The USA’s Best Vet Tech Programs and Schools

What Does a Vet Tech Do?

If you love animals or own one, you must have encountered the term vet tech. If you wonder what they do or how you can become one, you are in the right place. First, what do tech vets do? 

Tech vets are also known as veterinary technicians, and their main task is to help licensed veterinarians with a wide range of functions. Their tasks relating to animal care are similar to what nurses are to humans. 

A vet tech usually helps the veterinarians in the diagnosis and treatment of sick and healthy animals. Read through this guide to discover more about the vet tech programs. 

Vet tech and veterinarian examining a dog - I Love Veterinary

What are the Goals of Vet Tech Programs?

First, how long are vet tech programs? Many vet tech programs typically lead to a two-year associate degree. The learners taking these programs usually complete courses on line and get practical clinical experience at the veterinary practices, zoos, research facilities, human societies, and wildlife facilities.

Each program varies from the other in terms of specifics. However, most vet tech programs integrate introductory coursework with computer, mathematics, business, and communications courses. 

For instance, when you join a program, you might be asked to complete college mathematics and information literacy before taking on advanced vet tech courses.

Students must complete a minimum of one externship to get practical proficiency in the course of their vet tech programs. The vet tech programs usually have apprenticeships that require students to undertake at least 200 hours of supervised clinical experience.

While submitting your application for vet tech programs online, ensure you submit your high school diploma or GED certificate. Some vet tech programs might require that you go through prerequisite courses in Biology and Medical Terminology.

General Certificate of Secondary Education, what you need for vet tech programs - I Love Veterinary

Once learners complete their online vet tech programs, they should:

  • Exhibit written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrate computer literacy.
  • Have knowledge of Pharmacology and nursing.
  • Show anesthesia techniques.

Once you graduate as a vet tech, you meet the minimum requirements to work as a vet tech. If the state requires you to have a license, you can secure professional licensure after finishing the program.

The Benefits of Pursuing this Career

The vet tech field is a fast-growing field, and you would get many benefits for pursuing a career in this field of study. Apart from the satisfaction that comes with working closely with animals and saving their lives, here are the other benefits:

  • There is a high job growth rate in this field. Studies have revealed that jobs for vet techs will grow by about 16% between 2019 and 2029. This is a superior rate to the national average growth rate for other fields.
  • You will learn valuable skills. Vet techs usually learn various subjects, including anesthesia, surgical nursing, biology, and radiography. They also learn other professional skills like mathematics, information technology, and communication.
  • You will have flexible working hours. Animal emergencies could occur at any time, meaning you will work odd hours as a vet tech. Therefore, you pick hours that fit around your personal schedules.
  • You get the chance to work with animals. If you love animals, you will enjoy a career as a vet tech. You will work with snakes, fish, cats, and dogs in your practice, among other exotic and household pets.
  • It is a rewarding career. As a tech vet, you will be checking up on animals and ensuring they stay healthy. It will be gratifying to save the lives of animals.
Smiling vet tech holding ferret in her hands - I Love Veterinary

How Do You Become a Veterinary Technician?

If you aspire to become a vet tech, it will help if you earned a Veterinary Technician Associate Degree first. This would make you more marketable to employers. Moreover, some states require veterinary technicians to finish a minimum level of education.

Industry experts revealed that students in high school who aspire to be vet techs should take Biology courses. This will help them meet prerequisite courses for associate programs.

Vet techs must get a license or certification in most states. 

Most states usually demand that prospective vet techs take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The American Association of Veterinary State Boards administers the VTNE. The eligibility criteria for the VTNE vary by state.

Even though the eligibility criteria for certification or licensing vary by state, most require students to have done at least 250 hours of supervised clinical practice. If you are taking an accredited vet tech program, you must complete these hours to graduate. This requirement ensures that graduates can get their certification or licenses immediately.

Once students finish the certified vet tech programs, they will take home an average of 35,320 USD annually. If you desire to increase your earnings, you can continue your education and become a veterinarian.

 Veterinary Technician National Exam written on paper with pen - I Love Veteirnary

Obtaining Accreditation for a Vet Tech Program

When searching for the best online vet tech programs, you should pay attention to accreditation. Accreditation confirms that the program and school you are joining offer top-quality services. Talk to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for organizations that offer accreditation.

Colleges, community colleges, and universities usually have regional or national accreditation. Both accreditations show academic quality, but schools accredited regionally are traditionally the best. 

Therefore, you should consider schools accredited regionally. Many employers and schools might not accept a degree from a nationally accredited school. If you are in Florida, look for vet tech programs in Florida.

Once you have ensured that the school has regional accreditation, you should also check programmatic accreditation. Look for online vet tech programs accredited by organizations like the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). AVMA vet tech programs typically meet set industry standards hence boosting your chances of getting a good job after graduating.

The Primary Courses of a Vet Tech Program

When you pursue a vet tech program, the curriculum usually begins with required foundational courses and then slowly moves to more advanced topics. The foundational courses include subjects like English, Mathematics, and other critical skills you will need as a vet tech. 

This is standard practice for students studying vet tech programs in PA or any other state.

