicine.
State University of New York-Canton
The university’s veterinary science program has been accredited by the AVMA since 1978, which is quite a feat for a veterinary program. With their long standing experience, the program has created the perfect mix of classroom time, small laboratory groups, and an extensive preceptorship after the required course completion.
The school offers 3 degree options:
- an AAS
- a BS in veterinary technology
- and a veterinary services management bachelor of technology program.
What makes this program unique is while students are eligible for the VTNE, they’re also eligible to sit for the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science after six months of laboratory employment.
Since 1993, the college’s program has surpassed the national average of passing the VTNE with a 98.8% passing rate. The national average is only 84.7%! This rigorous program, perhaps one of the best in the state, sets students up for high work standards because they’ve been given high educational standards. Upon graduation, you’ll have an AAS degree.
Central Oregon Community College
This two year AAS program encompasses every aspect of being a veterinary technician and what they do. You’ll learn surgery and anesthesia techniques, nursing skills, extensive pharmacology, and radiology. You’ll also be given plenty of anatomy and physiology lessons and an in-depth class on office management and procedures. After the completion of the required classes, you’ll go on to complete 10 credits (300 hours) of clinical preceptorships at local veterinary clinics.
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City
This program works in conjunction with the University’s agricultural program. With the state’s diverse agricultural market, the program has integrated reproductive medicine into their coursework so students can be useful to large scale farmers and ranchers. For students who want to work with completely exotic animals, there is also a course on wildlife and zoo medicine.
Cities with Top Vet Tech Schools
A City by City Guide of AVMA Accredited Vet Tech Schools
It’s important to note that this program requires a clean background check because of the sheer amount of time you’ll be spending in local veterinary clinics. Major course subjects are accompanied by a laboratory class, like radiology, pathology, and anatomy and physiology. The faculty are all experienced veterinarians and registered technicians so students will get advice and tips that can only be given by people who have been in the trenches of the veterinary field, including assistants and hospital managers.
The Vet Tech Institute of Houston
This fast paced program offers the opportunity to complete it in only 18 months. Students will have constant access to the school’s menagerie of animals including rodents and reptiles. Laboratory machines, x-rays, and anesthesia machines are available during class and are standard to what’s found in real vet clinics. While there aren’t any large animals on the premises, a local farm works closely with the school to provide access to horses, pigs, and cattle.
New York City
La Guardia Community College offers the only accredited veterinary technician program in New York City. Students who graduate from the program have the opportunity to intern at various major metropolitan animal hospitals or even area zoos.
Ridgewater’s program has a 95 percent placement rate, partly due to the fact that the student to teacher ratio is only 8:1 in the important laboratory classes. Unique to the college is their simulated veterinary office, complete with a reception desk, exam rooms, a pharmacy, and lab rooms. Other facilities include a dog kennel, cat rooms, exotic animals, and even a dog park for recuperating dogs that just went through a painful operation. The fully equipped lab houses 16 microscopes, various centrifuges, and blood analyzers. The surgical suite is comprised of a surgical laser, a dental lab, and a heated surgical table.
Colorado Academy of Veterinary Technology
The school is the only Colorado Springs program that offers an AAS in veterinary technology. The staff is littered with highly credentialed veterinarians and technicians that come from a variety of backgrounds, including research labs, university hospitals, and surgical specialty centers. With such a highly profiled staff, students are given a rigorous academic schedule that sets them up to succeed at their internships and pass the VTNE after they graduate.
The world of veterinary medicine is ever expanding. Because more families are viewing their animals as family members, there’s a growing need for compassionate, cutting edge medical teams to care for patients in routine, critical, and specialty medicine.
Now that you know what it takes to become a vet technician, and you still want to be a part of one of the most caring fields while still having a progressive career, attending the best vet tech schools this might be the best path for you.