Mathematics exam on paper with pen, how to prepare for vet tech programs - I Love Veterinary

As for the advanced courses, you will learn topics like nursing and biology to build on the foundational courses. 

Learners will get all the skills required to become certified. In some programs, learners can select specialized courses that might focus on a particular animal or technique. Most vet tech degree programs usually cover the topics you need to be licensed. 

Tech vet programs have different course-specific requirements and subjects covered. However, most vet tech degrees require the following courses:

  • Small Animal Husbandry and Restraint – This course is offered early in the program and teaches learners the basics of housing and caring for small animals. It also teaches learners how to handle animals safely and how to treat animals like cats and dogs.
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology – This course is sometimes divided into several courses. It covers the functions inside animal bodies. Learners will also learn animal metabolism and the roles of different organs and tissues in different animal species. They will also learn more advanced courses later.
  • College Mathematics – This course ensures that learners have the necessary mathematical skills needed in daily vet tech duties. The course covers several mathematical topics.
  • Radiography for Veterinary Technicians – Learners study radiation, X-rays, and ultrasounds to help diagnose internal issues. Then they go for externships to apply what they have learned.
  • Surgical Nursing for Veterinary Technicians – It is not mandatory, but some vet techs assist veterinarians with animal surgeries. In this course, students learn basic surgery.
Vet tech with dog on x-ray generator - I Love Veterinary

The Top-Rated Vet Tech Programs in the USA

If you want to find the best online vet tech programs, you must study at the top-rated vet tech schools. As mentioned earlier, these schools should be accredited for students to ensure they will get quality training.

These are the top five top-rated accredited vet tech schools:

5. Purdue University

Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

Program: AAS Degree in Veterinary Technician and BS Degree in Veterinary Technology

Tuition: 9,992 USD

Course available Online: Available

Financial Aid: Available

Purdue University is regarded as one of the top vet tech schools in the USA. It gives students two different paths they can follow to become vet techs. You can choose to take the course at the West Lafayette, Indiana campus and get a four-year degree. Alternatively, you can join the online class for a two-year associate degree program.

Each program has full accreditation and prepares the trainees to be proficient and confident vet techs. Previous students have performed exceptionally well, with the majority scoring between 90% and 95% in the certification exam.     

Biomedical Engineering Building of Purdue University - I Love Veterinary
Biomedical Engineering Building of Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana. Photo taken by Thisischris.

4. University of Nebraska

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Program: AAS Degree in Veterinary Technician and BS Degree in Veterinary Technology

Tuition: 9,242 USD

Course available online: No

Financial Aid: Available

At the University of Nebraska, prospective vet tech students can follow different pathways to achieve their dreams. They have the option of pursuing an Associate Degree to be eligible to take the certification exam. The other alternative is to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program. 

Each program either leans towards veterinary business or science. The programs have similar core courses, but graduates take up different positions in the vet practice. The university also offers students unique opportunities to study animal production and conduct research on animal products.

3. Vet Tech Institute of Houston

Location: Houston, Texas

Program: AAS in Veterinary Science

Tuition: 13, 740 USD

Courses available online: No

Financial Aid: Available

The Vet Tech Institute of Houston offers its students four locations from where they can attend their studies. Students take part in innovative learning in the process of earning their vet tech certification. 

The program takes 18 months and exposes the students to laboratories, animal-friendly classrooms, surgical suites, on-site kernels, and radiography rooms.

This gives them the chance to have practical training. After the coursework, the student must go for an externship off-site to enhance their networking skills.

2. Michigan State University

Location: East Lansing, Michigan

Program: Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Nursing

Tuition: 14, 460 USD per semester

Courses available online: No

Financial Aid: Available

In the last three years, Michigan State University’s nursing program has had a 99% VTNE pass rate. It is regarded as the topmost Veterinary Science University in the nation. Their students get practical academic experience.

The courses you will study in this program include nutrition, anatomy, animal diseases, physiology, among others. Students receive full certification and get a Bachelor’s of Science when they complete the program.

Michigan State University campus, East Lansing, Michigan, USA - I Love Veterinary
Michigan State University campus, East Lansing, Michigan, USA. Author: Infrogmation of New Orleans, source: Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans

1. Pima Medical Institute of Tucson Arizona

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Program: Associate of Applied Science Degree

Tuition: 22,000 USD for the program

Courses available online: Some are available online while others on campus

Financial Aid: Available  

The Pima Medical Institute of Tucson, Arizona, is based out of Arizona but has several campuses across the country. Students come here to attain the required certification. 

The program courses include exotic medicine, surgical nursing, animal science, diagnostic imaging, and large animal nursing. The program lasts for 18 months.

Summary

If you have read this guide in its entirety, you are well informed in matters vet techs. You know what they do and the objectives of vet tech programs in schools. You also understand the benefits you would get if you pursued a vet tech career.

As you continued to read, you also discovered how you could become a veterinary technician.

This guide also covered how you can obtain accreditation for a vet tech program. You also learned that regional accreditation is superior. 

So, if you are in Wisconsin, go for vet tech programs in Wisconsin. You have also discovered the vet tech program’s preparatory courses and the top-rated vet tech programs in the USA. You are now ready to pursue your dream career!